Thursday, March 01, 2007

For Good: Wicked Wins LA Critical Praise

For Good: Wicked Wins LA Critical Praise

Last week, Wicked officially conquered Los Angeles as the fourth sit-down mounting of the mega-hit musical opened at the Pantages Theatre. Perhaps there's something in Hollywood's water, but the critics largely liked the show.

Noting how this production will be "one tough ticket," the Los Angeles Times' Charles McNulty brilliantly demonstrates a keen understanding for the innate popularity of Wicked in his review -- those insights have proven elusive to countless other critics. McNulty praises the show stating: "The witchcraft is as fresh as it has ever been, thanks to the two splendiferous leads, Eden Espinosa and Megan Hilty....But an even more impressive feat is the way their harmonious incantations redeem the fun of this familiar blockbuster. Who knew the spell could still work so well?...The experience is like stepping back into childhood and being reintroduced to one's earliest friends by a puckish yet psychologically forgiving guide."

Orange County Register's Paul Hodgins also gets why audiences are making it a must-see show: "After barely three years in the public consciousness, Wicked seems poised to replace The Phantom of the Opera as America's must-see musical....Why does everybody like Wicked so much? Because it delivers everything we expect of a big-ticket musical theater experience -- spectacle, anthemic songs, a cathartic story -- and makes the most of an irresistible theme: the indelible bond of friendship....There's an added incentive to see this Wicked. It stars Orange County's Eden Espinosa as Elphaba, the green teen who transforms into the queen of mean. And she's worth the trip."

Laurence Vittes of The Hollywood Reporter declares that Wicked "...scores on virtually all entertainment levels and is everything you would expect it to be.... It's no wonder its run at the Pantages is open-ended....Best of all, every one of the main roles is a tour de force, and each is performed with mostly unforgettable charisma, charm and virtuosity, and lit into with unbridled glee. Hilty's Glinda steals the show."

In his two-and-a-half-star review, Evan Henerson of Los Angeles' Daily News says somewhat derisively: "But you can't loathe something so slick and technically vibrant as this is. All those great voices, all that impassioned singing ... it's like trying to fault Disneyland....Heck, it's no small achievement to get a hungry audience applauding pretty much the second the lights go down. Wicked is nice that way. And it's a hit. Likability sells. Go figure."

With ticket sales going through the roof, it looks like this sit-down production is in for the long haul.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for LA tickets.
Related Stories:
Hollywood Becomes Wicked
Were London Critics Mourning West End Wicked? (September 28, 2006)
West End Wicked Opens Tonight (September 27, 2006)
Wicked Witch of the West End Takes Flight Tonight (September 7, 2006)
Jaaku or Neikan? Wicked Set for Japanese Translation (July 24, 2006)
Five Times More Wicked (July 17, 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)

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At 01 March, 2007, Blogger chumly said...

What is the expected wait for NY tickets?

At 01 March, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...


The wait is not necessarily as long as you might think. Doing a cursory look at what's available via Ticketmaster (the show uses the company as its official online distributor), I plugged in Wednesday, March 7 and found pretty decent seats available in Orchestra Row F for $110. Midweek ticketing is the easiest way to see the show in a short time frame.

If you're looking at a weekend visit, the "easiest" tickets to get are limited-view seats. The production offers a limited number of side orchestra seats that are considered partially limited-view. Available at $55 for all performances. According to the show's site: "In these seats, you will miss sections of the back of the scenic design, however you will not miss the primary action that takes place in the show."

If you don't want to wait that long, be advised that Wicked offers a day-of-performance "lottery" for $25
front-row seats each day at Broadway's Gershwin Theatre. Here's how it works:

Each day, 2½ hours prior to show time (11:30 am for 2 pm matinees; 12:30 pm for 3 pm matinees; 4:30 pm for 7 pm performances; 5:30 pm for 8 pm performances), people who present themselves at the Gershwin Theatre box office will have their names placed in a hat. 30 minutes later, names will be drawn for 28 front-row seats at $25 each. This lottery is available only in-person at the box office, with a limit of two tickets per person, cash only.

Hope that helps!


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