Sunday, January 25, 2009

Actually, I Do Mourn the Wicked

Wicked closed in Chicago today after 1,500 shows. 1,500 shows! In a city that is not exactly known for theatre, although they say that the theatre district is "emerging." We do have some beautiful theatres here, including the Oriental Theatre, where Wicked has lived since July 13, 2005.

I first saw it in summer 2006 with my mom--her traditional birthday present to me. Every summer since 2005, we've seen a show together. In '05, it was Lion King, Wicked in '06, The Color Purple in '07, and Jersey Boys just a few months ago. We've also seen Les Misérables in Chicago within the past 6 or 7 years, and I saw Phantom of the Opera in '04 or '05. So it's not like we see every show that comes to Chicago, but I've seen quite a few, and although Les Mis remains my favourite musical, I think that Wicked is my favourite production.

I had the lucky opportunity to see Wicked twice this month, since my friend Alana came to Chicago for it. She's a big fan. We won the ticket lottery before the show on her first night in town and got to see the show from limited view seats in the front row for just $25 each. For an incredible night of music and theatre, what a deal! I was so impressed with Annaleigh Ashford, who was Chicago's final Glinda, and probably its best. She's hilarious, adorable, and has an incredible range--the most essential qualities for Glinda. Although Kristin Chenoweth, who originated the role, is a sentimental favourite of mine, I think Ashford is a close second. Dee Roscioli carried the role of Elphaba for Chicago for some time through to the closing, and she has such a beautiful voice.

As with all musicals, there's an element of cheesiness and predictability, but I really credit the writers for taking a rather cumbersome and overly political book with a cool concept and turning it into a blockbuster show.

And "For Good" never fails to make me cry.

Good news, though. Wicked is still touring (now on two national tours, plus productions in New York, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and probably somewhere else I've forgotten), so be sure to catch it if it stops near you. Even though I've seen it three times now, I'd jump at the chance to see it again.


  1. I vote Chenoweth for the film adaptation. I don't care how old she is. And I want Baz Luhrmann to direct. He's from Oz, after all...

  2. I never got a chance to see it! Sad.