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The Shows That Made Us: WICKED

BWW Reviewer Natalie O'Donoghue shares why the musical is so special to her

Wicked fan Natalie O'Donoghue

We're launching a new series, asking BroadwayWorld reviewers which show had the most impact on them...

When asked to think about the shows that made me, a few did spring to mind. I have a soft spot for Fame, as it's the first West End show I properly fell in love with. But for me, it really has to be Wicked.

I've lost count of how many times I've seen the show, but I believe it's over 30. While that's probably not much by the standards of hardcore Wicked fans, it's definitely enough for my non-theatre friends to think I have a serious problem. I've seen Wicked in London, New York, San Francisco, Nashville, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

I first saw Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in 2007. I'd heard good things about it, I liked The Wizard of Oz and I had seen Kerry Ellis in We Will Rock You, so thought I'd give it a go. I fell hard for Wicked, and, after the show, loaded up on merchandise (the programme, a hoodie, a keyring and a stuffed green monkey) and headed to the stage door. I don't tend to stage door after shows, so that signed programme is definitely on the list of things I would save if my house was on fire.

I think your first cast will always be special, and, along with Kerry Ellis as my first Elphaba, I loved Dianne Pilkington as Glinda and Adam Garcia as Fiyero. I've never seen any performance of the show where the casting quality hasn't been to a very high standard. Though I will say that I think Fiyero can be a difficult one to cast, as the character is such a massive drip.

Wicked at the Orpheum Theatre
in San Francisco

I think Wicked is special to me because I love the story, and it's rare to see something with two such powerful female leads. Aside from "Something Bad", I don't think there's a song I'd skip past.

As for the film adaptation: I'm always a bit reluctant for there to be a movie version of Wicked because I don't think it will ever evoke the same emotional response as seeing it onstage. "Defying Gravity" won't have the same impact with CGI, and you won't get the shivers that come from that dramatic curtain drop at the end of Act One. However, the main issue I have with the Wicked movie is the potential for stunt casting. My ideal Wicked movie would be an animated one voiced by the original Broadway cast.

I actually haven't seen Wicked in a while, but its high on my list to return to when the West End reopens. I know I'll be reduced to a snivelling mess by Glinda's opening line: "It's good to see me, isn't it?".

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