Friday, January 27, 2012

Wicked, the touring company musical at Bass Hall, Unversity of Texas, January 25 - February 12

by Thaïs Hinton

Wicked touring company

Everyone knows how Dorothy Gale came to Oz and killed the Wicked Witch of the West. Judy Garland and pals in the 1939 film by MGM dwell deep in American cultural consciousness, none of them more than Margaret Hamilton as the vengeful Wicked Witch of the West.

In the Oz depictied by the touring company of Wicked currently at UT's Bass Concert Hall we get hear another side of the story, adapted from the novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire. The script, lyrics, and score by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzmanare clever. I have read the novel, and I liked the show. Their extreme care with their source material shows through.

Wicked runs through February 12 and was playing to well populated house on the first Thursday evening. A beautiful map of Oz covers the stage and the stage action begins as the Munchkins are celebrating the death of the Witch.

The show begins with Glinda entering via bubble, mechanically suspended from the flies. The bubble floats all the way down and Glinda steps off as she takes the audience back in time to earlier years.The Good Witch Glinda explains that she knew Elphaba, the bright green witch, from their college days.

I thought that actress Tiffany Haas was safely strapped in to that bubble, so I was shocked when she stepped off, apparently unsecured. Even though I was ardently suspending my disbelief, I was genuinely afraid for Haas, who of course made it look just like magic. The special effects were expertly done by Chic Silber.

No one-trick pony, that bubble reappears later in the show.

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