Wicked flew into town last week amidst a flurry of buzz and hype that seems to follow the show wherever it goes. For weeks the media and social networks had been hyping the first ever appearance of the green-hued Elphaba and her much too nice best friend Glinda on the Dallas Summer Musicals stage. Friends planned trips from far and wide around the metroplex to be able to ensure that they saw the show. Yes, Wicked fever had certainly been caught all across the city. One might think that maybe the hype was a little overplayed, that perhaps the stories people from all across the country had shared about their experiences with this (as some have said) "life-changing" show might be more hyperbolic than truth. If you thought that however...you'd be wrong.
From the opening sequence of "No One Mourns the Wicked," you are instantly grabbed by the beauty of the music and the talent of the cast in this traveling production of a story that continues to sell out at the box office since it first hit the stage in 2003. First, a little recap. Wicked hilariously tells the story of the Wizard of Oz from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the (soon to be) Good Witch. Starting with her childhood as an ostracized and mocked green hued child, the story continues to follow Elphaba through her adolescence and young adulthood where she is continually ridiculed for how different she is. She tries continually to be accepted by both family and friends, but all to no avail. Eventually a series of unfortunate events and a run-in with the Wizard of Oz leave her distraught, ultimately turning her into the Wicked Witch we all know and had nightmares about as a child (what, was that just me?). Don't assume that you know the story, because the show is filled with so many interesting plot turns that even the most die-hard fan of the Wizard f Oz will at times be left speechless. Wicked is a show that grabs you, taking you from a place where you comfortably assume you know the story of Dorothy and her "little dog too," and twists the story and your emotions until it firmly drops you off in a completely new reality, one filled with a new understanding of yellow brick roads, flying monkeys, and would be rulers of magical lands.
If Wicked's opening number was designed to grab your attention quickly, the rest of the show is masterfully built to keep it, not letting you up for a moment until the curtain closes at the end of each act. With brilliant theatricality and a cast that is second to none, Wicked really does reinvent the legend of Oz and places you firmly in it. Chandra Lee Schwartz as Glinda plays an almost spot on representation of what one would expect for the syrupy sweet and blissfully naive Good Witch in training. However, while we have all come to expect the Good Witch to be, well, good, Schwartz does a brilliant job of reinventing the character, adding the additional depth of her competing with and hating Elphaba. Donna Vivino as Elphaba is equally brilliant, making you simultaneously love and hate all that the Wicked Witch is and becomes throughout the story. Her command of her vocal range is unparalleled and leaves the audience breathless and cheering on their feet and out loud at the end of her performance in Act 1. Not to be outdone, everyone- from the Wizard to the supporting cast, brilliantly showcase a level of talent that is nothing short of amazing, and left every member of the audience with chills. The reality is that this review could extend for quite some time, extolling the virtues of the show and gushing endlessly about how great it is. But...the point of this is ultimately to get people out of their houses and into the community to experience life as it happens. So, go to the Dallas Summer Musicals site, and buy your tickets now. Wicked is here through June 27, and tickets vary in price. In addition, DSM is hosting a ticket raffle to get lower priced tickets on certain days for lucky patrons.
Wicked is a story that wraps you up and at the end of it, makes you wish that it were not yet over, that there was one more musical number to hear and one more character to fly overhead. And, while "No One Mourns the Wicked," Dallas will surely mourn this show once it has packed up and flown on to the next city. Don't miss out.
Dallas Summer Musicals Presents: Wicked
Through June 27, 2010
Times and Tickets Vary
The Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Avenue
Dallas, TX 75210