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WICKED Musical currently playing on tour in Toronto, ON (till July 21) and moves to Denver, CO (from July 24)

Wicked” might not be a great musical, but it is a great night of theater.

Wicked Proctors Theatre Tickets

Wicked Proctors Theatre Tickets

The national touring company of “Wicked” is at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady for a month-long run and the extravagant production shows why the musical that opened on Broadway in 2003 to less-than-enthusiastic critical views has turned into one of the most popular shows in Broadway history.

“Wicked” is entertaining, provocative and romantic. And, as if it needs more, it has an intriguing premise that forces you think differently about a cultural icon. It uses a beloved story — “The Wizard of Oz” — and turns it on its ear without being offensive to even the staunchest supporters of the original film. At the same time it mutes the darkness of Gregory McGuire’s novel, upon which this show is based, without causing its fans to rebel.

The genius of the show is that all this political intrigue and rebellion is counterbalanced by a couple of love stories. One causes conflict between Glinda, Elphaba and the handsome Fiyero. A case of unrequited love between the crippled Nessarose and the Munchkin Boq causes pain for both. Hard choices must be made and no one seems destined for happy-ever-after.

A lot of fun in the second act comes from seeing how beloved characters, like the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and the flying monkeys, evolve through Elphaba’s magical powers. Also clever is discovering the reason for the Kansas tornado that brings Dorothy to Oz and why the magical shoes get their power.

The performances at the Thursday night press opening were impressive. Indeed, Elphaba was performed by Carrie Manolakos, the lead’s standby. If she’s an understudy, I can only imagine the skills of the normal lead, Marcie Dodd. Making the role her own, Manolakos plays Elphaba more vulnerable than dynamic. The approach costs some of her numbers their angry power, but it does make the character more sensitive and brings a tenderness to the romantic songs.

Helene Yorke is a delight as Glinda. It’s actually a more complex role than Elphaba as Glinda is both vain and vindictive as well as caring and brave. Yorke exploits the comical shallowness of the woman without negating her more valuable assets. And she sings enchantingly.

The tech is impressive, with most of the mood set by intense dramatic lighting. There are times where the lyrics of some songs are difficult to understand, but with some of the throwaway songs that’s no loss.

Maybe “Wicked” is a great show as well as great theater.

“Wicked” at Proctors Theatre, Schenectady. Through Jan. 3. Great Seats for Less. Save $20! First-Ever Coupon Codes!
Buy now and save $20 on your next order over $250.


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Buy Tickets to see Wicked!

Buy Tickets to see Wicked!