Ten years after debuting on Broadway, the global smash musical phenomenon Wicked shows no signs of slowing down. With two touring productions (aptly named the ‘Emerald City’ and ‘Munchkinland’ tours) making their way across North America, along with long-running engagements in several major cities across the world, people can’t seem to get enough of the untold story of the two Witches of Oz. I was fortunate enough to be invited by Broadway Across Canada to see a performance by the Munchkinland Tour in Vancouver. So after all these years, is Wicked on tour still worth your green, or is it dated and need to be whisked away by a tornado? Read on!
The Good: Wow. Now this is what defines a stage spectacle! Even on tour, this production does not skimp on the staging and special effects. The costumes are radiant, and the sets are jaw-droppingly gargantuan. The ensemble is solid in both vocals and movement, and the supporting cast is more than adequate. But the true standout of this production was Laurel Harris as the misunderstood green girl, Elphaba. From her first song “The Wizard and I”, her vocals left my jaw on the floor. Harris exercised much vocal precision and control in addition to sheer power; her showstopping “Defying Gravity” and “No Good Deed” are not to be missed. (Side note: I have seen ‘Wicked’ three times, and by far, this was my favourite Elphaba). Not to be outdone by her green counterpart, Kara Lindsay was truly hilarious as the effervescent blonde Glinda, and her comedic timing was truly remarkable. Harris and Lindsay truly make a great pair on stage, and the chemistry between them was undeniably magical.
The Gay: Well, it’s undeniable that this show has a huge gay following, and I know all you Wicked fanboys will be in the audience at some point, singing along and wishing it was you up on that stage wearing a ton of green makeup (don’t deny it; you know it’s true!). It was delightful seeing those gorgeous ensemble boys prance around in those tight Ozian pants! Speaking of tight pants, the dashing Matt Shingledecker as leading man Fiyero sure had a cute booty!
And those costumes! Gurl! They were truly fabulous. It was like a drag queen’s wet dream! Pure opulence.
The Bad: Well, not really too much to say. There were some sound issues in the beginning where the leads were being blasted out by the ensemble, but that soon got rectified by the middle of Act One.
The Fugly: Hmm, I dunno if this is fugly as it is lusty, but the “As Long As You’re Mine” scene between Elphaba and Fiyero was steamy! I’m pretty sure there was some on-stage groping going on! Ok, I need a cold shower.
Wicked- Go green or go home?: Well, whether you like it or hate it, this show truly is spectacular. Heck, if you’re yearning to go see the show in New York or London, save yourself the trip and see it when it comes rolling into town. The touring productions exhibit just as much lavishness and production value as their big city sitdown counterparts, and you probably have a better chance at scoring excellent seats than you would on Broadway. And if the Munchkinland Tour visits your neighbourhood, don’t miss Harris as Elphaba; she is truly radiant. So fly! Fly! Fly, my pretties, and go see Wicked!
For more information about Wicked and other touring productions please visit:
Broadway Across Canada – www.broadwayacrosscanada.ca
Broadway Across America – www.broadwayacrossamerica.com