BWW Reviews: WICKED Consumes the Treasure Valley
I feel I need to premise this review by letting you know I had seen the last National Tour through Boise 2 years ago. Twice. I own the CD (2-disc) and I have watched the Tony performance by Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel (the original G[a]lind and Elphaba). I have also read the book by Gregory Maguire on which Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman based this story.
I must say, I am impressed. I do not know what came over me but this time through- I was practically in tears the whole time, starting at the overture. The seats were almost center on the floor and they were fantastic. I have sat around the Morrison Center and have not sat in a bad seat yet. Although, I have wanted/needed my opera glasses.
After my experience with the story, I thought I knew the characters G(a)linda and Elphaba, however Kara Lindsay (G[a]linda) and Laurel Harris (Elphaba) have shown me new characters. Their singing and acting styles have put two new characters on stage that haven't been seen before. I would have been happy to have these two introduce the characters to me, as it was, I enjoyed them showing me another side of each character.
The other main characters in this production also showed me new ways to see them. Fiyero the dashing captain who stole a heart or two was played by Jonathan Shew.The Wonderful Wizard of Oz portrayed by Gene Weygandt kept very much to a facsimile of a vaudevillian/carnie he is. Kathy Fitzgerald as Madam Morrible was as horrible as her name sounds. And poor Doctor Dillamond, John Hillner was a sympaaaaaaaathetic character.
In school you learn that plays usually rely on only a few things, with one being the main focus: spectacle, plot, language or character. Wicked has them all, in spades. The set is large, elaborate, and mechanized. It has a steampunk vibe due to the important Dragon Clock. The costumes are also steampunk inspired and blend between the set and the costumes of G[a]linda and Elphaba.
The spectacle that is WICKED: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE WITCHES OF OZ is a story that will challenge you to define what "wicked" really is and wondering: which witch is the wicked witch?
Photos curtesy of Joan Marcus