I Saw Wicked for the First Time, and It Was Magical

Allison Bailey as Glinda and Talia Suskauer as Elphaba. Photo by Joan Marcus

Wicked is one of the most popular stage musicals of all time ever since its original Broadway production in 2003, raking in over $2.5 billion worldwide. This year, production is underway for a film adaptation starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo. For those still wanting to experience the awe and wonder of Wicked on the stage, it’s currently on Broadway and touring in North America. Recently, we were able to attend the show at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA. It was my first time watching the show, and it was magical and stupendous.

Popular, I see why Wicked is popular.

Wicked is based on The Wizard of Oz and follows the misunderstood “Wicked Witch of the West.” In this version, Elphaba isn’t all that evil. Born with emerald skin, she grows up to be a nerdy young woman, helping those in need and standing up to bullies. She meets Galinda/Glinda, a popular young woman who reluctantly accepts her as a roommate at Shiz University. Elphaba’s future grows brighter when headmistress Madame Morrible takes her in to help train her in the art of sorcery.

Talia Suskauer portrays Elphaba, and she delivers a solid and outstanding performance with a strong singing voice. Allison Bailey as Glinda absolutely shines with her comedic timing and her funny physical movements. It’s a clash between two different personalities, creating a hilarious and tense viewing experience as the two grow fonder.

Allison Bailey & Talia Suskauer in the North American Tour of Wicked. Photo by Joan Marcus

The story is a fun spin on the classic tale of The Wizard of Oz, and there are Easter eggs throughout for fans. Some characters are seen in more of a negative light, and others in more in a positive light. As for Elphaba and Glinda, they are fleshed out with their own reasons for doing what they’re doing. These aren’t the one-dimensional characters many know from the classic film.

The sets and outfits are gorgeous, and there are inventive ways of showing supernatural and magical elements including Glinda floating in the sky and the winged monkeys climbing around. Other than that, the use of magic isn’t the main focus since it centers on Elphaba trying to navigate her university and personal struggles. As a result, special effects are used sparingly, but when they appear, they are a delight.

Final Reaction

Wicked is indeed magical and stupendous, and it’s a fun time at a live theater at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Allison Bailey is truly a standout with her hysterical quirk as Glinda. Talia Suskauer radiates on the stage and delivers a solid performance. The rest of the cast was a delight and the sets were exquisite. The songs are good but aren’t as catchy as I thought they would be. However, it will take some time to grow on me. (“Popular” is an exception.)

The North American Tour is running now until 2023. Cities include Sacramento, Columbus, Boston, Minneapolis, Richmond, Chicago, Orlando, Miami, and Houston. Tickets are available on WickedtheMusical.com.

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