Wicked The Musical - Introduction
Wicked has received some fantastic reviews since it opened on 27 September 2006.
The Apollo Victoria Theatre in London has been decorated in green especially for Wicked. There are green and pink cocktails available and even the soap and hand lotions in the toilet areas are green and pink!
I am a huge fan of the Wizard of Oz and I read Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked when it was published back in 1995. Friends in the US had told me how amazing the Broadway performance was but I still had a niggling doubt that it would not live up to my expectations.
Wicked The Musical - The Story
Wicked tells the untold story of the Witches of Oz from L. Frank Baum's classic, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. We know what happened to Dorothy, but what about the other side of the story? How did the Wicked Witch of the West become so wicked?
The story starts with the death of the Wicked Witch and the Munchkinlanders celebration taken from the original Wizard of Oz tale. Then they discover Glinda, the Good Witch, was once friends with Elphaba, the Wicked Witch, when they were at school and Glinda explains what happened. We learn about their time at school, when they met the Wizard, and why animals stopped speaking and who made it happen.
There are some nice nods towards the original Wizard of Oz - I particularly liked the line about the contents of a fruit punch based on the phrase 'Lions and tigers and bears':
"Apples, and melons, and pears."
Wicked The Musical – The Cast
You will recognize some of the actors immediately such as Miriam Margoyles as Madame Morrible (she was 'Professor Sprout' in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and Nigel Planer who plays the Wizard (and was one of the original members of the Comic Strip).
Fiyero (Adam Garcia), the male love interest, and Glinda (Helen Dallimore) are such parodies and have fabulous comedic value. I love the line when Fiyero tells Elphaba he's been thinking and she says, "Yes, I heard!" Obviously he is not meant to be the most intelligent of characters! The love triangle gives us plenty of songs and allows Idina Menzil (Elphaba) to fully demonstrate her vocal talents.
Idina Menzel's last day as Elphaba is on 30 December 2006 so I was thrilled to catch her in this role as she won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical in the original Broadway cast of Wicked. Kerry Ellis takes over the role from 1 January 2007.
Wicked The Musical – Review
Well, I'm pleased to say all doubts are quashed as the performance is amazing. Susan Hilferty's costumes are perfect and Eugene Lee's stage design is magical. I felt spirited away for the few hours I was in the theater. I truly lost track of time as I was so engrossed in the production.
There were plenty of people in the audience who had seen Wicked more than once and you can understand why it has a cult following. It’s a real feel good show with a spectacular cast performing some belting numbers. They will keep you captivated throughout.
Wicked appeals to all age groups. I saw young girls and boys with their parents and grandparents. It seems everyone wants to see this exciting show!
Wicked The Musical - Star-spotting
I had heard that many stars have been to see Wicked in London so I had a really good look around the audience before the lights went down. I didn't see any big names, just lots of theater-goers waiting with excited anticipation. And afterwards the looks on everyone's faces told me what a wonderful night they had enjoyed.
In case you're wondering which stars have been to see Wicked in London, these are the names being reported: Dame Shirley Bassey, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Burton, Anita Dobson, Mark Feehily, Geri Halliwell, Duncan James (formerly of Blue), Brian May, Philip Schofield, and Jessie Wallace.