Being ‘Wicked’ Never Felt This Good Before

Graig Agop

Tantric primate pandemonium comes to a haunting climax as the gate to the mystical Emerald city unlocks, keep in mind, something bad is happening in Oz.

“Wicked” is the untold story of Glinda the Good and Elphaba the Wicked Witch’s rich, compelling, dramatic, and witty journey to meet the wizard, but all is not what it seems, as the pages of the Grimmerie collect the audience will see there are two sides to every story.

The production comes to a striking open with an explosion of streamers and the distinctly eclectic, rustic and gloomy ensemble composed of citizen witch hunters, armed with weaponry as sharp and powerful as their vocals in “No One Mourns the Wicked.”

Then florescent lights enchant the audience as the glittery and positively shimmering Glinda “The Good” makes her dramatic bubbly entrance from the skies, and the story starts.

“Wicked” illustrates the rise and fall of the misunderstood Wicked Witch. When she is faced with reality, she must decide whether to stand up for what she believes in or turn her back and take pleasure in her unjust glory. Taking place prior to and during the classic motion picture “The Wizard of Oz.”, “Wicked,” written by Winnie Holzman is based on the novel by Gregory Maguire and it takes a hilariously clever turn in the hands of playwright Stephen Schwartz.

The witty Erin Macky takes a distinctive approach to bringing the giddy Glinda Upland to life, particularly in the delightfully ditsy “Popular.”

“No Good Deed” showcases the immense voice inside the glorious talent that is in Elphaba, played by Teal Wicks. They will both have you by the heart and thinking in green after the humorously catchy “What Is This Feeling?”

As the pages turn, your eyes will stop at the hypnotizing conclusion to “Defying Gravity,” which is with no doubt one of the most visually astonishing moments in theater. It will literally take your breath away. The visuals are so overpowering and stimulating that it will leave you at a daze at intermission and you will agree that Wicks was born to fly.

John Rubinstein is marvelous as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and his sidekick, the fabulous Madame Morrible, played by Jo Anne Worley, is a pleasure to loathe. Munchkin lover Michael Drolet as Boq and the comical and arrogant Derrick Williams as Fiyero were gratifying, but the ensemble was a standout.
Must-see does not begin to describe this mesmerizing theatrical experience. There is no excuse not to take that trip to Oz and enthrall yourself with this gender and age neutral timeless masterpiece that is simply a gift to your senses.

The pleasantly outrageous and lively inventive costumes by Susan Hiferty are ingenious. The vibrant vivacious and spectacular layers upon layers of non-stop set transitions designed and brought to life by Eugene Lee and Edward Pierce are top-notch. The live orchestras lucid and sharp sound is harmonious perfection.
These factors are only a few of the bricks that construct the yellow brick road to this “Wicked” sensation that will have you back at the Pantages Theatre for more fun and laughs.

See all the pieces skillfully come together in the fight for what is good. “Wicked” runs at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood until Jan. 11 of 2009. Make sure the first time you experience “Wicked” won’t be your last.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars