From the beloved classic film, Wizard Of Oz which premiered in 1939 to the novel, Wicked by Gregory Maguire which released in 1995, and finally the 2003 Broadway hit Wicked which has won 3 Tony Awards, 6 Drama Desk Awards, and 1 Grammy Award, it makes you wonder, why is Wicked so popular?
Wicked is the story of two frenemies struggling to make their way in Oz, this classic storyline spins off the film Wizard Of Oz. First off, the second I walked in I knew I would love it even more than I did the previous time I saw it in 2012. The curtain was a map of Oz with the dazzling green Emerald City in the center of the curtain was sure to catch your eye.
The lighting (created by Kenneth Posner) was absolutely stunning. The contrasts between the pale, blonde Glinda (played by Ginna Claire Mason) and the flashing green skin of Elphaba (played by Jessica Vosk), really revealed the specific details within the lighting. To make the green tones pop, Posner used vibrant light to flatter Vosk’s makeup. During the song, “Defying Gravity”, the technical aspects were insane. Glimmering beams of light lit of Vosk as she flew in the air with her broomstick. Other technical aspects such as the Wizard’s robot contraption. This set piece was absolutely terrifying as it starting moving out of nowhere with flashing lights with was sure to make everyone jump in their chairs. These special effects by Chic Silber were amazing and really added to the story of the musical itself.
Onto the overall performances by the cast. When Mason first appeared on stage in her floating bubble, I honestly was very disappointed. All her high notes were underwhelming due to her impressive acting that set an expectation for an amazing voice. When we reached the song, “Popular” Mason started to warm up to the stage and was WAY better than she was at the start of the show. By the end, she was so fantastic due to her bubbly acting (that gave me Kristin Chenoweth vibes). Another actor who took some time to warm up was Jeremy Woodard who played Fiyero. Some of his sustained notes became either flat or sharp but his acting really compensated for the intonation issues. Another stunning acting performance was Kristen Martin’s performance as Nessarose. Both she and Andy Mientus portrayal of Boq were adorable and quirky. Martin had a very intense acting type that captivating everyone in the audience.
Finally, Jessica Vosk as Elphaba, woah. Honestly, Vosk was my favorite performance of any female vocalist I have seen live. She had the most unique voice that was full of sforzandos. These insane dynamics really brought a powerful aspect to her performance. Her belting was flawless and the added riffs were perfect. Her voice was nothing like I have ever heard before and had no flaws at all. Her belting in the song, "No Good Deed" was the best due to the insane control in her voice that blasted through the roof.
Overall, this show is absolutely fantastic and is definitely worth seeing. Wicked runs at the Orpheum from now through May 14th.