Friday, April 18, 2014

Wicked Soars at Morrison Center

Posted By on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Wicked, the traveling Broadway musical that unpacks the backstory behind The Wizard of Oz now playing at the Morrison Center, is loud, nearly blindingly bright and visually elaborate. It's also ambitious, elating and seemingly effortlessly executed: a must-see for kids—and adults in touch with their inner kids. 

The green-skinned Elphaba (Laurel Harris)—future Wicked Witch of the West—is the neglected daughter of a provincial Oz governor caring for her wheelchair-bound sister Nessarose (Emily Benhy) and the college roommate of ditzy drama queen Glinda (Kara Lindsay). When she's tapped to become the magical apprentice of The Wizard (Gene Weygandt), she learns how he consolidated political power by scapegoating (sometimes literally) the nonhuman denizens of Oz.

At the center of the story is the relationship between Elphaba and Glinda. Harris and Lindsay's on-stage chemistry is incredibly compelling, and their friendship grows despite their characters' personal differences and the challenges the Land of Oz throws at them.

Their backdrop is a set that seems to barely fit within the confines of the Morrison Center stage, its vast architecture squeezed into one of Boise's largest performance spaces. Dazzling lights, steampunk superstructures and Glinda's magic bubble are all part of a complex (but never confusing) marvel of set design.

The pacing of the performance was aided by a hair-raising score. Catchy tunes sung in perfect pitch moved the story forward and set emotional scenes. Wicked is the whole package that brings the performance and stagecraft of Broadway theater.

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