BWW Review: WICKED Shows No Signs of Slowing Down
After nearly 15 years, WICKED is still defying gravity. The North American tour of Stephen Schwartz' blockbuster musical WICKED will be sweeping Toronto audiences to Oz this summer at Mirvish's Ed Mirvish Theatre. Lucky for us Torontonians, this touring cast is more than capable at navigating the thrilling, challenging, and...popular score.
WICKED tells the story of what happened before Dorothy blew into Oz. Elphaba (Mary Kate Morrissey), feared and ignored for her emerald-green skin, discovers the true meaning of friendship when she meets the pink-loving, popularity-obsessed Galinda/later Glinda (Ginna Claire Mason). It's a story that preaches acceptance, diversity and the unifying power of friendship.
Having seen the Broadway production only two months ago, I can safely say that the tour doesn't skimp out on production value. The show is just as green and just as wonderful as it is on the Great White Way! Although there are a few minor changes - there's confetti at the beginning of 'No One Mourns the Wicked', Elphaba doesn't emerge from the ground in 'No Good Deed', and there is no trapdoor for her 'Defying Gravity' entrance. These would go unnoticed to most audience members.
As the show's leading ladies, Mary Kate Morrissey and Ginna Claire Mason both make the roles their own. Morrissey leans into the nerdy side of Elphaba to create a moving, stimulating acting performance. Vocally, Morrissey plays it safe - the performance was not as riff-filled as some recent portrayals - but safe means healthy, and a healthy voice when singing Elphaba is crucial.
Mason's superb belt, solid soprano, and comedic acting combine to create a near-perfect Glinda. From her soaring high notes in 'No One Mourns the Wicked', to her epic splits in 'Popular', to her power-belt in 'Thank Goodness' - Mason has star power and she lets you know it. As an actor, her maturity arch showcasing Glinda's evolution from a spoiled girl to a wise woman is outstanding- something missing from the current Broadway portrayal.
I think tours get a bad reputation for being rougher around the edges than their Broadway counterparts - but this is not the case with this cast. From the principals, to the energetic chorus - this touring ensemble does a fantastic job bringing to life the world's most magical musical.
If you've already seen WICKED, you're sure to find something new in Morrissey and Mason's exceptional portrayals - and if you've never seen the show, then 'For Good'ness' sakes, get yourself to a performance before it flies off to the next town!
WICKED runs through August 5, 2018 at Mirvish's Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit mirvish.com/shows/wicked