Good news, Wicked flies back to Minneapolis for four weeks! Playing at the Orpheum, Theatre in Minneapolis from 4/12-5/14, the positively popular production of the untold story of the witches of Oz is sure to be a hit with audiences of all ages. As someone who knows every set and costume change in the show, I was far from disappointed with my third time seeing the show. The current touring cast gives a new youth and energy to a story that has been known for almost 15 years.
Wicked tells the story of “so much more that happened before Dorothy dropped in”; focusing on the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good from the movie The Wizard of Oz. Based off of the book of the same name by Gregory MaGuire, the music by Stephen Schwartz is arguably still one of the most popular soundtracks of the decade, with hits like Defying Gravity and For Good continuing to echo at concerts and performances across the world. The script, by Winnie Holzman, seamlessly combines references to The Wizard of Oz while creating new backstories for each character. One thing that makes this show timeless is it’s quick pace; there is not a single song or plot point that feels forced.
At the core of it, the show is simply about friendship. Elphaba (Jessica Vosk) and Glinda (Ginna Claire Mason) carry the story of meeting as enemies, and ending as inseparable friends. Vosk is faced with a difficult task, which is living up to the high expectations many people have going into the show, due to the popularity of the soundtrack. Through her powerful belt and witty mannerisms, she makes Elphaba her own while still staying true to the script. Her interpretation of Defying Gravity had audience members all around me audibly gasping as she sang. Mason plays a character who is everything Elphaba is not; blonde, a soprano and popular. Glinda is often cast as a brainless girl with not much going on, yet Mason delivers just the right amount of hidden emotion that makes Glinda a two dimensional character. She effortlessly floats around, somehow maintaining a perky energy through the entire performance.
The set, costumes and technical aspects of the production tell just as much of a story as anything the actors say. A detailed map of the made up land of Oz replaces a red curtain at the top of each act. The attention to detail does not end at the naming of each location in Oz, but extends to every single costume. Designed by Susan Hilferty, every single costume on stage, including the ensembles, makes a statement about the character. Elphaba slowly goes from a plain dark blue school outfit to a more revealing, detailed black witches dress, showing her descend into wickedness. Glinda’s dresses are just as extravagant as her personality, with the most costume changes and sparkle. The ensemble looks coherent together, yet maintain individuality within a group.