News Column

'Wicked' casts its magic spell on audience at Stranahan

August 16, 2013


Aug. 16--Wicked wowed a full audience with magical music and visual effects at the Stranahan Theater on Thursday night.

As the play opens, Glinda (Hayley Podschun) confirms the Wicked Witch of the West's death and the production unfolds as a flashback about how the two came to know each other.

The Good and Green met when they arrived at Shiz University. The daughter of the Munchkin governor, green-skinned Elphaba (Jennifer DiNoia), was sent to school to keep an eye on her fair-skinned younger sister Nessarose (Jenny Fellner) who uses a wheelchair.

There is friction between the two at first, then a competition of sorts as they share an interest in the popular prince Fiyero (David Nathan Perlow), who turns out to be much deeper than his deep pockets and good looks. From there, the musical twists and turns, surprising the audience.

The cast dazzled in beautiful costumes and stunning sets and special effects. Even with a sound system that rendered some lyrics incomprehensible, the vocal performances soared, entertaining an audience that applauded thunderously after each scene.

Wicked is thought provoking as commentaries built into the plot touch on modern-day topics such as discrimination, oppression, bullying, and political corruption.

The play answers questions that the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz left lingering -- such as how the scarecrow became a scarecrow and how the monkeys came to fly -- and does it with flair.

The brilliance of Wicked is that is explores serious topics in a thoroughly entertaining way while still touching both the heart and the mind.

The production is based on Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel,

Since its Broadway opening in 2003, it has been wildly successful, bringing in more than $3 billion in ticket sales and viewed by more than 35 million people worldwide.

It won the 2004 Tony Awards and was nominated for 10 of the coveted trophies and winning three: Best Actress in a Musical (Idina Menzel for her role as Elphaba), Best Scenic Design, and Best Costume Design. The original cast recording won the 2005 Grammy for Best Musical Show album and went double platinum in 2009, with 2.5 million copies sold.

Seven productions of Wicked are being staged worldwide, including two national tours and more than 4,000 Broadway performances. When it was at the Stranahan in 2010, most of the 24 shows sold out or were near capacity.

"Wicked" runs through Sept. 1 at the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. Performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, with another matinee at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Ticket prices range from $38 to $128. Information: 419-381-8851, , or .

Contact RoNeisha Mullen at: or 419-724-6133.


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