BWW Reviews: WICKED National Tour at Durham Performing Arts Center
Based on the Gregory Maguire novel titled Wicked: The Life & Times of The Wicked Witch of the West, this musical tells the story of The Wizard of Oz from the witches' perspective long before Dorothy dropped in. Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda the Good, who struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, reactions to the Wizard's corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba's public fall from grace.
Wicked first opened on Broadway on October 30th, 2003. While the critical reviews at the time were mixed, the show still went on to earn 10 Tony Award nominations (including Best Musical), the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, and become such a worldwide phenomenon with multiple productions currently playing around the world!
At the heart of the current national touring production playing through January 25th is a friendship between two girls with very dominant personalities, one blonde and the other green. Raleigh native Laurel Harris stars as Elphaba, the sympathetic green girl who becomes The Wicked Witch of the West; Carrie St. Louis plays Glinda, the blonde girl who becomes Glinda the Good. Together, Harris and St. Louis are both so utterly flawless onstage that you really do care for them over the course of the show.
The rest of the ensemble cast also rise to the top of perfection! Former O-Town star Ashley Parker Angel as love interest Fiyero; Kristine Zbornik as the headmistress Madame Morrible; Television personality John Davidson as The 'Wonderful' Wizard of Oz; Emily Behny as the disabled Nessarose; Michael DeVries as the goat-talking Doctor Dillamond; Lee Slobotkin as the unusually tall munchkin Boq.
As for the production values, director (and North Carolina School of the Arts alumni) Joe Mantello literally crafts some of the most cinematic staging at such a great pace! Wayne Cilento's choreography; Tony Meola's sound designs; Kenneth Posner's lighting; Eugene Lee's Tony-Winning sets; Susan Hilferty's Tony-Winning costume designs, everything is brilliant from top-to-bottom, especially with the end of Defying Gravity leaving some eye-popping visuals!
If you are a die-hard fan of Wicked, there is always a good excuse to come back again on the journey to the Emerald City! But for those who've never seen the show, now is the time to find the brain, the heart, and the courage to do so, because this sure is one experience you'll never forget!
For more information regarding the national tour, please visit http://www.wickedthemusical.com/north-american-tour-tickets to see if it's coming to a city near you!