After witnessing the Wicked Load-In at TPAC, getting to roam around backstage and even stand center stage amidst all the Wicked props and equipment, I was more than eager to see the live Wicked production for my first time. I expected drama, humor, entertainment, astounding effects, spectacular sound and lighting and fantastic acting. Did I get what I expected? Oh yes, and then some.
Wicked delivered so much more than I ever dreamed possible from a live production here in our little hometown Nashville. From the time the four ton Dragon’s eyes lit up bright red and the curtains opened until the final bows taken during a standing ovation and thunderous applause, I was mesmerized, deeply ensconced in the Land of Oz, like I’d never known it before.
Wicked, the outrageously successful musical, penned by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, onstage now at TPAC (Tennessee Performing Arts Center), is produced and performed by an incredibly talented traveling crew, supplemented by local talent, hired just for the three week production while in Nashville. With outstanding physical effects like witches flying high in the air, swinging monkeys and the Good Witch Galinda floating about in a bubble, the show is a sight to behold from start to finish. Add to that the truly phenomenal talent of the actors and you have an event that is a must-see every time it comes back to town.
The play centers around born-green Elphaba, played by Anne Brummel and born-beautiful Galinda, played by Tiffany Haas, as two young girls who meet as roommates in a boarding school and grow up to become the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch Glinda. The play is filled with messages about accepting people as they are, and the most delightful language of “Oz”, including “quoteisms” like not dwelling on one’s “differentiations”, rejoicing in the “braverism” of others and feeling “gratitution” for what you have. It is also filled with events of “scadalacious” nature and learning to overcome “disturburances”. It’s a land where people are struggling to be accepted and learning to accept others. The story is intense, the two and a half hours pass by before you know it, and the show ends, leaving you with a deeper understanding of Why the Wicked Witch of the West Was Wicked… or Was she?
The entire ensemble is beyond critique, the choreography and musical score laid out to give you the story in a spell-binding combination of word, song and music, drawing you into the Land of Oz, allowing you to leave your troubles behind for an incredible evening of talent and entertainment.
I must note that TPAC is an awesome venue, hosting some of the most prestigious productions and events in the country. The TPAC staff is always on hand to guide you to your seat or simply to welcome you to the house. Food and beverages are always available, beverages now being allowed into the theatre, adult beverages included. Wine and Wicked is a combination not to be missed. If you haven’t been to TPAC, go to the website, look at the incredible offering of shows and concerts, pick one and have the time of your life. Don’t miss out on one of Nashville’s best entertainment venues or the upcoming production of the 2010 Tony Award winning musical “Memphis”!
Want to know more? Subscribe to my column to read more about Memphis and other Nashville Events!