So, we went to see Wicked at the Hobby Center and it was - Ah May Zing!! Buffy and I went with our friends Ginger and MaryAnn. We had a blast. My face hurt from smiling so much.
First let me say that I love the Hobby Center and their Access Team. If anybody in your group has mobility issues, these wonderful volunteers in yellow shirts - they've got you. They can provide a wheel chair and a volunteer to whisk you away to your seat - no problemo. No charge either. Without them, my arthritic knees and I would have had a tough time navigating the steps and crowds.
Anyhoo - back to Wicked. It was truly awesome! The production was stunning - visually a sight to behold. The sets had a turn of the century industrial look, lots of gears and clockwork. (Note: I mean the turn of the Century from 1899 to 1900, not the year 2000). The costumes were similarly Steam Punkish but with a bit of a Hunger Games Capital City vibe. Amidst all that, the Emerald City did not miss out on the Art Deco feel of the classic Wizard of Oz movie. All these styles combined to make the magical world of Oz come to life.
But what really brought it life was the performances. The two leads were perfect in their roles. Emily Koch as Elphaba has a powerful singing voice and gave an equally intense performance as everybody's favorite green witch. She brought an inner strength to Elphaba, making her more complex than just a nervous college freshman who didn't fit in.
Glinda, or Gah-Linda with a Gah, as she kept correcting everyone, was adorable and funny but no less complex. Expertly played by Amanda Jane Cooper, Glinda transformed from a "popular" blonde college cutie to a government official dealing with a myriad of contradictions. She is a friend to Elphaba but also has a public persona in opposition to the "Wicked" witch.
Madam Morrible was delightfully horrible. She looked like the original illustration in Alice in Wonderland of the Duchess. This formidable villain was played by Wendy Worthington. Jake Boyd played the dashing, handsome Fiyero, the subject of the main love triangle in the play.
Yes, there's a love triangle, actually two if you count Boq and Nessarose. There's lots of other excitement, magic and flying monkeys - but the underlying theme is the unlikely friendship of these two powerful women, which grows stronger as the story unfolds.
Years ago I did read the book that this play is very loosely based on, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. Let me just say, the Musical is better. The plot is very different from book to play, a lot was changed.
Go see Wicked - it's in Houston through August 14. You'll be glad you did.
PS - Prior to the start of the play, a voice will come over the sound system, advising you to turn off your phones etc. You will also be given a verbal warning to unwrap your candy prior to the start of the performance. I always get a kick out of these warnings. I never realized that people unwrapping their candy during a play was such an annoyance for others. If you were at the Alley Theatre - you would receive a written warning at the bottom of the program - like this: