Have you ever wondered what happened before Dorthy arrived? Well, If you’ve seen Wicked, which recently closed after a five-week engagement at the Orpheum in Minneapolis, you’ll know that Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch were once college roommates. As the show progresses, Glinda and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch, hit all of the major milestones and highs and lows of friendship, which makes the show relatable to almost everybody. Among the hundreds of Wicked veterans in the audience at Wednesday's performance were a handful of newbies, all anticipating the magical story that has become nostalgic to many.
Leading the company were Ginna Mason Claire as Ga-linda, not Glinda, and Jessica Vosk as Elphaba. Jessica Vosk’s voice was clear, consistent, and powerful throughout the duration of the show. Vosk remained true to the Idina we all have grown accustomed to in the soundtrack however she was able to reimagine elements of the character, making it her own. Key moments which highlighted the unique playfulness (or not so playful) and fantastic comedic timing Vosk carried were “What is this feeling?” and the iconic song, “Popular”. Ginna, who was recently the Glinda standby on Broadway, clicked flawlessly with Vosk despite being relatively new to the company. Their relationship formed quite organically. This may partially be due to the book and libretto, which seem to speak for themselves. Standing out to me the most was Andy Mientus, who played Boq, the munchkin who befriends Elphaba’s sister before becoming the Tin Man we know from the Wizard of Oz. Mientus, who was last seen in the Deaf West revival of Spring Awakening, brought a fantastic comedic and innocent essence to the character with a tad of social anxiety which makes for a very intriguing performance.
Wicked wouldn’t be Wicked without the iconic set, costumes, and makeup designed by Eugene Lee, Susan Hilferty, and Tom Watson respectively. The set consists of many moving bits and pieces which reflect the environment and class of each location in Oz. The basis for the design are wooden gears which rotate as set pieces move on and off. Not to mention the deck of the stage are two overlapping gears. There were a few scenic adjustments made for this touring production which differs from the those of the last Minneapolis engagement in 2013. Notably, the bridge which flies in and out from the rafters of the stage. In this production, although the bridge was there, all blocking originally staged on the bridge took place on the deck. Thankfully, this didn’t take anything away from the initial production. In fact, it emphasised the ‘wow’ factor of seeing Elphaba defy gravity during the end of act one. Hilferty’s costumes and Watson’s hair and makeup blended together with the set and lighting plot, designed by Kenneth Posner, with ease. The most admirable part of the hair, makeup, and costumes was how much they added to the characters. I was able to tell so much about each character just by their appearance, including the ensemble. However, they never became distracting or infringed upon the story or very specific stylised choreography, which emphasise each beat of music thanks to the creative mind of Wayne Cliento.
Wicked is a must see, regardless of if you're a fan of the Wizard of Oz or not. Wicked is an experience in itself, there's magic that no other Broadway show has to offer. You’ll leave the theatre having been changed for the better!