This writer is normally not one to use antonyms, but in the case of the musical, “Wicked,” it is appropriate. On Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, I watched “Wicked” at the Memphis Orpheum Theatre, and it was absolutely wicked! By that I mean “impeccable or flawless.” This Broadway musical, which was written by Stephen Schwartz and directed by Joe Mantello is worth its weight in gold.
The seats in the Orpheum are small and close together, but once the show started, I lost all inner complaints about seating, and even noticed that the closeness of seats made the audience seem to be drawn into one large cheering section, and the fact that we were seated in the orchestra seats made us feel like we were a part of the show.
As the beautiful curtain, which was a huge map of the land of Oz opened, we were immediately flooded with entertainment. The lighting and set were constantly and magically changing, as were the outfits of the players. The special effects were extremely special.
The players seemed to be at home in Oz, and they each left you with the sense that you had actually been to Oz yourself. Jennifer DiNoia, as the green skinned Elphaba and Hayley Podschun as Glinda, were bewitchingly superb in their love and hate relationships, which began before they were witches and continued after Elphaba received her hat, broom and incantation book, and before Glinda received her tierra crown and magical staff. Lee Slobotkin carried his character, Boq very nicely throughout the performance and certainly gained the attention of all the ladies in the audience.
Some of the other cast members were – Matt Shingledecker as Fiyero, Walker Jones as The Wizard, Kathy Fitzgerald as Madame Morrible, Emily Behny as Nessarose, John Hillner as Doctor Dillamond These actors pulled the plot together with their portrayals of other supporting characters in the musical.
In no way did the others performers fail in their attempt to make the show meet and exceed the audiences expectations. The music was right-on throughout the show, and crescendoed as the action grew, and diminuendoed as the intensity waned.
“Wicked” is an intensely and memorable musical that carries the audience along on its magical and daring journey within the land of Oz! It is superbly written and performed to stage perfection. It is the most unbelievably, entertaining musical this writer has ever watched!”