No Rest For The Wicked

Review of the musical “Wicked”

No Rest For The Wicked

If you think singing through an entire Tony Award winning musical is hard, you should talk to the cast of “Wicked.” They not only have to sing and dance, but fly run, flip, swing, and many other grueling activities one can only imagine doing.

This spectacle of a show just left the Boston Opera House, and to no surprise the people of Boston responded to it greatly.  Part of the secret to their success is their creative storyline.

Adapted from Gregory Maguire’s book “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” we follow the witches in Oz in the time before Dorthy drops in.  The two witches, Glinda (or Galinda) Upland and Elphaba Thropp, the noticeably green girl, meet at Shiz University where an unexpected friendship forms as they realize something terrible is happening to the animals.  These two parts happen to be some of the most difficult to play in live theatre.  Alison Luff played Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, in “Wicked’s” run in Boston this year, and she may be one of the best Elphabas to ever grace the stage.

“She was better than Idina Menzel!” raved one friend as we left the show closing week.  Idina was the original Elphaba in the Broadway cast who is known for her incredible vocals and won the Tony for her part along with co-star Kristen Chenoweth, who plays the “good witch” Glinda, was nominated in the same category back in 2004.  We even caught a glimpse of Luff as she entered the stage door before the show started!

In the Boston version, Glinda was played by Jenn Gambatese who added a hilarious flair to her character, prancing across the stage earning rounds of laughter from the auidence.  Her rendition of the famous song “Popular” was a breath of fresh air as she made it her own, doing many things differently than Glinda’s before her, which made this classic even more exciting to watch.

Not only did these two leading ladies bring pride to the well known show, but so did the rest of the cast.  Other leads including the main love interest Fieyro played by  Curt Hansen, the Wizard played by John Davidson, and Madame Morrible played by Kim Zimmer made the show magical as they brought it to life with exceptional ensemble dancing and vocals.

Though I could continue to rave forever, I think you get the point.  “Wicked” is a true masterpiece, and if you ever get the opportunity to see it, don’t pass it up!  I’m already waiting for the day I can see the witches in action again.

If you want to see the show, it’s coming to Providence, Rhode Island from December 26 to January 12 at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Don’t miss out!