By Chris Heide
Despite the fact that it debuted on Broadway in 2003, Wicked is just as timely, political and relevant as ever. Roaring back into Seattle as part of its current national tour, Wicked continues to demonstrate why it is one of the most famous Broadway musicals of all time.
In terms of technical differences between this production and previous production, there is not much to identify. This production is almost exactly the same as it was two years ago, the last time Wicked came to Seattle. And this makes sense. The familiatory in staging, choreography, set design are fundamental aspects in maintaining the momentum and popularity of a show like Wicked. There is no point in attempting to reinvent the wheel.
Part of the magic of Wicked is the relatablility of the plot. The show does a magical job of trying out difficult political and social questions, all under the guise of a family-friendly pop production. At its heart, the show has one fundamental theme. Is wickedness something that is born or taught? Given our fraught political climate and the divisiveness within our nation, this question seems more pressing than ever.
The show itself is quite ambitious. The book is stuffed with large, show stopping ballads; songs with such dramatic volca range that most known divas would struggle to sing. The set design is glitzzy and colorful, and the choreography is both intimate and bombastic.
As expected, Wicked had nearly pitch-perfect casting. Erin Mackey and Mariand Torres were perfect as Glinda and Elphaba, respectively. Despite the fact that the role of Elphaba is the meatier, more vocally ambitious role, Mcakey’s portrayal of Glinda was actually slightly superior to Torres’ rendition of Elphaba. There is something so mesmerising about Mackey’s impeccable comedic timing that helps elevate Glinda into a scene-stealing tour-de-force. This is not to say that Torres was lacking by any means. Elphaba is one of the most demanding roles on Broadway and Torres absolutely slays the vocals of that character. Her shinning moment comes at the end of the first act. Suspended high above the stage, Torres mstefully executes the demaning vocals of Defying Gravity. It’s a mesmerizing and iconic moment that any diva would dream to recreate
Whether it is your first time or your 12 time seeing Wicked, you will surely not be disappointed, as everyone deserves a chance to defy gravity.