How often is it that you find a musical that interests nearly everyone that you know? I would say that it’s not too often. This can be for a number of reasons. People may not engage well with the story. They may not like musicals in general. However, I found “Wicked” to certainly be the exception to all of this. We attended “Wicked” on Thursday, July 28 at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I went into this knowing nothing about it, aside from the “Wizard of Oz” story and that it was about the Wicked Witch of the West. I feel like my husband possibly knew less, but that may not be entirely true.
This was the first time I had attended a live event since February of 2020, so it was really odd for me. That wasn’t due to fear of things, simply because I was so used to living without live events, that it didn’t happen until now. I have been wanting to see “Wicked” for decades, being a big fan of “The Wizard of Oz”. So regardless of what was going on, I was going this time around. I have to say, it was really crazy being around so many people in one place again. I sat and took that in prior to the start of the show while my husband got drinks. What got me was the demographic of the audience. There was no typical demographic. It was all across the board. There were people of all ages, men, women, everyone. We were sitting next to this little boy, Stanley, and his mom and he was super excited about the show.
Seeing children excited about this show is something else that got to me. So many of us remember when they used to play “The Wizard of Oz” on television every Thanksgiving. They don’t do that anymore and it was nice to see that the love of that story was still with children of today. I was beginning to worry that it was becoming lost and it’s such a good tale.
From the first number, “Wicked” kept my rapt attention. It was evident as to why people had seen this so many times. Prior to the showing, I overheard the audience saying that this was their fifth, twelfth, even twentieth time seeing it. It takes a lot to keep that many people coming back to the same show over and over again. “Wicked” certainly held to that standard with its amazing cast, the vocals, choreography, and the downright love of the source material.
As someone who had never seen this, I have to say that the ties to “The Wizard of Oz” are so fun. Whether it be the inclusion of the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow, or the simple line of “Careful dear, you musn’t get wet,” to Elphaba. I’m a total sucker for things like that.
I have to say, for a musical that brought in a lot of children, they were pretty well behaved. We’ve all been to shows like this where the parents don’t tell their children they need to be quiet. That was not the case here. However, at the point where Elphaba and Fiyero kiss, the little kid behind me yelled out, “Gross!” which was very funny.
The only complaints I heard about the show on that particular night were in regards to the sound. I would agree with them that it could have been a touch louder. For example, during “Defying Gravity”, it could have done with more bass. That scene is just so emotional and powerful that you should have been able to feel Elphaba’s words in your heart and soul.
Aside from that, “Wicked” sold me. I completely understand why people see it so often. If it wasn’t for how fast the tickets are selling, I’d go see it again this time around. I just might.
Review by Tracy Hansen