Monday, December 20

Broadway Across America: Wicked

Defying Gravity
Wicked, Broadway Across America's mega show, is Defying Gravity through Jan.1 at Old National Centre, 402 New Jersey. The story, explaining the three witches of the Land of Oz and based on Gregory Maguire's bestseller, which is based on Frank L. Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is attractive to the non-theater crowd as well as the live-theater faithful.

When Elphaba (Vicki Noon), who later becomes the Wicked Witch of the West, arrives in the world with the skin tone of pea soup, her family, already dysfunctional, becomes outright broken. Younger sister Nessarose, (Michelle London), who turns into the Wicked Witch of the East, becomes Daddy's favorite after Mom dies during her birth.

The girls arrive at school (Elphaba is only allowed to attend to care for her wheelchair-bound sibling). A miscommunication results in the unpopular Green Girl being placed in the same dorm room with the head of the Beautiful People. Galinda (portrayed by understudy Rachel Potter), who grows into Glinda the Good Witch, makes her dislike of her roommate known.
The male version of Galinda is Fiyero (Chris Peluso) who comes to terms with the fact that he is more like Elphaba than Galinda. Eventually he has to choose between his heart and following the easy path of compliance.
Fiyero and Elphaba
The audience is taken on an emotional ride with Elphaba's dramatic Defying Gravity and Galinda's hysterically funny solo, Popular. The duo's What is this Feeling? lends voice to the girls' loathing for each other in a way that only the young can...with brutal honesty.

Transportation takes on an important role in this musical with one wicked witch on a scraggly, ugly broom, the other in a dowdy wheelchair, symbolizing each of their hard rides in life. The good witch floats delicately along, inside a beautifully adorned bubble, much as she does throughout her charmed life.

The phony Wizard of Oz traipses to and fro via a hot air balloon, perhaps insinuating he is full of hot air? The once-shallow Fiyero begins with an ornate carriage and ends with him simply walking, relying upon himself for transportation, just as he matures and comes to rely on himself in life rather than going along with the popular crowd.

Bottom Line: With flying witches, talking goats and an emerald-colored city, Wicked gives the aura of a movie set, allowing viewers to be drawn in, imagining themselves in a Hollywood blockbuster.

Review Photos by BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.
 
Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.


WICKED continues at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre through January 1. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com/wicked and broadwayacrossamerica.com, at the Murat Box Office, Clowes Hall Box Office and Broadway Across America office, 342 Massachusetts Ave.,  and by phone at 800-982-2787.

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