After Print - NME News: Even Better the Second Time Around: "WICKED" at Popejoy Hall


There is nothing like seeing the wonderment in a child's eyes when they witness something they waited a long time to see. Last night I got to see WICKED during its second run here at Popejoy Hall. I saw the show the first time around and planned to take my daughter with me, but she got sick and didn't get to see it. Tonight, my 8-year-old got in her favorite party dress and joined me for an evening of light snacks, drinks, and one of the most breathtaking musicals to grace Broadway and the Popejoy stage.

If the set doesn't draw you in immediately, the opening number of No One Mourns the Wicked will. The citizens of Oz singing about the death of Oz's most wanted, The Wicked Witch, sets the stage for an amazing two and a half hours of live theater. Chandra Lee Schwartz in the role as the bubbly and "goodest of the good", Glinda, was impressive, which was only matched with the strength and bravery of the woman in green, Elphaba, played by the awe-inspiring Emma Hunton. The chemistry between these two characters take you on a ride. You feel the "unadulterated loathing" at the beginning of their relationship during What is This Feeling?, but then the moment, which still brings tears to my eyes, when Glinda steps out of the role of "Ms. Perfect" and dances with Elphaba in front of everyone, start a new journey that we all join along with the characters.

Tim Kazurinsky (Saturday Night Live, Police Academy) as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was memorable and the Broadway sensation, Alison Fraser, as Madame Morrible shows why she is a goddess of theater. The boys of Oz, Boq and Fiyero, like everyone in the show, were strong characters and not only helped develop Glinda and Elphaba, but found a change in themselves as well.

Then there's the music, which drives the storyline beautifully. With songs like Popular and Dancing Through Life, you will find yourself dancing in your seat and I don't care how many times you see it, the moment Elphaba flies in Defying Gravity and tells those that have kept her down that she will no longer be held, it is a moment that you will not forget. Of course, For Good brings us back to the relationship of two friends, who you end up rooting for against all odds.

My daughter, with tears pouring down her eyes, reminded me of how I felt when I first saw the show (which still got me the second time around.) WICKED is an emotional roller coaster that you will find yourself wanting to ride again and again. Last night made me think about how live theater is a magical experience. I told my daughter when we walked into the lobby of Popejoy that you will not see Popejoy Hall the same way after watching WICKED. After the show, when the tears stopped, she told me I was right. That theater became a wonderland of characters and scenes that made you forget about everything else in the world and I was happy to experience it again with my little girl. I urge everyone to witness this show. It is an experience you will be glad to partake in.

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