I’ve been to the Pantages, the Dolby Theatre, and a few other small theatres. But nothing like this. Over spring break, I had the amazing opportunity to visit New York. Like the people of Oz, I rejoicified (this is a pun guys, I can spell) when I discovered I would be able to see three shows on the world-famous and glamorous Broadway stages. Of course, I had to begin my experience with the iconic musical, Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre. This show is the prequel to The Wizard of Oz, and it tells the story of the unlikely friendship between The Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch. I absolutely love it. I also saw two other shows, Phantom of the Opera and Six, so stay tuned for reviews of those shows. Without further ado, let’s start this review of Wicked.
Right off the bat, you see the amazing set. The curtain is disguised as a map of Oz. You are immediately drawn to the center of the map where you see a bright flashy green. This is of course the emerald city. Then, at the top of the stage, you see a huge metal dragon! All of this can be seen in the picture above.
Wicked has extremely likable characters. The main two protagonists are Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West, and Galinda, later known as Glinda and Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba is played by Linsay Pearce, and Galinda is played by Brittney Johnson, who actually happens to be the first African American woman to play Galinda. Talk about breaking barriers! It’s ironic, as one of the main parts of the show is Elphaba breaking barriers, or defying gravity. With all the puns I’ve been writing in this article, it’s been difficult to not break out into song.
Elphaba and Galinda both have very nice outfits, all showing their personalities perfectly. Galinda has more detailed and bright clothes, while Elphaba has more simple and dark clothes. The movie, “The Wizard of Oz” has Galinda in a big poofy pink dress, but the musical has her in a blue poofy dress, almost looking like Cinderella! She also has a tiara and a wand that looks like a snowflake. Later, Galinda can be seen wearing many more outfits, but the blue one is her iconic look. However, I must mention her frilly pink dress, as it is the epitome of Galinda: Girly, fun, and bright. Elphaba’s signature outfit is a straight black dress, a classic pointy witch hat, and her iconic broomstick. Like I did for Galinda, I will mention another outfit that epitomizes Elphaba: Her navy blue frock. It shows how Elphaba was a simple girl, only wanting to be normal and fit in.
Images taken by Victor Pack: Left: Elphaba’s frock and Galinda’s frilly dress. Right: Elphaba and Galinda’s signature outfits.
Now, let’s talk music. The musical has some iconic songs, I would say the most famous being “Defying Gravity”. It has some other catchy tunes like “Popular”, “Dancing Through Life”, “For Good”, and “The Wizard and I”. Now, something about songs in Wicked: many of the songs are just there to tell a story, like “Dear Old Shiz”, and aren’t really songs you’d break out singing. Don’t get me wrong, they are all great and I absolutely love them, but I wouldn’t put some on my Spotify playlists.
The actual show was amazing. It had some awesome special effects, like at the end of Act I where Elphaba is flying while wrapping up Defying Gravity, and some pretty neat props like the Wizard’s huge robot head. Awesome backdrops, like the field where Dorothy’s house lands and Shiz University, the school the witches attended. This time, I did take some prohibited photos, however, my sister who recently got a phone has followed my footsteps and also snapped some pretty good shots. I started to become worried we’d get caught, as she was also recording snippets of the show. I admit, I’ve been a bad influence.
Overall, I had a blast watching my first Broadway show. My expectations were exceeded, and I long for the day when I can return. Until then, I will have to listen to the songs and watch pirated recordings of the show. If Wicked ever comes to Los Angeles, or you get a chance to see it elsewhere, I encourage you to watch it. The story is heart-warming, the songs are sensational, and the musical lives up to its name. It’s really wicked.