Everything you think you know about Oz is wrong.
If you go into “Wicked” expecting a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz” from a slightly different viewpoint, you’re going to be disappointed.
The Oz presented in “Wicked” is a more sinister place than the one in the “Wizard of Oz”. It’s a place where animals that once could speak are being silenced, the Wizard is a corrupt politician, and the line between good and evil is blurred to the point of nonexistence.
The touring Broadway show, which is playing at the Orpheum until Halloween, is the story of the rise of the two witches of Oz. Glenda, a snotty blond manic pixie, and Elphaba, a smart, brassy outcast with green skin, first meet as college roommates. I don’t want to give too much away beyond that, because one of the great things about the play is how much it messes with the notion of good and evil throughout the plot.
Any girl that’s ever felt awkward or out of place or been told that their ideas aren’t worth hearing will immediately identify with sassy, outspoken Elphaba. Watching her change from an outsidery green girl in gold combat boots into the Wicked Witch of the West is thrilling and continuously interesting.
The show is beautifully produced. The set design and costumes are Steampunk-inspired. There are gears and levers and clocks adorning the stage, and the people of Oz dress in beautiful coats and hats that look like cakes. The fact that the cast and crew can pull off the show’s spectacular special effects on a stage is amazing.
“Wicked” is running at the Orpheum until Halloween. Tickets start at $4o, but there are a limited number of $25 orchestra seats available at every performance by a lottery. To enter the lottery, you have to go to the theater two and a half hours before the performance. Names will be drawn two hours before each show, and tickets are limited to two per person, cash only.
Oct. 13 – 31
203 South Main Street
Memphis, Tennessee 38103