|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 the fourth time at Dallas Summer Musicals, and if ticket sales are any indication, this will not be its' last.
Kim Zimmer as Madame Morrible
The book is a parallel novel to L. Frank Baums’ Oz series of books and tells the “untold” story of the Witches of Oz.
With 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 “Thirty-Something”) Wicked, The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, is directed by two time Tony Award winner Joe Mantell (Love! Va-lour! Compassion!, The Vagina Monologues) and features musical staging by Tony Award winner Wayne Cilento (Aida, the Who’s Tommy).
Tom McGowan As The Wizard
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 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. Can anyone identify with that? Elphaba and Glinda are roommates at the Shiz School, the University in Oz. It is here we learn of the beginnings of their amazing though hidden friendship and the love they share for 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 though the production pays homage to the Oz we know at every opportunity. Wicked allows us to see the creation of the Wicked, encourages us to understand.
Wicked is the greatest Broadway show I have ever seen and returning to see it now, I was not expecting improvement, I was just hoping this production would be as good as its' last incarnation. Not only was it not diminished it has improved. With updated arrangements and a stellar cast, this production of Wicked does the impossible. They improve on perfection.
Glinda as played by Jenn Gambatese is engaging and fun, she is funny in a way I have not seen since Kristen Chenowith created the role and she has had plenty of practice. Dee has played Glinda in more performances than any other actress. Listening to her harmonize with Dee Roscioli's Elphaba was nothing short of Heavenly.
Roscioli brings a freshness, a humanness and a humor to Elphaba I had not experience before. She created an enthralling character that I completely fell in love with. Her voice was the best part of this show. When she sang Defying Gravity suspended in midair surrounded by blackness I was overcome with goosebumps.
Kim Zimmer who is best known for her 26 years as Reva Shane on the long running Soap The Guiding Light is great fun as the conniving Madame Morrible. This is an over the top character that needs an over the top actress. Zimmer not only brings this character to like in a way I have not seen before, she brings a depth to the character I have not seen before. Most impressive is her voice, Zimmer has quite a set of pipes.
Tom McGowan is recognizable the moment he enters the stage as the wizard. Best known as Kenny the Program Director on Frasier, this character actor has appeared on the small screen in everything from Everybody Loves Raymond to Desperate Housewives. His wizard reveals the insecurity of the character that leads him to some of the wicked acts he commits.
Wicked shines from start to finish. The sets on touring shows are often simple (Catch Me if You Can) sometimes even 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 roller-coaster, one that you will want to ride again as soon as its over. The box office records, the sold out shows in city after city-all well deserved. If you see only one Broadway show in your lifetime this is the show.
Get your tickets now, the entire run is nearly sold out, and it will sell out! Wicked plays the Music Hall @ Fair Park through May 5th with tickets $55--$180. Tickets available @ (214) 631-ARTS or dallassummermusicals.org and www.wickedthemusical.com.
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