Wicked | The Fabulous Fox Theatre

Wicked 75_copyPersonally, I’m obsessed!

 

 

 

 

Wicked 500

The witches of Oz have returned to St. Louis to share their spellbinding story yet again. Although I suspect many audience members are already well acquainted with this beloved prequel to The Wizard of Oz, it’s a mesmerizing tale worth hearing and watching over and over again. Personally, I’m obsessed!

Inspired by Gregory Maguire’s best-selling novel of the same name, Wicked aims to explain what exactly transpired in Oz before Dorothy’s house crash-landed in Munchkinland and she sang and danced her way to the Emerald City. Finally, so many questions are answered, including how exactly the Lion lost his courage in the first place and why in the world was Scarecrow without a brain and Tin Man without a heart when Dorothy happened upon them? Moreover, Wicked is the backstory of Oz’s three witches: Nessarose the Wicked Witch of East, Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West, and Galinda (later simply Glinda) the Good Witch of the North, long before they earned those titles. It even lets you in on how Elphaba gets her signature pointy black hat! No stone was left unturned.

The arrival of this tour marks the fifth time I’ve seen this spectacular show, and, trust me when I say, it only gets better with each viewing. The dialogue, which is far funnier than you’d expect—especially in the first act—is loaded with references from The Wizard of Oz, fantastic figurative language, and Oz-specific lingo, such as “swankified” and “Ozmopolitan.”I actually catch something I hadn’t noticed previously with every new watch.

Something I love so much about this production is the audience’s enthusiasm to meet the show’s main players, warmly welcoming them with an uproar of applause, which is of course always well deserved! Elphaba (Mary Kate Morrissey) and Glinda (Amanda Jane Cooper) have never once been portrayed exactly the same, and I love seeing what each actress brings to the role. Morrissey, who is actually the Elphaba standby on this tour, played the quirkiest version of the green girl I’ve ever seen, and Cooper followed suit. This creative decision was super refreshing and the first act was all the funnier for it! Madame Morrible (Wendy Worthington), who teaches sorcery at the school the young witches attend, and the “great and powerful” Wizard of Oz (Stuart Zagnit) were also well cast. In fact, Worthington is the most memorable Morrible I’ve seen! Ben Susak, who plays Elphaba’s main flying monkey, Chistery, was also a delight to watch! Truly no cast member disappointed; I’ve merely named the standouts.

Susan Hilferty’s costuming (complimented by Tom Watson’s wigs and hair) and Eugene Lee’s settings deserve standing ovations in their own right. I’m seriously in almost just as much awe over these components as I am in love with Stephen Schwartz’s music and lyrics. My top two favorite moments in costuming accompanies songs six and nine, “Dancing Through Life” and “One Short Day.” You’ll immediately understand why when you become as entranced with these scenes as I do! There’s good reason why this show was named “The Best Musical of the Decade” by Entertainment Weekly and why nearly 16 million people have flocked to see it during its national tours. It’s absolutely fantastic and undeniably unforgettable! | Megan Washausen

Wicked runs at The Fabulous Fox Theatre through Jan. 3. For ticket information, visit http://www.fabulousfox.com/.  

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