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BWW Review: WICKED is Star-Powered at the Eccles

BWW Review: WICKED is Star-Powered at the Eccles

The sensational national touring company of Wicked has returned to Salt Lake City with a star-powered run at the Eccles Theater.

The smash hit musical, which is part-prequel, part-parallel story to THE WIZARD OF OZ, relates the tale of the intertwined lives of the Wicked Witch of the West (here named Elphaba) and Glinda the Good.

WICKED is a worldwide blockbuster for good reason--the appealing book by Winnie Holzman (based on Gregory Maguire's novel) and inspired score by Stephen Schwartz tug at the heartstrings while the spectacular staging (including elaborate costumes, wigs, sets, lighting, and special effects) stimulates the senses. All these elements can be counted on to make any visit to Wicked's Ozian world a memorable one, whether in a sit-down production or on tour.

Utah received a special treat with two Broadway leading ladies wrapping up their Los Angeles run of Wicked with performances in Salt Lake City before they will leave the company.

Jackie Burns is Broadway's longest running Elphaba and was Idina Menzel's standby and eventual replacement in IF/THEN on Broadway and tour. It's no wonder why this is so, taking into account her uncanny resemblance to Menzel, who originated the role of Elphaba on Broadway, in both vocals and looks. As a result, Burns' performance is a much more faithful representation of the original than is typical, which is exciting. But she also makes the role her own with thrilling riffs and a commanding stage presence.

Kara Lindsay, who plays Glinda, has also played her character on Broadway. In addition, she is best known for originating the starring role of Katherine in NEWSIES on Broadway, which she also reprised for the live film of the show that screened in movie theaters. Lindsay is vocally on point with a clear soprano, and she has strong comedic chops. However, most impressive is her acting as she maneuvers skillfully through the many emotions of the character. She wears her heart on her sleeve, visibly torn between her love of a friend and the duty she is drawn to.

The leading cast is nicely rounded out by Jon Robert Hall as Fiyero, Jody Gelb as Madame Morrible, Jason Graae as the Wizard, Mili Diaz as Nessarose, Chad Jennings as Doctor Dillamond, and Michael Wartella as Boq.

WICKED plays the Eccles Theater for a limited engagement through Sunday, March 3, 2019. For tickets, call ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS (2787) or visit www.artsaltlake.org.

A day-of-performance drawing for a limited number of orchestra seats will be held for Wicked. Two and one-half hours prior to each performance, people who present themselves at the Eccles black box theatre box office will have their names placed in a drawing drum; thirty minutes later, names will be drawn for a limited number of orchestra seats at $25 each, cash only. This drawing is available only in-person at the box office, with a limit of two tickets per person. Drawing participants must have a valid photo ID when submitting their entry form and, if chosen, when purchasing tickets.

Photo Credit: L-R Jackie Burns (Elphaba) and Kara Lindsay (Glinda). Photo by Joan Marcus.

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From This Author Tyler Hinton

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