The mega-musical “Wicked” might have received some mixed notices when it first opened on Broadway in 2003, but now, after over 3,700 performances in New York and countless more in touring companies around the world, audiences have ordained “Wicked” as one of the most successful musicals ever produced, and for very good reason. Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman have crafted a show that manages to relate to audiences on so many levels, you could make the argument that it is perhaps the best-loved musical of its era.
Based on the novel by Gregory Macguire, “Wicked” is the back story of “The Wizard of Oz.” For starters, it is immensely theatrical. From every production value you can imagine, and some you probably couldn’t until you see the show, “Wicked” is a masterwork of staging and creativity. It is the kind of production that challenges itself on every level and succeeds brilliantly.
Casting is always a strong point of this production and in this visit, it is exceptional as well. Christine Dwyer as Elphaba carries the role with a wonderful voice and strident, authentic strength of character.
Jeanna de Waal as Glinda is sweet, funny and full of feeling when it is needed. The performance chemistry between she and Dwyer is genuinely winning.
Supporting and ensemble casts member are all outstanding, especially Jay Russell as Dr. Dillamond, Billy Harrigan as Fiyero and Paul Kreppel as The Wizard.
“Wicked” is a musical that is moving, amusing, exciting, funny and heartfelt. Subtexts abound. There are so many elements that can relate to almost any audience member about instances in their own stories that in many ways “Wicked” becomes a reaffirmation of life. And by the way, the 14 piece orchestra, under the baton of Valerie Gebert, and including 9 local musicians, makes the music soar. “Wicked” will be on stage at The Fox through January 6.