Broadway’s favorite duo is LIVE at the Fabulous Fox Theater

 

Wicked at The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Photo by Joan Marcus.

— Review by Jen Cunningham. Photos by Joan Marcus

It’s hard to believe that Wicked has been running for 16 years. In October of 2003, we got our first glimpse into the World of Oz, from a very different angle.

What if, what we view as Wicked, is just very misunderstood? The wild and colorful, story about the friendship of two very unlikely ladies.
Once upon a time, we viewed them as rivals, but according to colorful adaptation by Winnie Holzman, the ladies were more like sisters, than enemies.

Wicked at The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Photo by Joan Marcus.

These two ladies, opposite in every way imaginable, Galinda (Allison Bailey) and Elphaba (Talia Suskauer) ended up as roomates in boarding school.  Elphaba, the social justice warrior and Galinda (Gah-linda) the popular blonde, that every one gravitated toward. At first they despised one another, until one day they saw past each others defenses and embraced one another for who they truly were.

Wicked at The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Wicked takes a colorful, whirlwind approach, to the prequel to The Wizard Oz.

I think I may have been the last breathing critic who had not seen Wicked. I struggle to put into words what I saw on that stage. What I can say…Talia Suskauer, blew me AWAY!!!  “Defying Gravity”, the big song that ends Act I, gave me goosebumps. (I’ve probably played the song for my daughter, ten times.) I doubt Stephen Schwartz, the man responsible for the music of Wicked, could have possibly seen the mini revolution of the Me Too Movement while writing this music…or could he? The music definitely set the stage for the ladies of Oz to take a hammer to that glass ceiling. “Defying Gravity” is a powerhouse ballad, empowering women and little girls, everywhere.
Wicked has SOOO many layers. Winnie Holzman’s book, gives so much depth to the behind the scenes happenings of Oz. Making Elphaba a scapegoat, to the real issues of Oz, happens all too often in society. Fear of the unknown and misunderstood.

Wicked at The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Photo by Joan Marcus.

From the very first song “No One Mourns the Wicked”, Galinda (Allison Bailey) captures our hearts as she tries to hide the pain from the loss of her friend. Then the show bursts into life with “The Wizzard and I”, “What Is This Feeling?”, “Something Bad”, “Dancing Through Life”, and of course “Popular”.

“Popular” is the song that takes us on the musical journey of the beginning of Galinda and Elphabas friendship. “Popular” is the song with a catchy beat that showcases the transition, not only of the friendship between this unlikely pair, but the transformation of Elphaba. It is amazing what friendships do for us. Elphaba, like most young girls, needed someone to believe in her. Galinda’s over abundance of self confidence, is finally enough of a boost for Elphaba to see past her emerald exterior, and embrace the value she has as a person and a friend.

Wicked at The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Photo by Joan Marcus.

“I’m Not That Girl”, Elphaba’s heartbreaking explanation of why she believed she wasn’t good enough for Fiyero (Curt Hansen). “One Short Day”, was followed by “A Sentimental Man” both songs taking you on a journey through the girls first visit to Oz and Elphaba’s first interactions with the Wizard. “A Sentimental Man” reveals how much the Wizard really wanted to be a father, and how he viewed all the people of Oz as his children. You can tell that the Wizard is a gentle giant who has made one very big mistake. The Wizard has built his entire life on a lie. He landed in Oz by mistake. Instead of telling everyone the truth from the very beginning, his ego caused him to build an entire existance on a lie. From the moment he handed the Elphaba the book of spells, you realize it wasn’t that Elphaba needed the Wizard, it was that the Wizard NEEDED Elphaba.
Everything started to pile up on our emerald friend, from losing her favorite teacher, her love, and then finding out her idol was a fraud, a fire began to burn in the belly of Elphaba. She was tired of being lied to and pushed around. Once she figured out that the power to control her own destiny was hers all along…there was no stopping our emerald friend. But Elphie’s newly-found gumption, was perceived as a threat to the Wizard of Oz. Would she out him for being a fraud? Would she use her new powers to take over Oz? Too many questions made a cyclone in the mind of the Wizard of Oz.

Wicked at The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Versus facing the potential consequences like a man, the Wizard of Oz chose a different approach. How do you convince a group of people to stand beside you in the face of a lie? You give them a common enemy.
This incredible, creative, whirlwind adventure, leaves you with many existential questions about our friends of Oz. Who was REALLY the Wicked one? Did Elphie finally get her happily ever after?

Wicked at The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Photo by Joan Marcus.

All the what-ifs of Oz. I highly, HIGHLY recommend you grab this as a last minute Christmas gift for all the thespians in your life. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Fox Theatre Box Office at 531 N. Grand Blvd, or 24/7 through MetroTix.com, or by phone 314-534-1111.

Did you know The Fox Theatre (St. Louis) now has gift cards that can be used online, over-the-phone, or in person for purchase of tickets to any performance at the Fox Theatre. The Fox Theatre Gift Card is available for purchase in person at the Fox Theatre Box Office, online at MetroTix.com and by phone with MetroTix at (314) 534-1111. Gift cards are not refundable or replaceable if lost, destroyed or stolen. Gift cards can be used toward ticket purchases as well as food and beverage in the theatre, Fox Club, Curtain Call Lounge, and Stage Left Grille.
Let me just tell ya, the food at Curtain Call Lounge is AMAZING!!! They both offer amazing options. Stage Left Grille is the perfect spot to come on a family trip to the theatre. Amazing food and family friendly atmosphere is so much fun.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and I will see you all again in the New Year.
Thanks for reading!
Jen

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