I’m just going to tell you now that it is impossible for me to write an objective review of Wicked. When the show premiered in 2003, I was just starting high school and was quickly on my way to becoming a full-fledged drama geek. And as everyone knows, weird high school drama girls love Wicked. I read the book. I obsessed over the soundtrack. I saw it during the first national tour in Chicago and brought home both a I ❤ Oz t-shirt and the Grimmerie behind-the-scenes book. As an adult, I can look at it with critical eyes and recognize that it’s definitely on the lighter end of shows. For all the deep issues it raises (political activism! the silencing of the oppressed! when it’s appropriate to compromise your morals!), it only deals with any of them on a very surface level. But I’m always going to be a weird drama girl on the inside, and this story about being an outsider, finding your place in the world, and the power of female friendship is always going to be important to me. Plus, have you heard “Defying Gravity”? Damn!
So, as a long-time Wicked fan, I can happily tell you that this production does not disappoint. The glitz factor is definitely high with this show, but when I go to see a Broadway musical I want some glitz! The costumes in this production are absolutely stunning. It’s a shame that Halloween just happened, because I’m suddenly struck with the desire to get as wackily green as possible and go as a citizen of Oz. If you go to the show, keep an eye out for the lady in “One Short Day” wearing pointe shoes. I want to be her. The staging is also awesome. I love how present the Clockwork Dragon is, literally presiding over the stage, even though most of the details regarding it disappeared in the book-to-stage transfer. The gears and metal and intricate moving pieces make the whole production part of this clock, and it was fascinating to see how everything worked together.
Of course, Elphaba and G(a)linda are really the heart of the show, and the two leads both deliver hardcore. Alyssa Fox is a thoughtful, passionate Elphaba who really brings you along on the “wicked” witch’s emotional journey. Carrie St. Louis definitely comes close to stealing the show as Glinda. She really pushes Glinda to her full manic camp potential, part hyped up cheerleader and part over-excited yappy dog, and she was definitely the source of most of the laughs. I loved seeing how she grew and changed (though not too much) as she grows over the course of the show and finds more reasons to be serious.
Wicked remains a blockbuster for a reason, and this tour is an awesome opportunity to see it, whether it’s for the first time or you’re a long-time fan.