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WICKED Musical currently playing on tour in Grand Rapids, MI (till June 02) and moves to Toronto, ON (from June 05)

Posts Tagged ‘Wicked Western Canada Tour Update’

Monday, July 25th, 2011

The touring musical Wicked, now parked at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium until Aug. 7, is a high flier.

Whether it’s the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West levitating on her broomstick or Glinda the Good’s perky descent from the sky on a bubble machine, this is a show that floats on theatre magic.

Right from the start, Eugene Lee’s set grabs audience attention with some pretty jaw-dropping mechanical gizmos — a smoke-blowing dragon poised above the proscenium stage and a backdrop of timed cogs, wheels and gears that open and close like spells in a book of enchantment.

But the heart of Gregory Maguire’s story, a precursor to Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, lies with two young women that meet at sorcery school.

Elphaba is an intelligent, magically talented witch that smarts at being treated like a pariah by her peers because she has green skin. Her leading rival is Galinda, later known as Glinda, a vain, cosmetically-perfect gal constantly surrounded by adoring sycophants.

They end up as constantly bickering, unenthusiastic roommates. But over time the duo forges an ironclad friendship that withstands the greatest crisis Oz must face.

Through their contrasting personalities director Joe Mantello (Assassins) puts society under a microscope. He examines our preference to embrace image over substance and take the easy road over performing hard, noble acts.

But it’s the dark, power-hungry undertones of the Wizard’s attempt to silence dissenters in the Land of Oz that resonates sharply with the corrupt politicking within our own modern world.

Ultimately the three-hour musical challenges idealism versus reality, life versus death and friendship versus politics as Elphaba develops a sympathy for the oppressed. And it definitely confronts the certainties of love when both women fall for the same man, Fiyero, a playboy prince.

Stephen Schwartz’s heavily thematic music and lyrics, resembling more a film score than a traditional musical, soars with a certain majesty and beautifully illustrates the characters’ many moods.

In this coming-of-age story, both women undergo major personal discoveries. The multi-faceted Anne Brummel as Elphaba is a belter, a vocal powerhouse that stomps around the stage in heart-churning numbers such as I’m Not That Girl and Defying Gravity.

Equally balanced against Brummel’s robust personality is Natalie Daradich’s Glinda, a singer with a crystal soprano voice that outdoes herself in Popular. She is also a gifted comedienne that imbues her ditsy character with squeaks and coos yet morphs throughout the show into one of Emerald City’s great leaders.

David Nathan Perlow as Fiyero, the pampered campus stud is loaded with roguish charm and Michelle London’s Nessarose adds a controlling shrewish subtext.

Jody Gelb’s Madame Morrible, the school’s self-serving headmistress, is appropriately evil and Martin Moran’s Dr. Dillamond, the talking goat-professor compassionately personifies the oppressed.

Kenneth Posner’s striking light design, Tony Meola’s complex sound design and Susan Hilferty’s elegant costumes also get a special nod for artistic expression.

Complete Review {Via St. Albert Gazette}

See Wicked at Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium performing through Sunday, August 07. Buy Wicked Edmonton Alberta Canada Tickets, Use Code AFF$10 to Get $10 OFF on Orders over $350!

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Buy Tickets to see Wicked!

Buy Tickets to see Wicked!