A simple hat can make quite a statement.
Captivating audiences since its debut in 2003 with its astounding sets, phosphorescent costumes, and multi-faceted story, ‘Wicked’ is a musical spectacle that makes audiences reject those ruby slippers because Oz feels like home. The award-winning musical ‘Wicked,’ presented by Broadway in Boston,’ swept into the Boston Opera House, 539 Washington Street, and will remain there through Sunday, September 15. Visit www.broadwayinboston.com for tickets and more on their stellar season.
From the opening scene as Glinda, played by Jenn Gambatese, floats onstage in a shimmering mass of charming vivaciousness, it is easy to see how Gregory Maguire, author of the best-selling book, ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ has introduced an entirely new way of seeing the beloved story, L. Frank Baum’s ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.’
While staying true to the original work of L. Frank Baum, many parts of ‘Wicked’ turn Oz on its ear in a clever and beguiling way. ‘Wicked’ introduces a darker side to Oz, revealing deep, relatable issues like prejudice and balancing that with hope, love, and moments of welcome humor.
Each character is richly portrayed, equipped with emotional depth and mystery. Jenn Gambatese portrays Glinda with effervescent charm and a classical set of pipes. She takes her signature song, ‘Popular’ by storm. Her infectious smile and her peppy glide across the stage never wear thin. Alison Luff is striking as Elphaba, mysterious and demure as well as stubborn and determined. Her voice masters some of the most challenging scores I have ever heard, most notably in ‘Defying Gravity’ and ‘The Wizard and I.’
John Davidson portrays the Wonderful Wizard of Oz like an everyman’s grandfather, enthusiastic and charismatic, but there is so much more to the man behind the curtain.
A wonderful surprise is Emmy award-winning television star Kim Zimmer, best known as Reva Shane from the historic soap opera, ‘Guiding Light,’ ostentatiously dressed and unrecognizable as the shrewd, powerful Madame Morrible. With every glare and magnificent head toss, Zimmer captures the mysterious grandness of this character, and Zimmer is enjoying every moment.
The scene changes are seamless and astonishing, masterfully transporting the audience to a vast, outrageous new world. Sets change at a swift, but graceful pace revealing an upscale classroom one moment to illuminated moonlight in a courtyard the next. ‘Wicked’ also unleashes brilliant choreography, especially during the catchy tune, ‘Dancing through Life’ a portrait of brilliant colors as students navigate school books beat timed to the music.
The costumes are exotic, quirky, gorgeous, and fanciful. From Glinda’s glimmering ice blue ball gown to each amazing, unique costume in the ensemble, ‘Wicked’ is an mix of bold, eye-popping colors. In fact, the Citizens of Oz possess more shades of green than a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.
See Broadway in Boston’s musical, ‘Wicked’ at the Boston Opera House through Sunday, September 15. Visit www.broadwayinboston.com for ticket information and more on Broadway in Boston’s upcoming season!