Last night, as I watched Wicked at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati, I was simply stunned by the beauty, richness, and depth of this show. I saw Wicked in Louisville a few years back, and at that time I was caught up in the wonder of the songs that I was so intimately familiar with from listening to the soundtrack repeatedly. Yes, the music is brilliant. Yes, the connections to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are exciting and clever, providing for many “ah-ha” moments. This time though, what really stirred me, was the depth of the story which is so incredibly relevant today. Timeless themes actually. If you haven’t seen it (yet), I don’t want to give anything away, but this beautifully tragic musical highlights, sometimes subtly and sometimes not, themes such as:
- The need to be popular; to be liked
- Creating and then craving a false identity; living behind a mask
- Greed; the desire to be more and have more
- Accepting yourself even if you don’t fit societal norms
- The need to be truly connected to others
- The richness of friendship
- The struggle to overcome difficult odds
- The nature of discrimination
But there are deeper, darker notes that point to the best and worst parts of humanity. So many striking questions that I believe we should be thinking about today. Do humans bond through hatred for a common enemy? Do we search for scapegoats to mask our own weaknesses? Are there people we consider “other than” and therefore not desirable? Honestly, I could go on. Just so powerful!
Luckily, the script is as delightful as it is prudent. It’s as fantastical as it is honest. The performance last night was rich and captivating. From the full, nuanced vocals to the energetic, powerful dancing, this cast had it all. So much to see at one time. The sound effects, costumes, lighting, makeup, and set design all worked together in such an impressive way. I applaud the cast and crew.
You will not regret seeing this one! My face truly hurt from smiling; well, until I hit the parts that made me cry! Normally, I would say I’m #teamelphaba, and I thought her performance was stellar, but I have to say, I think I ended up on #teamglinda last night. Her take on the “good witch” was quirky, awkward, and endearing. I found her truly delightful and engaging. Our Elphaba, a stand-in, captured the thoughtful intelligence and passion of her character. Wicked runs until October, 15th! Grab some tickets and enjoy a night out!
GO THERE (Aronoff)! TRY THAT (Wicked) (and then go back to see other shows)!