Wicked, Based on the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire returns to Dallas this week for its’ third run in Five Years. The book a parallel novel to L. Frank Baums’ Oz series of books is the untold story of the Witches of Oz.
Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Academy Award winner for Pocahontas and The Prince of Egypt) and book by Winnie Holzman (“My So Called Life,” Once and Again” and “Thirtysomething”) Wicked, The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, is directed by two time Tony Award winner Joe Mantell (Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Vagina Monolouges) and features musical staging by Tony Award winner Wayne Cilento (Aida, the Who’s Tommy).
I found it a bit curious that the Dallas Summer Musicals would bring the same show back three times in five years, until I found out the two previous runs sold out every seat. Upon entering the packed theater the first thing I notice is the amazing diversity of the audience. A quick survey of the crowd uncovers queens and seniors and straights, oh my! I take this as a good sign.
The show begins in great dramatic fashion with Galinda (later Glinda, the Good) entering the set on a bubble spewing pendulum. Most of the show takes place inside a giant clock overlooking Oz. From the beginning Wicked forces us to examine the way we look at those who are different, and reminds us that things are not always what they seem.
Wicked begins by posing the question: Why are people wicked? Are they born that way or is it thrust upon them? Over the next nearly three hours it answers that question, at least in the case of Elphaba, (The Wicked Witch) while it forces you to consider the world we live in.
Wicked tells the back story of The Wicked Witch and Glinda the Good. The story begins at Elphaba’s birth. A shocking event, as she is born green. We come to learn this little girl, born different, cares what others think, though she pretends not to. Sound familiar? Elphaba and Glinda are roommates at the Shiz School, the University in Oz. It is here we learn they share an amazing friendship and they love the same man.
Her entire life Elphaba is surrounded by greedy, self absorbed people and she becomes a victim of their knowledge of the harsh reality that the best way to bring people together is to give them an enemy. Wicked wants us to know that not only was wickedness thrust upon the Wicked Witch of the West, but she really isn’t wicked at all. She actually is a much better person than Glinda.
Here you will find a very different Wicked Witch and Glinda the Good than you have grown up knowing in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz. Here you will find a depth in the characters that was lacking in the film. Like in the final minutes of the movie Precious, here we are allowed to see the creation of the monster. Here we are able to understand.
Glinda as played by Chandra Lee Schwartz is engaging and fun, her voice was perfection. Donna Vivino as Elphaba created an enthralling character that I completely fell in love with. Her voice was the best part of this show. Her singing Defying Gravity suspended in midair surrounded by blackness gave me chills. Jayne Houdyshell is great fun as the conniving Madame Morrible and Richard Kline (Larry from Three’s Company) plays a perfect Wizard. You can feel the Wizards insecurity.
Wicked shines from start to finish. The sets on touring shows are often painfully simple and often boring (Xanadu), but here the sets are the same as you would find them on the Great White Way. The costumes created by Tony Award winner Susan Hilferty are the best I have seen. It is amazing Edwardian fashion gone insane. The high standard set by the costumes in the masquerade scene in Phantom of the Opera is matched throughout!
Wicked is an amazing rollercoaster of a ride, one that you will want to ride again and again. The box office records, the sold out shows in city after city-all well deserved. If you have not seen this show, you must, or surrender your gay card.
Wicked plays the Music Hall @ Fair Park through June 27th. Tickets $35-$135. Tickets available @ (214) 631-ARTS or Tickemaster.com/wicked. More info at www.dallassummermusicals.org and www.wickedthemusical.com.
Show up at the Music Hall any show day at 5:30pm and enter a lottery for $25.00 Orchestra tickets for that evening’s performance. Drawing for lottery winners @ 6pm. More info on the lottery at www.dallassummermusicals.org.
Comment by Azhar on 2012-07-01 11:24:37
I love Reed! He is such a handsome model!! May I ask where his piutcre was taken at in front of the airplane mural? My son would go nuts to have his 3rd birthday photos there. Thank you!
Please login or register to add comments