Wicked is one of the longest-running broadway shows in existence (launching in 2003) and this is my review of the latest 2023 tour, which I had the chance to see at The Hobby Center here in Houston, TX. It is an absolute spectacular production that boasts outstanding songs, an eye-popping set and lighting, and adds more depth to both The Wicked Witch of the West and The Good Witch of the North from MGM’s classic, “The Wizard of Oz” (which also happens to my favorite film of all time- next to Terminator 2: Judgement Day, which is oddly a completely different genre of film).
Elphaba (Olivia Valli) is born with green skin, judged harshly by others, and is the one who will later become known as The Wicked Witch of the West. Headmistress Madame Morrible (Sharon Sachs) notices that Elphaba has magical powers and Elphaba is given hopes to one day work with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Timothy Shew). Galinda (Celia Hottenstein) initially dislikes Elphaba but they do end up becoming close, and Galinda eventually becomes known as Glinda The Good Witch of the North. Through a series of intriguingly shocking events, we get to see why Elphaba becomes widely hated and even why she so desperately wants to retrieve Dorothy’s ruby slippers.
An abundance of heart is seen within all of these characters; you get to see the slow but raw transition from a hurt and mistreated Elphaba to the Wicked Witch, but by the end of the show you are on her side because you understand why she’s made all the decisions that she makes. She’s not simply evil for no reason. Additionally, The “Good” witch of the North Glinda doesn’t seem all that good. Surely she’s not ruthless but she has flaws and has played a political game in order to be seen in a positive light, or should I say bubble. Both actresses are standouts– Valli and Hottenstein bring so much upbeat energy to these characters that makes them mesmerizing and the high-range vocal performances are eye-widening. “Defying Gravity”, “Popular”, and “For Good” are the standout tracks.
With the exception of maybe Hamilton, Wicked just might be my favorite musical I’ve ever seen! It has admirable actors, sets, songs, costumes, and narrative. Don’t miss out!
Prices for Wicked can be hefty so just with every musical I recommend, you should check out the songs in advance to see if this genre is your cup of tea. Even if it isn’t there’s still a chance that the story alone will be enough to pique your interest, especially if you’re a fan of The Wizard of Oz. You can catch Wicked playing at The Hobby Center here in Houston Texas until July 2nd 2023. You can see other touring dates at https://wickedthemusical.com/.
|With the exception of maybe Hamilton, Wicked just might be my favorite musical I’ve ever seen! It has admirable actors, sets, songs, costumes, and narrative.