Soaring "Wicked" Cast Defies Gravity at the Wharton Center
Christine Dwyer as Elphaba defies gravity / Courtesy Photo
Landing at East Lansing's Wharton Center for the Performing Arts and playing through July 8, WICKED is the spellbinding Tony Award-winning musical that tells the story from the perspective of the witches: Galinda - later Glinda the Good - the popular blonde, and Elphaba, the emerald green outcast who isn't as wicked as one might think.
Although the roles of Elphaba and Glinda were made iconic by original Broadway castmembers Idina Menzel (RENT, Enchanted, Glee) and Kristen Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Glee), the traveling Broadway cast brings a piece of the Great White Way to East Lansing - as well as their own take on the Grammy Award-winning music.
As Elphaba, Christine Dwyer shines through the emerald paint and delivers goosebump-inducing versions of the show's most popular songs, including "The Wizard and I" and most notably, the showstopping "Defying Gravity" at the end of the first act.
Dwyer was previously the understudy and standby in the WICKED tour, and also toured as Maureen in RENT - another link to Idina Menzel, who originated the role on Broadway.
In only a few performances with the touring cast as Glinda, Jeanna de Waal has already perfected the giddy girliness of the blonde who learns to use her popularity for good. Show highlight "Popular" displays de Waal's knack for the physical comedy and perkiness required to play Glinda - the "gah" is slient.
The color and vibrancy of the sets and costumes - from the emerald lights of Oz to the school uniforms of Shiz - makes WICKED a full-fledged Broadway show right in mid-Michigan.
As company manager Erica Norgaard told us, the bar for the production value of the tour is set high.
"It's a full-scale Broadway production; there are no shortcuts that are taken. We have huge sets, lights, costumes; the music is great. It's a huge spectacle."
But aside from the spectacle, WICKED is a story of embracing who you are, not judging others, and, ultimately, the power of friendship.
In a show that turns what the audience knows about the wonderful world of Oz onto its head, WICKED is a delight of inside jokes and unexpected paths.
The result? This "untold story of the witches of Oz" makes audiences change their minds about what they once knew of the Wicked Witch and Glinda - for good.
WICKED will be performed at the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts through July 8. Click here for ticket information.
A lottery opportunity is also available for fans to see the show with day-of $25 orchestra seats. Click here for more details on the lottery.