BWW Reviews: WICKED Returns to the Majestic
Broadway juggernaut Wicked has landed at San Antonio's Majestic Theatre.
WICKED is no stranger to San Antonio. This tour stop is perhaps the third visit in six years (I'm guesstimating), proving that south Texas loves its witches. The theatre at the March 13 evening performance was full of enthusiastic audience members - many of whom had seen the show previously, and likely an equal amount of newcomers. In the event that you are a newcomer, Wicked is "the untold story of the witches of Oz," aka what happened before The Wizard of Oz.
San Antonio is hosting the Munchkinland Company (WICKED has two touring companies), led by Jennifer DiNoia as the green-skinned, misunderstood witch Elphaba and Hayley Podschun as the maybe not-so-good (or is she?) Glinda.
Full disclosure: I have seen Wicked approximately twenty times. Yes, I am a fan. Wicked was my gateway show to developing the love of theatre I now have. Of those twenty-something times, I have seen probably fifteen different Elphabas and ten different Glindas. As all Wicked-lovers do, I have a mental ranking of my personal favorite actresses I have witnessed in the roles. While I will not disclose said rankings, I will disclose this:
Jennifer DiNoia as Elphaba is one of the most talented vocalists I have had the pleasure of watching (hearing) in the role. She takes several personal melodic liberties with songs I know by heart, and while initially startling to hear that note go up instead of down, she does it so smoothly that the surprise quickly becomes a pleasant one.
Hayley Podschun as Glinda was equally enjoyable. She can sing the role, perhaps not quite as well as it could be (but that could be my personal preference). That opinion aside, her acting was superb and her performance earned enthusiastic applause for both the touching and comedic moments.
As a Wicked fan, I'd like to take this moment to pose a question: at what point did the role of Glinda (specifically, Galinda), become so over-the-top with the physical/overdramatic comedy? "Popular" is indeed a funny song, but it seems every time I see a new actress in the role, it's become more and more extreme, as though each is trying to out-do the last. That's not to say it's not entertaining and funny - it's just not how I remember it being the first time I saw the production on Broadway in 2007 (with Kate Reinders). Moving on...
Rounding out the core story trio is Matt Shingledecker as Fiyero, a cutie-patootie if I've ever seen one. His looks reminded me of Adam Lambert - a "calmer" Adam Lambert. He was cute and lovable and it was one of the rare times when I actually understood why either witch could be remotely interested in Fiyero.
WICKED's Munchkinland company also includes Wayne Schroder (Witch's Father), Kerry Blanchard (Witch's Mother), Jane Brockman (Midwife), Emily Behny (Nessarose), Lee Slobotkin (Boq), Kathy Fitzgerald (Madame Morrible), John Hillner (Doctor Dillamond), and Walker Jones (Wizard).
WICKED is at the Majestic Theatre for three weeks only, through March 30, 2014, and is not a show to be missed! Tickets are available at the box office and online at MajesticEmpire.com.