“Wicked” opened this week at Shea’s in Buffalo (read the review at niagara-gazette.com/nightandday) and, I have to say, it was good – even for a non-musical fan such as myself.
The story was interesting, the performances were spectacular and the way everything tied in to “The Wizard of Oz” was complete and clever (the musical, for the uninitiated, tells how each of the characters from the original film came to be; you meet the flying monkeys before they have wings, for example – and no, they didn’t drink Red Bull).
Carmen Cusack as Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, might be the best single performer I’ve ever seen on the Shea’s stage. I am not the type of person to pop in showtunes on a road trip, but her voice was more powerful than any spell her character could cast. She was quite good in her non-singing parts, as well.
The scenery was nice, but not as captivating as people have said (my wife disagrees). The writing was excellent, with everything tying in nicely and a few nods to the original drawing solid laughs (at one point, for example, Elphaba returns to visit her sister and gives her reason as, “There’s no place like home”).
The show continues through July 13, and seats are available for the July shows; a lottery will also precede every show where you can get $25 tickets. Visit sheas.org for details.
Even without the discount, though, it’s worth the trip to see it. I haven’t seen “The Wizard of Oz” since before my teen years began, but seeing “Wicked” brought back memories of the movie, and I can still remember most every detail.
The musical is different from the book, I hear (didn’t read it), so don’t get caught up in the comparison game. Take the musical for what it is on its own – excellent.