Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Approaching One Year, Chicago's Wicked Continues to Captivate
Nearly one year ago, immediately after the touring company of Wicked blew through Chicago, a sit-down production with all the gusto of the original replaced it at the ornate Oriental Theatre. Key casting included Kate Reinders as Glinda, Ana Gasteyer as Elphaba, Kristoffer Kusick as Fiyero, Gene Weygandt as the Wizard, Rondi Reed as Madama Morrible, Telly Leung as Boq and Heidi Kettering as Nessarose.
While Reinders, Gasteyer and Reed have departed -- Reinders will soon take her Glinda to Broadway's Gershwin Theatre and Gasteyer is now part of Broadway's The Threepenny Opera -- I'm pleased to note that their replacements (Stacie Morgain Lewis, Kristy Cates and Carole Shelley, respectively) are outstanding, and in the case of the new Glinda, she's, well, quite popular. When returning to Wicked just over a week ago, I was awed by Lewis' downright giddy and gleeful portrayal of Glinda The Good. But I was also impressed by her strong vocal performance as well. Cates, who has also appeared as Broadway's Elphaba, brought the house down with her rendition of "Defying Gravity." It was especially delightful to see Shelley, who originally created the role of Madame Morrible on Broadway two and a half years ago.
The production has not lost any of its wonderfully Wicked ways, save for the surprisingly poor pacing provided by Timothy Britten Parker's Doctor Dillamond. What struck me more profoundly than in previous viewings are the subtle political allegories to the times we live in, and perhaps this show was years ahead of its time.
Overall, Wicked is still going strong in Chicago, and if my audience was any indication, the musical fantasy continues to perform before sold-out crowds there, just as it is on-tour and on Broadway. I continue to enthusiastically recommend this musical.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Click here for Wicked (Chicago) tickets.
Wicked Becomes Broadway's 8th Overall Cumulative Grosser Among Current Hits (June 2, 2006)
Flashback: Best of 2003-04 (May 25, 2006)
Wicked's West End Witches Update (May 17, 2006)
Worldwide Wicked Casting News (May 5, 2006)
Encore: Spotlight Week Ending April 30, 2006 (April 30, 2006)