Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wicked - Paramount Theater

Wicked has graced the stages of countless cities and theaters across the nation, and now has arrived in Seattle. It is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West as told through they eyes of Gregory Maguire (author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, mirror mirror and Son of a Witch) then adapted by Stephen Schwartz (creator of Godspell, Pippin and Children of Eden). Since Wicked's debut in San Francisco in mid-2003 it has moved its way straight to the top of every chart. When it hit Broadway in late 2003, it captured the hearts of the entire nation, winning ten major awards including Best Actress in a Musical (Idina Menzel), Best Scenic Design (Eugene Lee) and Best Costumes (Susan Hilferty).

Now the tour has found its way to Seattle, and what a tour it is! This production can easily boast some of the most impressive designs and performances that I've seen yet in Seattle. The cast carrying the show are as tight as can be. Megan Hilty and Shoshana Bean as Glinda ("the Gaaa is silent") and Elphaba (The Wicked Witch) carry their roles and each other with such grace and power that the audience can hardly remain seated or be capable of standing. The characters come to life so readily that one feels one is in Oz. Surrounding the poster witches are a cast of incredibly talented actors including, but of course not limited to, Sebastian Arcelus as the love interest, Fiyero, Josh Lamon as the love interested, Boq, and Jennifer Waldman as Elphaba's sister, Nessarose. The power of these characters comes through the actors in such a real way that it is hard to believe they aren't them, themselves.

Joe Mantello, the director of Wicked, has proved himself once again after many past awards and grand successes. His direction of this tour of Wicked along with the production staff's capable designs and the abilities of the actors and orchestra have created a wonderful work of theatrical art. Eugene Lee's scenic design has stuck with the show through all of its tours and mounts. His adaptation of the Time Dragon Clock gives the audience who knows the Gregory Maguire novel an added level in the show.

All things considered, this show embodies what musical theater truly is. It is an escape from the mundane reality of life, it is a celebration of music and acting and it is truly a Wonderful Wizard of Art.

Wicked will be running through October 1 at the Paramount Theater.

Return to Seattle

Dear Readers,

I am now back in Seattle and back on the hunt for good theatre. I have begun my quest (see next post) and will continue through the beginning of December when I will take a one-month leave of absence and return in January until early June. Until then, read on and enjoy the wonderful world of Theatre!

Nigel Andrews