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Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: Wicked

I was lucky enough to attend Wicked Tuesday night as part of the program I’m doing this summer through my university. My professor knows someone who works on the crew of Wicked, so we saw the show and go to go onstage afterward. It was my fourth time seeing Wicked, but my first time seeing it on Broadway (I saw it on tour twice and once in the West End, with the marvelous Louise Dearman and Gina Beck).


If you somehow don’t know Wicked, it’s a retold story about the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good from the Wizard of Oz. I think most theater people go through a Wicked phase (mine happened when I was seventeen). I’m not particularly fond of the show, but I do love the character of Galinda.

Having seen the tour and the West End production, it was very interesting to see the original Broadway production. Wicked has been operating in the Gershwin Theater for the past thirteen years and the show is much the same as when it opened in 2003. The current cast is very solid; the only weak member would perhaps be the Wizard, who was a bit bland and spoke-sung most of his lines.

My friends from the UK told me that I would love Rachel Tucker as Elphaba, but I was not prepared for how amazing she was. She’s the longest consecutive running Elphaba in the West End and let me tell you, her “No Good Deed” is by far the best I’ve ever heard. She was one of the first Elphabas I’ve seen that made me truly care about the character (I’m much more of a Galinda girl, myself). Her acting was great and her singing was flawless.

The only way I know how to describe Carrie St. Louis’s Galinda is that she’s Elle Woods, in all the best ways. Carrie is an adorable Galinda who brings a lot of true emotion to her character. I am highly picky about Galindas, after seeing the amazing Gina Beck, but Carrie exceeded my expectations by a lot. While perky and cute in songs like “Popular” (definitely the highlight of Act I), she also masterfully depicted Galinda’s pain in songs like “Thank Goodness” and “No One Mourns the Wicked.”

Jonah Platt is easily the best Fiyero I’ve ever seen. He was charming and sincere, while also displaying amazing dancing and singing skills. Often, it seems that Fiyeros are cast based on their acting and dancing (and maybe how good they look in the Fiyero pants?) alone and “As Long As You’re Mine” can be a bit cringey. But Jonah’s vocals were truly lovely, making it one of the best moments of the show.

After the show, we got the privilege of going on the actual stage and seeing some of the large set pieces. I got to see the Wizard of Oz’s head, the cabinet that Elphaba appears in when she visits Nessa, and Nessa’s chair! I was most excited that I could see Galinda’s bubble overhead where it’s stored. Getting to actually be on the stage of the Gershwin was such a cool experience. (And I felt fancy because I knew what the ghost light was, thanks to Finding Neverland.)



While not my favorite show that I’ve seen this summer, going to Wicked with my class was a very special experience. I’m very grateful to my professor and his friends for setting it all up! This current cast is simply lovely, so if you have the chance to see it, you should. I will certainly be sad when Rachel Tucker returns to the West End.

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