Posted on April 16, 2015
By SIYUAN TONG
“Wicked,” the Broadway musical, is definitely worth your time and money. Its nicely developed plot and the artists’ awesome performances will certainly give you an unforgettable experience.
As a musical of the untold story of “The Wizard of Oz,” “Wicked” unveils the past of Elphaba — the Wicked Witch of the West — and Glinda the Good. Other than emphasizing the friendship of Elphaba and Glinda struggling through opposing personalities and misunderstandings, “Wicked” also has some mixed themes on prejudice, love and government secrecy in the story to provide the audience with a much richer and attracting content.
Based on the Gregory Maguire’s novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” in 1995, “Wicked” was created by Stephen Schwartz after he saw the novel’s potential adaption.
Since it premiered on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre in October 2003, after completing pre-Broadway tryouts at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre in May 2003, “Wicked” has been consecutively nominated every year for at least one award, and now it has received 10 Tony Award, 11 Drama Desk Award and one Grammy Award.
As Broadway’s 11th longest-running show with more than 4,746 performances, it is now on tour in Miami at Adrienne Arsht Center from March 11 to March 29.
I went to see the show on a Thursday night with my friend Noe, who has been waiting to see the musical for three years. On our way to the Arsht Center, she kept talking about how fascinating the soundtrack of the “Wicked” was. She had downloaded the whole thing on her phone and had been listening to it for the whole week. When we were approaching the Arshe Center, as we passed by a “Wicked” poster, she even insisted me to take a photo for her with the poster.
Her excitement apparently influenced me and I started to have a greater expectation on the show. Walking into the theater, there was almost not a single seat left empty on our tier and pretty much the same situation on other tiers.
As the lights dimmed and audience became quiet, the show started. Glinda the Good Witch descended in a bubble while the citizens of Oz celebrated the death of the wicked witch and recalled her story with Elphaba the Wicked.
Both Glinda, performed by Carrie St. Louis, and Elphaba, portrayed by Alyssa Fox, did a decent job. St. Louis presented the audience a vivid Glinda—a girl with obvious beauty and a bit vanity, but still good-hearted. She jumped around the stage to show her happiness, got fascinated by her own beauty in the mirror, and enjoyed to be surrounded by the people to prove her popularity.
All the clothes Glinda wore perfectly fitted her personality as well. No matter it was a shining blue dress or a bright pink dress; they each made Glinda looks like a princess loved by all.
Having the same engaging acting skill like St. Louis, Fox presented an alive paradoxical Elphaba — a girl had her own pride while feeling self-abased about her skin color. She pretended that she did not care about others’ biases towards her green skin, and she used a poker face to hide the wounds in her heart.
But she still had a compassionate heart for the animals that has been tortured, and she still fell in love like other girls with her handsome prince. All her clothes was dark blue or just black, unlike gorgeous Glinda, she was a just a scary wired girl struggling through her life.
The stage setting was impressive as well. The red-eye dragon on the top of the stage, the smooth change of the themes from one setting to another, and the roaring lion machine operated by the wizard of Oz. All these added onto the awesome performance to provide the audience with an incredible experience.
As a musical, the music was apparently a huge part of the show. Both St. Louis and Fox had amazing and engaging voices, which had the power to take me into the scene and the moment with the character. All the songs fitted well with the plot and the music always started at the perfect moment. No matter it was Elphaba singing “I’m Not That Girl” after she saw Fiyero, the guy she loved, kissing Glinda, or when Glinda and Elphaba singing “Defying Gravity” together as Elphaba flying above the ground with magic power, all these were simply breathtaking.
I suddenly understood Noe’s passion for the “Wicked” and had this rising desire to download its soundtrack as well. I started to get excited just like Noe and others in the audience. A girl even shouted “This is amazing” aloud at the end of the show with a volume that can be heard by the whole audience.
I do not normally watch many musicals, but “Wicked” made it different. I started wanting to know more and see more musicals — it was“Wicked” helped me to see the beauty of it.
- What: “Wicked”
- Where: The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
- 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Fla. 33132
- When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 7 p.m. Sundays, through March 29
- Run Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes
- Price: Price range from $49 – $195
- More Info: 305-949-6722 or http://www.arshtcenter.org
- Rating: Five out of five stars