BWW Review: Get Green! WICKED at the Paramount is Still Luminous!
Well before that founding father refused to throw away his shot, even before those Mormons made us giggle with their irreverence, the hot ticket in town was "Wicked". Well, Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman's witches have returned to the Emerald City and the bloom is still quite firmly attached to that bright pink rose in Glinda's hair.
Still a complete winner, even after the many times it's been here before, the story of the Witches of Oz and how they got that way before Dorothy flew in to meet the Wizard shines. Our favorite green girl still belts out those roof shaking climaxes like nobody's business. Sure, there's a few changes from Gregory Maguire's original novel, but the heart and compassion of the show is right on track.
You could say the show succeeds from a solid direction from Joe Mantello. Or maybe those outstanding costumes from Susan Hilferty and lighting from Kenneth Posner. And of course, from Schwartz' tunes which have become indelible classics in the American Musical Songbook. But I think its longevity has to be due in large part to the kick ass women and men who travel around with this show. The names keep changing each time it makes it way here, but the talent and power is always the same. But as iconic as the show and characters are, I love how each cast makes those characters their own and this tour is no exception.
Erin Mackey as Galinda, is quirky and bubbly, almost in an overboard way, but that's what makes her amazing. She rides that line perfectly with this outrageous character making her an absolute delight. Mariand Torres is a powerhouse of musical theater beyond belief. The voice is from the Gods and those crescendos I mentioned, well, they brought the Paramount down. Plus, she's hysterical and someone you cannot take your eyes off.
But as wonderful as the witches are, the show cannot survive only on them. Thankfully the rest of the ensemble is, well, wonderful. Amanda Fallon Smith is fantastic as the yearning Nessarose and Michael Wartella couldn't be more adorable as the lovelorn puppy, Boq. Sharon Sachs makes for a fantastic baddie as the duplicitous Madame Morrible. Tom Flynn brings in some heartbreaking moments as Doctor Dillamond. And Curt Hansen fits the bill perfectly as the hunky, dashing, dreamer Fiyero.
But I must mention Jason Graae as the Wizard. Graae has been a staple of musical theater and Broadway for years and I've been a fan of his ever since I first discovered him on his CD, "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile: Jason Graae Sings Charles Strouse". He is, without a doubt, a consummate showman and perfect for the Vaudevillian nature of the Wizard. I was fortunate enough to see him in "Ragtime" so many moons ago and when I saw he was touring here for "Wicked", my little musical theater geek heart leapt. And he's still got it!
OK, enough fan-girling. Suffice to say the latest tour of "Wicked" still brings all the goods packed in those theater trunks and seeing it last night was just as wonderful as seeing it the first time. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give "Wicked" at the Paramount a witch's cackle of a YAY. Whether you've seen it a million times or were one of the gushing nerds I heard leaving the theater proclaiming their exhilaration for finally seeing it, you'll have a great time.
"Wicked" performs at the Paramount through July 7th. For tickets or information visit Seattle Theatre Group online at www.stgpresents.org.