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‘Wicked’ a fabulous experience

By Susan Shinn
Salisbury Post
CHARLOTTE ó The line between good and evil is rarely clear.
No one in fact or fiction is inherently good or purely evil.
Such is the case of best friends and rivals Glenda and Elphaba in iWicked ó The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz.î
Part of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Centerís Stanford Broadway Lights Series, the show opened Tuesday at Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte.
The sold-out run continues through April 20. A limited amount of tickets are available through daily lotteries. Go to www.blumenthalcenter.org to find out how to participate.
You might think you know everything about the Wicked Witch of the West.
Her emerald green skin. Her cackle. Those eery flying monkies.
Think again.
In the beginning, Elphaba was just a little green girl, shunned by everyone until Glinda came along.
The two ó who seemingly couldnít be more disparate ó meet at a sorcererís academy.
Elphaba is scary smart and extremely witty to boot. Too bad no oneís ever taken the time to get to know her.
Glinda on the other hand ó who goes through a phase of pronouncing her name iGuh-lindaî ó is the most popular girl at school.
Sheís most popular with herself.
Elphaba may be green on the outside but Glinda is blond through and through.
Slowly but surely, the two quickly become best friends.
Their friendship is ripped apart by the arrival of Fiyero, a handsome, neíer-do-well student for which Glinda and Elphaba both fall hard.
Fiyero gains their affections, but in the end, these relationships are not as strong as the bond shared by the two women.
Along the way, we meet other familiar ó and some not so familiar ó characters.
Thereís Nessarose, Elphabaís sweet but disabled sister, whose power eventually goes to her head ó and her feet.
Thereís the Wonderful Wizard of Oz who turns out not to be so wonderful.
Thereís Madame Morrible who runs the witchesí academy. Is it any coincidence her name rhymes with ihorribleî?
Boq is the Munchkin who adores Glinda but stays with Nessarose at his true loveís request.
When heís accused of being heartless … well, you can see where thatís going.
Thatís part of the fun of the show, to figure out which characters evolve into the storybook and movie characters we know so well from the beloved tale, iThe Wizard of Oz.î
iWickedî has everything you could want in a Broadway show: fabulous acting ó plenty of hysterical one-liners abound ó terrific songs, over-the-top special effects.
More than once, youíll wonder, iHowíd they do that?!?î
Thatís the thrill of seeing a Broadway show.
The principals are absolutely top-notch.
Carmen Cusack, who plays Elphaba, has the powerful voice to carry off several show-stopping numbers. Sheís perfect.
Katie Rose Clarke has the role of Glinda. Her clear soprano voice ó how high can she go?!? ó is exactly what youíd expect of the good witch.
iWickedî is full of thrills and chills ó ooh, and those monkeys, the stuff of nightmares.
Whoíd have ever guessed that Elphaba was an animal-lover, and only trying to help them?
iWickedî definitely entertains, but it also shows how people can be easily misunderstood, and how those in power can manipulate oneís good intentions.
Itís also about how itís all right to be a little bit different ó OK, a lot different óand that you can stand up for yourself and find your own voice.
And how thereís a little bit of good ó and evil ó in everybody.
Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or sshinn@salisburypost.com.

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