THEATER REVIEW: Wicked @ Academy Of Music



To say that Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz is truly magical is an understatement. This musical is a maze of gloom and light, of hope and fear, of friendship and treachery. It tells a tale of magic and betrayal, of vice and virtue, and plays a spin on the world of Oz that remains truly unforgettable.  The story follows Elphaba, born with skin the color of emeralds and possessing an unusual ability. The product of an affair, her father has always hated her, blaming her for the disability of her younger sister Nessarose and the death of her mother. Now, getting her education at the esteemed Shiz University, Elphaba is tasked by her father to look after her sister, when she accidentally shows a display of magic. This act gains the attention of Madame Morrible, who then decides to teach Elphaba sorcery. Soon she befriends the overly-perky and cheerful Glinda, and when the two of them are offered the opportunity to meet the Wizard of Oz, they set off to the glimmering Emerald City. But lies are waiting under all of the shining green, and when those lies surface, Elphaba’s safety is compromised and what follows is the story of just how she became the infamous Wicked Witch of the West.

The production values of this production cannot be underestimated, for it’s a visual feast that makes the entire experience feel like one is witnessing magic. Although, of course, this magic also lies in the talent of the cast. Jessica Vosk, who plays Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West), breathes life into the role, allowing us to empathize with the character at both her worst moments and her best. Ginna Claire Mason, who plays the bubbly Glinda (the Good Witch), gives the show an uplifting and cheerful protagonist who evened out Elphaba’s pessimism, and gives the two of them a wonderful sister-like dynamic. The excellent cast in both the main and side characters only help to reinforce its magical atmosphere. Real talent in this and any show, however, lies in the voices of the actors, and the cast never failed to enchant the audience with booming voices and soaring melodies. Songs such as ‘Defying Gravity’ or ‘For Good’ added the Midas touch to an already-perfect musical. Playing on timely themes (such as how everyone feared Elphaba due to her green skin and how everyone believed that animals should be seen and not heard), Wicked inspires and makes you feel for the characters. A talented, inspired cast, songs that will get stuck both in your head and your heart, and beautiful and elegant sets render this show an unforgettable experience. — CHARLIE C.