Quote of the Day: Now the 5th longest-running show in Broadway history, WICKED is the winner of over 100 international awards including the Grammy Award and three Tony Awards. Since opening in 2003, WICKED has been
performed in over 100 cities in 16 countries around the world (U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland,
Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, The Philippines, Mexico, Brazil,
Switzerland and China) and has thus far been translated into six languages: Japanese, German, Dutch,
Spanish, Korean and Portuguese. WICKED has been seen by over 60 million people worldwide and has
amassed over $5 billion in global sales. 
Press release for Wicked, on tour at the Orpheum in Minneapolis, MN through August 28, 2022.

Lissa deGuzman as Elphaba and the Company in the National Tour of WICKED, photo by Joan Marcus

Back in the early 1990’s a children’s book author and teacher, Gregory Maguire, wrote a book telling the story of Oz from a different point of view, that of the “Wicked Witch.” In it, he explores what was happening on the other side of the pages. Who were the people in Oz? Why was the witch green, and why is she feared? He gave her a name, Elphaba, and a story, one that sparked the imaginations of other creatives, and what evolved is a marvelous theatrical production that is filled with magic, wonder, gorgeous music, and fascinating characters. The show has been going strong since 2003 with so many accolades that I had to include the quote from the press release (above). 

Lissa deGuzman as Elphaba in the National Tour of WICKED, photo by Joan Marcus

I saw Wicked for the first time when it stopped in Minneapolis on its tour in 2017 and sat high in the balcony. Even from the rafters, it was a magical experience. This time, I sat much closer and could see all the facial expressions and gorgeous costumes. I can see why Susan Hilferty won a Tony Award in 2004 for Costume Design. They are spectacular with specific color pallets for the various settings, the school, Emerald City, the inside of the castle, as well as the individual characters. She writes that she gave the lighting designer (Kenneth Posner) a challenge as Elphaba has green skin and wears dark colors including a pointy black hat. In contrast her nemesis turned friend Glinda is very light, blonde, white skin, dresses in yellows, pinks, light blue and white. All this emphasizes the contrast in dark and light, good and evil, perception and reality. Eugene Lee designed an intricate set that represents the school, the city, a castle and the inside of a clock, with a red-eyed Time Dragon Clock who stares down at the audience, or at eye-level if you’re in the balcony, or up for those in the rafters! Honestly, I think the best seats would be front row balcony for Wicked to experience that stare down from the dragon and watch Elphaba rise in her spectacular song Defying Gravity which ends Act I in a goose-bumpy, emotional way. 

Lisa Howard as Madame Morrible and John Bolton as The Wizard in the National Tour of WICKED, photo by Joan Marcus

Wicked is one of my top five favorite musicals, so I’m happy to sing it’s praises. This touring cast is phenomenal and deserves the loud applause after each number and the leap to a standing ovation at the curtain call. I felt all the emotions behind the amazing vocals of Lissa DeGuzman as Elphaba. She’s an outcast from day one, being born with green skin and rejected by her “father.” Jennafer Newberry is bright and shiny as Glinda, and her high notes reached well past those rafter seats and up into the heavens. When these women sang together, their sweet blend of voices gave me goosebumps! 

Jordan Litz as Fiyero in the National Tour of WICKED, photo by Joan Marcus

Jordan Litz as Fiyero captures the audience from the moment he walks on stage, then melts our hearts as he sings and dances to perfection. Seriously, Dancing Through Life suddenly became my new favorite song from this musical. And, yes, I love all the songs, and held back in singing along! I can’t wait to see where his career takes him!

Jake Pedersen as Boq and Kimberly Immanuel as Nessarose in the National Tour of WICKED, photo by Joan Marcus

Jake Pedersen is darling as Boq. Kimberly Immanuel is sweet, but wicked in her own way, as Nessarose. So fun to see John Bolton on stage playing The Wizard. What a great character, a shyster who manipulates a whole country, yet, becomes endearing as he confesses his trickery and helps other characters find their way. Lisa Howard as Madame Morrible is appropriately horrible. She is a fierce presence. Michael Genet plays a doomed scapegoat teacher Doctor Dillamond, whose mistreatment leads to Elphaba taking an unpopular stand at the risk of the community turning on her. The entire ensemble is an absolute joy to watch. They move together like a finely tuned clock, filling in the scenes with eye-popping costumes, each one unique, stellar dance moves (dance arrangements by James Lynn Abbott), gorgeous vocals, and aerobatic moments. 

The National Tour of Wicked will be at the Orpheum, Hennepin Theatre Trust, in Minneapolis, MN through August 28, 2022. Go, see this magical show, if you can. Theatrically, it’s spectacular, and it has a great story about outsiders, how they’re perceived and treated, who defines an action as “good” or “wicked,” friendship, and fighting for what’s right. There are so many layers to this story, and I learn something new every time I experience it.

Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, WICKED has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book
by Winnie Holzman. The production is directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello with musical staging
by Tony Award winner Wayne Cilento. WICKED is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Stage Productions,
The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: Who were the outsiders in your school, or where you grew up? Did you ever consider the situation from another person’s POV?