Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Theater Review: Wicked at The Morrison Center For The Performing Arts

Last night, my wife and I took a ride that defied gravity in Boise, as Wicked transformed the city into the magical land of Oz. The show was one of the most complete and satisfying musicals I've come across in a long time. Packed with spectacular coups de theatre and magical effects, Winnie Holzman's script keeps the gags coming as it cleverly subverts the film that spawned it.
The story of Elphaba, the titular Wicked Witch in Broadway’s smash hit musical, Wicked, has become as classic and engrained in our hearts as the original story of Dorothy from Frank L. Baum’s source material for the show, The Wizard of Oz. Composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz was immediately inspired to create a musical about Elphaba when he read the novel by Greg Maguire which expanded and twisted the universe and gave us another look into the world many of us grew up reading about and watching in the movies. The musical is a look into the land of Oz before that familiar girl from Kansas and her dog arrived in Munchkinland and shows that in life, not everything is merely black or white – or green!
The production was fortunate to boast a pair of ace leading women in the main roles. As Glinda,  Kara Lindsay delivered a sensational star turn, displaying a crystal-pure voice and sharp comic timing;  Laurel Harris loaned her powerful pipes to the tricky role of Elphaba. Wizard of Oz  fans will be fascinated by all the back stories. They answer, analyze and develop questions including: "Is Glinda really that good?" ... "Where did the flying monkeys come from?" ... "How did the Scarecrow and Tin man come to be?" Built on songs by Stephen Schwartz, the best thing about Wicked is its stars, whose talent casts a powerful spell.

Presented at one of the nation's best venues -- The Morrison Center for the Performing Arts -- the costumes, stage props, actors, music -- everything was top notch. Wicked is a seductive slice of popular entertainment. Thus, it has the potential  to help a younger audience develop  a lasting taste for musical theater. Like any good Broadway musical, it taps into every emotion in the book. The impeccable phrasing and timing combine with surprisingly ingenious humor and a gripping narrative. The play gave the material every chance to shine.

The emerald curtain will continue to rise through May 4, 2014. Wicked is a musical you can take the entire family to.

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