BWW Reviews: WICKED Flies Into Cincinnati - Fantabulous!
"Wicked" has made its much-anticipated return to Cincinnati and it's as "Ozmopolitan" as it was the last time it came to town. Recently named the "best musical of the decade" by Entertainment Weekly, "Wicked" tells the pre-story to the Wizard of Oz, before Dorothy "dropped in."
Opening with the celebration of the Wicked Witch's death, the townspeople ask questions that bring up the cause of wickedness - "Are people born wicked? Or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?" These questions resonate throughout the show as we follow Elphaba, the green one, and Galinda, later Glinda the good witch, through their formative years at school.
Elphaba is the misunderstood girl who struggles with her magical powers and desire to right the wrongs of Oz. Glinda shows us the "good" path, the perky and funny blonde who, as everyone's friend, becomes the one everyone looks to for leadership. We watch as events set these two on their different paths, while they try to maintain friendship and a rivalry over a love interest. Ultimately it is Elphaba's fall from grace that helps Glinda succeed as the Good Witch of the North.
Elphaba is portrayed beautifully by Mamie Parris, who gives great depth to the witch. Amanda Jane Cooper doesn't hold back with Galinda's perkiness and silly jokes and naïveté that make you laugh out loud. I'd love to go back to see Colin Hanlon handles the role of FIyero, the cute Winkie prince and the love interest of Glinda and Elphaba, instead of his understudy, Timothy Fitz-Gerald. He was very smooth in the role and seemed comfortable with the songs, but I didn't feel a lot of chemistry between him and Elphaba.
"Wizard of Oz" fans will delight at the many jokes and references to Baum's novels and 1939 film. The show is witty, funny and highly imaginative. And the sets match. The music is beautiful (though at times I found myself wishing for more musicians in the pit for a more fuller sound) and the cast does a wonderful job with the tough score, including Cooper, who gives Glinda some of the operatic notes made famous by original Glinda, Kristin Chenoweth.
Despite the show's apparent staying power in it's eighth year on Broadway and with two simulatenous national tours, don't miss this "fantabulous" chance to catch up on the witches of Oz.
"Wicked" will play The Aronoff Center from November 2-26. Tickets start at $27.50 and may be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com/Wicked, BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com, in person at the Broadway in Cincinnati Box Office downtown in the Mercantile Center at 120 East 4th Street, the Aronoff Center Box Office or by phone at 800.982.2787. For groups of 20 or more, contact the group sales department at 513.369.4363.