“Wicked” is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz, only told from an alternative perspective. Based on a novel, this show is one of the most popular Broadway musicals today, evidenced by the toothless lady behind me in the balcony saying in a hillbilly accent, “I ain’t never been to nothing like this in my whole life.” No way, Matilda.
But I get why its so popular. It is the classic underdog story but for women. Elphaba, born green and carrying so much shame, is a character that most people can resonate with. Add in some beautiful music, great costumes, and connection to the classic “Wizard of Oz” and it would be shocking if it didn’t do well.
I really enjoyed the show. Mamie Parris, especially, who played Elphaba, had an indescribable charm about her. The rest of the cast were all wonderful, with pitch perfect vocals and excellent dancing. The comedy was well timed and the melodrama was handed out in just the right doses. Is it my favorite show? No, not by a long shot, but I definitely enjoyed it and would love to see it again.
However, if you’ve not seen it or have people in your life that are resistant to the idea of going to a “musical,” then this would be a great introduction to the genre for them because they’ll appreciate the Oz tie ins and the fact that there are Matildas everywhere in the crowd taking it in for the first time.
“Wicked” is playing at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnati until November 26th.