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February 11, 2009 > Theater Review: Wicked

Theater Review: Wicked

The untold story of the Witches of Oz

By Mona Shah

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked?

'Wicked' is a big, lavish musical that dares to see Oz from another angle. It is the untold story of the witches of Oz long before Dorothy drops in. Two girls meet in the Land of Oz, one, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. Wicked tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West (Elphaba) and Glinda the Good Witch.

This production is a significant homecoming for 'Wicked', which premiered in San Francisco before casting its spell on Broadway, winning 20 major awards, including the Grammy Award and three Tony Awards. 'Wicked' had its world premiere at San Francisco's Curran Theatre on May 28, 2003. This engagement followed a long development process during which the entire creative team and cast immersed themselves in the musical's launch at the Curran Theatre. From these roots in the city by the bay, 'Wicked' has gone on to become a worldwide phenomenon that has since redefined theatrical popular culture.

Teal Wicks will play the role of Elphaba. Born and raised in Sacramento, the California native made her 'Wicked' debut earlier this year playing the role of Elphaba in the Los Angeles production. Kendra Kassebaum, who plays Glinda, comes directly from playing the role in the Broadway production. Kassebaum received a Helen Hayes Award nomination for her portrayal of Glinda in the North American Tour of the play.

The two witches are merely sensational. Wicks, who plays the green one sings beautifully. The good witch Kassebaum, is hilarious and can sing like a bird. When they sing together, it's heart-stopping.

A musical that adults and kids can enjoy, Wicked simply takes your breath away.

Tickets can be purchased online at shnsf.com and ticketmaster.com/wicked, through Ticketmaster Charge-By-Phone (415) 512-7770 and (800) 982-2787, at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers and at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office (1192 Market at 8th St., Mon-Sat 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.).

Wicked
Opens Friday, February 6 for an open-ended run
Orpheum Theatre
1192 Market St. San Francisco
www.shnsf.com
Tickets: $30-$99

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