That being said, I need to add that if you’ve seen Wicked on Broadway (or at the Aronoff), you won’t see anything new.
It’s spectacular eye candy. Eugene Lee’s eye-popping, Technicolor scenic design (especially Emerald City) and Susan Hilferty’s zany, over-the-top costumes both won 2004 Tony Awards, and they are just as vibrant on tour. Nothing about Wicked really changes except the performers. In fact, predictability seems to be what keeps people coming back. A middle-aged woman near me bragged about driving from Lexington to see it for the fifth time; she was with a friend who has attended six performances. But teenage girls continue to sustain Wicked’s popularity, flocking to the story of friendship and girl power. They were there opening night and loved it.
Alison Luff and Gina Beck nicely fill the central roles of Elphaba (the “wicked” one, born green but with magical powers) and Glinda (the “good” one, who sparkles but is a major prima donna). Of course, they strive to replicate the performances of Menzel and Chenoweth on Broadway: Luff belts out “Defying Gravity” with emotion, Beck scores with the jaunty “Popular” and they harmonize gorgeously on “For Good.”
If you’ve seen Wicked
before, you won’t see anything new. And that’s what most people want. There’s
nothing disappointing about this production: Audiences come to Wicked because they already love it and
want to see it again (and again). It’s certifiable, guaranteed entertainment.
And that’s what they’re getting.
WICKED, presented Broadway Across America at the Aronoff Center, continues through March 23.