Broadway Features and Reviews
Wicked Still Reigns Supreme On Broadway Road
By Linda Hodges, Broadway Magazine
Broadway's very own yellow-brick road leads to San Francisco's Orpheum Theater where Wicked is continuing to play to packed houses and resounding standing ovations. A grand and glorious musical, Wicked tells the tale of two sorceresses-in-training who eventually come to be known as Glinda the Good Witch and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. Just how these two friends arrive at their respective titles is what makes Wicked a riveting and resplendent show. It is story-telling at its very best. Set "before Dorothy dropped in," and then focusing on Elphaba's untold version of how things came to be we begin to gather that nothing is as it seems. Glinda's question at the beginning of the show, "Are people born wicked - or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?" sets the stage for magic and mayhem.
Teal Wicks (Elphaba) and Kendra Kassebaum (Glinda) plumb the depths (and the shallows, in the case of blonde and bouncy Glinda) of their characters from the transcendent "Defying Gravity," and the effervescent "Popular," to the angst-filled "I'm not that Girl," a number that both of them have occasion to sing. Patty Duke is truly a treasure in the role of Madame Morrible while Lee Wilkoff, as the Wizard, and Nicolas Dromard,as Fiyero, lend admirable talent as well. The company, well into their seventh month of shows, did not disappoint, presenting a sparkling ensemble to round out and highlight the dynamic performances of its stars.
All the elements of great theater conspire and come together in Wicked to thrust the audience into the stratosphere of sheer artistry and visual delight. The music and lyrics by mega-talent Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, Disney's Pocahontas, Enchanted and The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and the wonderful book by Winnie Holzman (creator of television's "My So-Called Life") conjure the magic of the show and also serve as a beautiful thematic canvas for the rest of the creative team. The scenic design by Eugene Lee is a sight to behold though the dragon and clock fixtures will make more sense to those who are familiar with Gregory Maguire's novel, on which the show is based. They are never alluded to in the show and the audience is left to wonder about their significance. Suffice it to say that for Maguire aficionados it is a noteworthy nod to the novel. Costuming by Susan Hilferty is inspired, joyful and fierce by turns. The expert and exquisite lighting (Kenneth Posner), sound (Tony Meola) and special effects (Chic Silber) take the entire experience to another level of enchantment creating gasps of surprise and excitement from young and old alike.
Bay area theater goers who follow the yellow brick road to the Orpheum Theater's production of Wicked will be delighted and enthralled by this retelling of Frank L. Baum's original classic story turned on its ear.
Tickets for the San Francisco production of Wicked are now on sale through ticketmaster.com/wicked or call (415) 512-7770. Tickets are also available at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office (1192 Market at 8th Street).