The touring production of the Broadway musical Wicked is in Nashville for 3 weeks straight, playing something like 24 shows, and tickets are now impossible to get hold of. I saw it last night and overall it was pretty spectacular and definitely worth seeing.
Wicked is the story of the witches of Oz, Glinda and Elphaba. It's about how they became witches and got to Oz and met the Wizard, how the Lion and the Tin Man and the Scarecrow came to be. But ultimately it's about power and corrupt leaders and standing up for what is right, even if it means that you're going to be unpopular or even branded as "Wicked".
The two girls who played the leads, Helene Yorke and Marcie Dodd were amazing. Those two have KILLER voices that perfectly blended so that listening to them sing either alone or together was wonderful. There were a couple of times I thought they'd literally blow the roof off of TPAC, they were that good. On Broadway the roles were originated by Kristin Chenoweth (who by the way is AWESOME, I love her) and Idina Menzel and you can definitely feel their influences on the parts.
The sets and costumes were also wonderful, and I was so distracted by the costumes that I really did miss a lot of the story, but I'll get to that in a minute. The costumes, especially for the "Oz-ians" and those flying monkey wings were mesmerizing. There were all sorts of influences from all over the place. The sets were mostly huge gears and set pieces on tracks. It had a really steampunk feel to the whole thing (and I don't really know how to describe that but I'll give it a shot: it's a sort of sci-fi/fantasy subculture that takes a lot of influence from Victorian times or times when steam power was popular- hence "steampunk", and has an industrial/punk vibe- you know it when you see it and it is really REALLY cool). I kept kicking myself for being cheap and getting a ticket up in the balcony because I wanted to see everything better, but I couldn't justify the cost of a $200 orchestra ticket. I wish I could see Wicked on Broadway because I think the show needs a big stage and a big cast to really make it feel as lavish as it deserves to be.
So after all that raving, I have to say that the music and the story were weak. The singing was beautiful, don't get me wrong, but there were only 2 songs I remembered from the entire show once I got in the car. Several of the songs felt like filler while sets or costumes were getting changed around. And the story, while cute, was really predictable. But if you've read this blog for very long you know that I won't let a boring story get in the way if I have good stuff to look at, and this show did not leave me disappointed in that regard.
Here are a couple of youtube clips I found of the two songs I DID actually remember. The first is when Glinda (the blonde, cute, popular, used-to-getting-her-way girl) decides that Elphaba (born green, so everyone is scared of her) is in desperate need of a makeover.
The second song is at the end of Act 1 and it is a total showstopper. Glinda and Elphaba find out that the Wizard of Oz is corrupt and doing everything he can to control Oz so that no one finds out that he actually has no power. Elphaba knows she has to try to stop him, even though she's putting her life in danger. This is the live version from the Tony Awards in 2004.