If having 50 major awards to its name (including three Tony Awards and a Grammy) isn’t enough to convince you that “Wicked” is worth seeing, perhaps the declaration by Variety of this extremely popular musical being “a cultural phenomenon” might. Or the fact that Entertainment Weekly touts it as “the best musical of the decade”.
Surely, its accolades are impressive, but considering this is the fourth tour stop in Minneapolis for this Broadway blockbuster since 2006, the show seemed fresh and even more captivating this time around. Playing at the Orpheum Theatre until Sunday, October 27th, Tom Hoch, Hennepin Theatre Trust’s President and CEO, expects another successful run, saying “Wicked’s track record at the Orpheum has been spectacular. Few shows generate such repeat and fervent enthusiasm!”
For audiences who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing “Wicked” before, you will enjoy this enchanting backstory to the beloved tale of the “Wizard of Oz”. Learn how the smart, strong-willed and green-skinned Elphaba (played by Alison Luff) becomes unlikely friends with the peppy and popular (although dim-witted) Glinda (played by Jenn Gambatese). Through a series of challenges and complexities, the girls are forced to decide what is worth fighting for in life. As the Wizard (played by John Davidson) puts it, “The best way to bring folks together is to give them a really good enemy”. Elphaba becomes that enemy in the Land of Oz, and so the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good are born.
The cast of this production of “Wicked” is thick in talent. It’s easy to root and sympathize with Luff’s misunderstood outcast Elphaba. And while you laugh at the vapid cluelessness and vanity of Gambatese’s Glinda, you still find her endearing as well. The powerhouse voices and comedic timing from these ladies makes me want to give the casting team a round of applause. You’ll also see some familiar faces from television in the rest of the “Wicked” line-up, all doing stellar jobs as well. Emmy Award winner Kim Zimmer (from “Guiding Light”) takes on the role of delightfully nasty Madame Morrible. John Davidson (from “That’s Incredible” and many game and talk shows) plays the cunning Wizard with ease. Curt Hansen (familiar to the younger crowd from Nickelodeon’s “Big Time Rush) tackles the character Fiyero with an arrogant charm.
Once the whole 2-hour and 30-minute show is done, you’ll think of the story of Oz in a whole new way and finally be able to answer those long-held, pressing questions, like: “How the heck did that house land on that witch?” “Why does the Tin Man have no heart?” And “What’s up with the flying monkeys?”
Performance dates for Wicked are Wednesday, Sept. 18 through Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. Tickets for “Wicked” are on sale now and start at $49 (subject to change) depending on performance time and seating preference. Tickets may be purchased in person at the State Theatre Box Office (805 Hennepin Avenue, Mpls., 55402), online at HennepinTheatreTrust.org, through Ticketmaster by calling 1.800.982.2787 or visiting a Ticketmaster Outlet Center. Groups of 15 or more should call 612.373.5665 or contact MinneapolisGroups@broadwayacrossamerica for information and reservations.
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