Whenever returning to something held and cherished so dearly in your memory a certain amount of caution comes with it. A touring production of ‘Wicked’ back in 2014 was one the first pieces of theatre I had seen. It was, to this day, one of the most impressionable moments I have ever had at the theatre. How could seeing it again, four years later, manage to even come close to expectations? Well: I tolerated it, I liked it, I loved it!
‘Wicked’, premiered on Broadway in 2003, starring Idina Menzel as Elphaba and Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda. This new production stars Amy Ross as Elphaba and Helen Woolf as Glinda. The pair bring an energy and affection to the roles which is stunning to watch. It won three Tony Awards and six Drama Desk Awards, while its original cast album received a Grammy Award. Since then, it has gone on to become Broadway’s sixth-longest running show.
The show, a type of prequel to ‘The Wizard of Oz’, tells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West — and Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Throughout all the hype around the incredible production values, from the most beautiful and intricately designed costumes to the overwhelming scale and detail of the set, the touching and moralistic narrative of ‘Wicked’ can be easily lost.
Without spoiling too much, ‘Wicked’ is a story as timely today in our Trump-terrorised, Brexit-brainwashing times than ever before. Posing questions around who is put into power, how and why? How does corruption manifest and how do we define Good and Wicked? And, how can operate as individuals within a society and community bigger than us? But it’s also so fun!
‘Wicked’ is truly one of the most magical musicals you could ever see — heartwarming, funny and generously aware of the social-political climate we are living in today. It is an absolute treat to see it.