Wickedly Good – Take Me to Oz!

Los Angeles first encountered Wicked the Musical in 2005 when it broke box office records. It returned two years later for an extended run that lasted two years. Now, Wicked is back at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, and it is so powerful that the magical spell that is casts on everyone will never be broken.  Unlike the movie, The Wizard of Oz, this musical takes us back to a time before Dorothy arrived.  It is a brilliantly imaginative back story that explains how Elfaba came to be the Wicked Witch of the West, starting with the conception that led to her being born green. It follows her relationship with Glinda after they meet at school and a misunderstanding lands them as hostile roommates who eventually become lifelong friends. The mysteries of how there came to be a Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion are revealed, as well as how the flying monkeys got their wings. With elaborate sets and costumers, memorable songs in the score, just the right amount of sentimentality in the plot line, a entire cast that was mesmerizing, and a balanced mixture of singing and spoken dialogue, the hit Broadway musical created a recognizably Wicked world.

As the perfect backdrop for the show, the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles was breathtaking.  Upon entering, I knew I was in Hollywood.  The scarlet red and gold décor was spectacular and there wasn’t a bad, or empty, seat in the house.

The entire cast of the musical is nothing short of amazing! The tone and pitch of the singing and the choreography in the dancing was untouchable. The cast truly brought the story of Oz to life, and it was wicked! Katie Rose Clarke beautifully played the role of Glinda and was one of the highlights of the performance. Her overly dramatic movements reminded me of a Saturday Night Live character and had me laughing with delight most of the production. Kevin McMahon is entertaining as the wonderful Wizard of Oz. The superbly talented Mamie Parris does a great job of interpreting the varied emotions of the unlikely green heroine and her phenomenal voice rung throughout the entire theatre.

The elaborate set and costumes are only a piece of the blocks that complete this yellow-brick-road of success! Make-up designs ensure that these characters are developed down to a art form. The special effects that lit up the stage were unbelievable.  Every piece of the production reiterates why Wicked is getting such rave reviews. With a giant dragon protruding from above a stage strewn with cogs and wheels, a mechanical floating bubble to carries Glinda, and the blinking lights of the giant golden head, the set was fantastic.

Based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked brings lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman.  The musical staging is done by none other than the Tony Award winner Wayne Cilento, and Eugene Lee, with three Tony Awards of his own, was the scenic designer. The entire production is directed by the 2003-2004 Tony Award winner Joe Mantello.

With a running time of 2 hours and 45 minutes, this production is recommended for ages 8 and up, but I have no doubt that anyone who attends will be impressed with this visual spectacle. After all, it has a brain, a heart, and the courage of a lion.

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82 thoughts on “Wickedly Good – Take Me to Oz!

  1. Oh! I have wanted to see this for YEARS!!! Went to Chicago a couple of years ago, and opted to see The Color Purple instead of this. Next time it comes to Atlanta, I will definitely be in the house.

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  2. I’ve seen this twice in the UK and have added wanting to see it a third time to My Bucket List. It really is Wicked, never will watch The Wizard of Oz in the same way again.

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  3. I saw Wicked in London in 2009 and loved it, I would definitely watch it again! A truly brilliant piece, moving and fun, with gorgeous scenery. My favourite song from the set is ‘Defying Gravity’ 🙂

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  4. love theatre-it’s been a while- set design and lighting in Oz 2 and 3 is great! I live in Alberta and enjoyed your Jasper photos and visited the Maritimes as well many years ago-appreciate the beauty right across the country.your adventurous spirit is contagious. Many happy blessings to your family. 🙂

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  5. This Christmas my husband gave me tickets to see it in February and I am so excited! I’ve read the book and loved it. Would you say it was appropriate for a mature 10 year old?

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  6. Wicked is the reason why I’m a Musical-Freak/Addict, have seen this musical a way to often (in Stuttgart, London, New York, Oberhausen… You see I’m a freak) 🙂
    So excited to see it in Denver this year again.
    Glad that you like it

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  7. What a fun blog and a lovely entry! I too love Wicked… so much that I’ve seen it three times already, twice in London in 2011 (both during biz trips) and the 1st time in 2009 in San Antonio. There’s something otherworldly about Wicked with British accents (the Wizard is played by an American while the other castmates are from the UK). We just moved to Germany and I’m wondering if it may be too much for my 3 yr old…

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  8. Half the globe away… and we are watching the same musical! Wicked is now showing in Singapore too! I’ve watched it in Sydney two years back, and am going to watch the Singapore run tomorrow!

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      • I love the show i watched here in Singapore more than the one in Sydney. They are both Aussie casts, but somehow I enjoy it more the second time round. The first time, I was so wow-ed by the set, the production. But this time, I chill more and enjoy the jokes and songs better.

        The theatre in Singapore physically is not as nice as the one you posted! But the sound was good. And yes, most productions here in Singapore are in English. 🙂

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  9. I’m actually going to be out in LA next week and was looking for something to do. This just might be added to the list! Thanks!

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  10. I saw this in Melbourne Australia and loved it! Recommended it to everyone I know. I really like the songs and how the characters developed!

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  11. I saw this last year in London, at The Apollo, and it was superb. I was lucky enough to be part of a singing group at that time and we were performing a medley from the show. Unfortunately, I had to miss the actual performance due to illness but I still adored singing the songs in the rehearsals….I intend to go and see the show again, it is absolutely spell-binding!

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  12. I loved Wicked. I just read your other post about romance being alive in a way you appreciate and last year my man surprised me with Wicked tickets for my birthday. There’s nothing like a man willing to sit through a musical with you to show you how much he loves you (and I think he loved it as well).

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  13. Oh my gosh I loved the show when it came to Tucson! I’d see it again in a heart beat! It was just wonderful and the cast of was out of this world talented and wonderful! It also was cool that someone in one of my online classes was in the cast. So it was cool to “meet” that person in the show. Such a good show!

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  14. My husband and I saw Wicked in Chicago and loved it! Wicked and The Lion King are my two favorite theatre performances so far!! We actually saw The Lion King at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood and you’re right, it’s a great theater.

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  15. I saw this back in 2008 and it’s coming back to the southeast late Spring this year – I want to go see it again so bad! It was the first Broadway musical I’d ever seen and it surely set the bar very high. I thoroughly enjoyed your excellent review. 🙂

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