This Thursday the Wicked tour graced the Orpheum with its classic show, but classic is really the least of it. Bold singing and pit choices practically reinvented the show making those who listen to the original production shocked. The whole musical is about Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West and her untold story. Told through famous musical numbers and a brillant-ious friendship the audience is taken to Oz.
Performances worth mentioning are Fiyero, G(a)linda, Nessarose, ensemble, pit, and of course Elphaba. Fiyero (Jeremy Woodard) was an excellent actor who couldn't fulfill the role vocally. His voice was more of a tenor 2 which couldn't achieve the soaring notes his role required. Glinda (Ginna Claire Mason) was much of the same. Her voice had range; however, her voice acting was two dimensional. Glinda's acting made a sharp contrast with her singing with one full fledged and the other only capable of humor. Another note is that she wasn't with the pit. Next, the character of Nessarose (Kritin Martin) is the black swan of the musical world and in this performance the audience only got the black swan. Her head voice (Act I) is unappealing to listen to, but in her belting chest voice (Act II) everything is righted. Kristen was almost there, by a margin, failing to fully flesh out her character.
What really reinvented this musical was the ensemble and pit. The high level technique and style was amazing. Perhaps due to the forwardness of the lead the ensemble sang buzzing consonants instead of vowels with sforzandos to make a director weep with joy. The wild energy of forte, piano, and then a crescendo was phenomenal. The intricacies of the pit were also a treat. While the synthetic strings were unfavorable, the strength of the percussion was invigorating. The pit was a dense jungle of sound and instrument. Really exciting was the trumpet's masterful use of mutes and lack thereof. Finally, Elphaba (Jessica Vosk), the lady from Wall Street, had a new interpretation that left viewers reeling. Her full, but forward voice was new-ifying. Good advice would be for her to up the contrast between her college and traitor voice. Nasal youth would work well for Act I then transitioning to a fuller sound in Act II. If this was played up it would make a killer vocal performance. Her acting was similarly edgy leaving viewers hoping for more emotion. Vosk's telepathic communication with the pit was amazing leading her reputation to be a well rounded, but growing actress.
Tech played no small part in this show. No penny was saved with costumes, set, and lighting. The set took advantage of vertical and horizontal storage making scene changes fun. A sky background helped to tell the story and spots were spot on for the most part.
Everything and everyone in this show had talent thrust upon them. While the levels varied, Wicked is the musical to beat. The melodies that haunt the mind paired with high direction and production value make seeing this musical likely to be a life changing event. No one mourns seeing Wicked.