I never understood all the fuss about Wicked. Friends and coworkers gushed with schoolgirl delight when I mentioned that I’d be seeing the long-running blockbuster musical, but I had my reservations (I like stories firmly planted in reality, thank you very much)… but that was until last night.
Earlier this week, Broadway Sacramento gave me a behind-the-scenes-look at the stage setup, but little did I know that I would be completely floored by the musical. This Thursday night, the Community Center Theater transformed into the Magical World of Oz, seamlessly transitioning from the cornfields of Munchkin Land to the Emerald City and back. Full with high flying acrobatics of the witch and flying monkey variety, dazzling lighting, and a parade of glimmering gowns and wigs Ru Paul’s Drag Race contestants would envy, I found myself entranced by the fantasy of it all.
The high production value wasn’t just smoke and mirrors to a lackluster plot – Wicked’s story and lyrics pack a punch! At times silly and other times serious, the musical, based on Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, tells the untold tale of the witches of Oz and asks how wickedness happens. You don’t necessarily need to have read the book to understand the plot, but basic knowledge of The Wizard of Oz will help understand the number of hilarious quips peppered throughout the musical.
Before Dorothy hit the Yellow Brick Road, the Land of Oz was preoccupied with two other “It” girls. The first is Elphaba (a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the West), played by Emma Hunton (a spitting image of Idina Menzel), who is smart, yet misunderstood because of her emerald skin. The other, Glinda the Good Witch (née Galinda), played by the talented Gina Beck, is perfectly perky and popular. Despite their opposing personalities and viewpoints, the two forge an unlikely friendship.
Personal highlights for me included Act One’s closer and the musical’s most noted song, “Defying Gravity” (the stage lighting perfectly capturing Elphaba’s newfound isolation), Act Two’s “No Good Deed”, and the sentimental, “For Good.”
Want to fall under the spell as well? Performances of Wicked at the Community Center Theater are May 28-June 15 on Tuesdays-Saturdays at 8pm and Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. There are two special Sunday evening performances on June 1 and June 8 at 7:30pm.
Tickets availability is extremely limited. A lottery for a limited number of orchestra seats will be held two and a half hours prior to each performance at the Convention Center Box Office. For additional details, visit the Sacramento365.com event page.
***This blog post was written by Sacramento365.com’s Content and Social Media Coordinator, Jamila Khan.