Witches of WICKED are still POPULAR in Cleveland

The witches of WICKED are back in Cleveland, bringing with the them magic of Oz (before Dorothy arrived), now through December 3 on the KeyBank State Theatre Stage at Playhouse Square.

Wicked
Ginna Claire Mason as Glinda and Company of Wicked (photo by Joan Marcus)

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman, the story is one for all ages, with stunning visuals, amazing vocals, vibrant characters, memorable songs, and a story that hits everything from family loyalty and fair treatment of animals, to doing the right thing and finding your heart’s desire.

Wicked
Harry Bouvy as Doctor Dillamond (right) and company of Wicked (photo by Joan Marcus)

As asked by a girl in the beginning of the show: “Glinda, why does wickedness happen?”

Glinda (Ginna Claire Mason) responds, “That’s a good question. One that many people find confusifying: Are people born Wicked? Or do they have Wickedness thrust upon them?” And that’s what she struggles with as the story unfolds.

Elphaba (Mary Kate Morrissey) is born green, and is immediately misunderstood and feared. As she jokes early in the show, “I don’t cause commotions, I am one.” Her younger sister Nessarose (Catherine Charlebois) is born NOT green – she is traditionally beautiful, but is confined to a wheelchair, as her legs didn’t form correctly before birth.

Mary Kate Morrissey as Elphaba - photo by Joan Marcus
Mary Kate Morrissey as Elphaba in Wicked (photo by Joan Marcus)

Elphaba spends her years caring for Nessarose until they end up together at Shiz University, kind of like the Hogwarts of Oz, if you will. There they meet slightly terrifying headmistress Madame Morrible (Isabel Keating), likeable Munchkin Boq (Robin De Jesús), animal Professor Dr. Dillamond (Harry Bouvy), and Elphaba’s unwilling roommate, the “Popular” Glinda.

The National Touring Company of Wicked_(Photo by Joan Marcus 2015)
The touring company of Wicked (photo by Joan Marcus)

Handsome Fiyero arrives, almost knocking Elphaba off her feet… then proceeding to sweep Glinda off of hers.

Although they loathe each other immediately upon meeting, a dance at a party causes Elphaba and Glinda to see each other in a different light. Elphaba becomes Glinda’s project of sorts, and the two begin a friendship that will be “For Good.”

What tears the new friends apart are their reactions to what is happening to all the animals in and around Oz – the animals are losing their ability to speak! And some in the Land would like to see their majestic friends in cages. The higher ups in the government would have people believe that it’s for the good of all humans. Misinformation seems to be everywhere. And only Elphaba seems outraged over the animals losing their rights and their freedoms.

Wicked
Isabel Keating as Madame Morrible in Wicked (photo by Joan Marcus)

We then meet The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Tom McGowan) and find that he is not as Wonderful as his full title makes him seem. Although he is very charming and seemingly good-natured, it turns out he’s assisting in the repression of the animals, and wants the people to believe in the mis-direction.

“The truth isn’t a thing of fact, or reason. It’s simply what everyone agrees on…” and “Where I come from, we believe all sorts of things that aren’t true. We call it history,” says the Wizard of his falsehoods.

Original_Broadway_Company (5)
Original Broadway Throne Room for Wicked

Elphaba is not having it! But who will join her in her fight for the truth? One must see the show for that inspiring answer.

The visually stunning set is crowned with a giant metal dragon affixed above the proscenium, staring down with it’s red, glowing eyes throughout the show. The backdrops of clocks and classrooms, stars and throne rooms are engulfed in hazy lights that transport audience members to another realm. Whimsical costumes and beautiful choreography are a feast for the eyes.

The_Broadway_musical_Wicked
Broadway’s Wicked

The cast and orchestra are musically incredible, with the leads of Mason and Morrissey killing every note. Mason’s soprano register is amazing, while her spunk mixes sparkle and amusement into the character of Glinda. Morrissey’s belt range is enthralling, and her tenacity makes Elphaba heroic.

The acting is on point, and the direction is seamless. The show is fun, fast-paced, exciting, and heartfelt. There might be some who point out that the musical version of WICKED takes away some of the important nuances of the original books, but this powerhouse of a production stands on its own with its own authority and truth.

WickedMichael Campayno
Ginna Claire Mason as Glinda in Wicked (photo by Joan Marcus)

Do not miss this enchanting story – and you can decide for yourself who is truly Wicked. WICKED is “Defying Gravity” now through December 3, 2017 at the KeyBank State Theatre at Playhouse Square. Tickets are available online at playhousesquare.org, by phone at 216-241-6000 and in person at the Playhouse Square Ticket Office (1519 Euclid Ave.). Groups of 15 or more, please call Group Services at 216-640-8600. #WickedCLE #BWYinCLE

One thought on “Witches of WICKED are still POPULAR in Cleveland

  1. I have seen this musical four times-1x (the first time) in 2006 at the age of 12 on Broadway and 3x on tour in Charlotte, North Carolina. This musical was how I began to understand the emotional and complex side of musicals. I love how the overall core of this story is friendship. The love triangle is fascinating to watch because I feel like this is the most complex and fascinating love triangle in the musical world. The musical carries my vision of musicals perfectly: home to spectacle and dance, comedy, positive and negative emotion in the score, romance and a strong emotional connection

    Liked by 1 person

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