BWW Reviews: WICKED Flies Back into Durham
Wicked has clearly established itself as a runaway success, so I don't think what people need now is my personal "review" of the show. Ever since being nominated for the Tony Award for best musical, people have known that the show is good. But I do want to put in my two cents about seeing the touring company at the Durham Performing Arts Center.
At this point, Wicked is running like a well-oiled machine. The show is so seamless and smooth, no matter who the actors are, no matter what swings are on in which tracks, no matter if you're seeing a standby or an understudy, you can be guaranteed that you're going to see the same great show. That being said, you can rest assured that you will get your money's worth on your trip to DPAC. Simply put, Wicked delivers.
Wicked tells the "untold" story of Oz, before Dorothy ever graced the yellow-brick road. Based on the novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire, the story centers around Elphaba, who you may know as the Wicked Witch of the West. As the green girl and the perky blonde, Galinda, make their way through the trials and tribulations of school and life, battle injustice, and fight over boyfriends, a friendship emerges. Theatergoers will see that Oz is so much more than Munchkins and Ruby Slippers.
Elphaba is played by the dynamic Christine Dwyer. Dwyer is able to rise up to the demands of the role while adding her own personal touches. Elphaba's over-the-top pal Galinda is charmingly portrayed by Tiffany Haas. I was particularly pleased with Paul Kreppel as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. His personality and charisma were simply perfect.
For those who have seen the show before, I would strongly suggest a return visit. For one, I am of the firm belief that you can never see a great show too many times. For another, Wicked has several layers to unravel. Upon initial viewing, the show is a story about friendship. Certainly, friendship is at the core of the show. However, as I was watching the show for the third time, it really occurred to me how much the show has to say about politics. Not liberal or conservative, mind you, just the nature of politics, public personae, and the media. It's fascinating to see a show again and unearth new themes and see new bits and pieces.
For those of you who haven't seen this show yet, what are you waiting for? Consider this your invitation. Wicked has become a genuine part of contemporary popular culture. Also, please take your kids to see this. Not the little ones, the show is long. But your third-graders and up will LOVE this show. Wicked is a tried-and-true show to introduce your kids to the power of theater. Just ask the little girl who was sitting two rows ahead of me – she'll tell you all about the magical experience she had seeing an awesome show with her dad. That's a memory she'll have forever.
Wicked runs through May 27. For tickets and more information, visit www.dpacnc.com.