Do you feel like you’ve already seen Wicked? It seems to appear in every America’s Got Talent audition video, in teen paraphernalia, in internet memes and fan videos. Stephen Schwartz’s creation broke box office records, graced Broadway for a decade with more than 4,400 shows, and is the 11th longest-running musical there. Such saturation may lead to cynicism, but this touring production of Wicked, currently playing the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, explains the hype.
Set in Oz, prior to Dorothy’s arrival, the musical is an origin story about the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda, the Good Witch. When we meet them, the Wicked Witch, Elphaba (Laurel Harris), is an ugly, green-skinned girl with a big heart and an even bigger magical talent and Glinda (Kara Lindsay) is a blonde, simpering twinkle of curls and beauty. It’s a story as old as The Wizard of Oz itself: the clash between the popular girl and the outcast until circumstances lead to an unusual friendship.