The National Tour of Wicked is stopping at the beautiful and historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis for a six-week run through the end of October. In case you've been living under a musical theater rock for the last ten years, here's a brief plot summary. Wicked is based on the book of the same name by Gregory Maguire, which is a re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. In this new mythology, before Dorothy and her house land in Oz, Glinda the good witch and Elphaba the wicked witch are two young women who find themselves roommates at school and become unlikely friends and allies. All is not right in the land of Oz; human-like Animals are seeing their rights and voices taken away. Elphaba discovers that the Wizard is behind all of this, and becomes a fugitive as she works against him to free the Animals. Glinda is seemingly on the Wizard's side, but the two never lose their connection, despite both loving the same man. The romance is compelling but it is refreshingly not the focus of the show; Wicked is really about the friendship between these two very different women and each of them discovering who they are, and helping each other in that discovery ("Because I knew you, I have been changed for good"). Anyone who's ever felt like an outcast in any situation can relate to Elphaba; she's a wonderful inspiration, especially for girls to grow up as strong women ("I'm through accepting limits, 'cause someone says they're so. Some things I cannot change but 'til I try I'll never know"). Wicked explores the ideas of good and wicked ("are people born wicked, or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?") and the fact that in real life (and sometimes in musicals) it's never as simple as good and wicked, there's a lot of room in between where most of us live. Like Fiyero, Wicked is much deeper than its beautiful exterior might imply.
|Alison Luff and Jenn Gambatese as the
unlikely best friends
Wicked features over the top sets and costumes, but it has a fantastic score and great story and characters to back it up. The production doesn't overwhelm the content, but enhances it. It's that rare musical in which all of the different artistic pieces come together to form a wholly satisfying theatrical experience. Unfortunately it's the most expensive theater ticket it town, which makes it inaccessible for some people. But if you can afford it, it's worth the money. (Or try your luck for $25 tickets in the daily lottery.) Unlike the first time it came to town seven years ago, it is not completely sold out, although weekend tickets are scarce. Visit Hennepin Theatre Trust's page to find more info about how to get your ticket to this wonderful world of Oz.