Wicked made its way back to the Paramount this year after a 3 year hiatus, but this time with an incredible month-long run. Avid readers may recall all the way back to one of my inaugural musical reviews from from September 2006, where I briefly graced the show with my coveted 5-star rating. It's exciting to see it again to see what I may have missed the first time.
I actually attended opening night of the Seattle stop on the tour, which if I see correctly, is actually the first stop on the entire tour. The performance was not without its share of hiccups, but overall it's still hard to beat such an outstanding collection of music and an amazing performance. That said, this performance wasn't quite as brilliant as I recall. That's not to say it still doesn't receive my 5-star rating, or that I wouldn't go see it again next time it comes to town.
Most notably, the ensemble seemed a bit on the weak side musically. I fully expect this to improve over the course of the run, but it was a bit rough at points. Also, the role of Glinda was performed so over-the-top that I actually found her to be somewhat annoying. Musically weaker than I've previously seen (and certainly weaker than the outstanding performance by Kristen Chenoweth in the original Broadway production), and just overacted. Fortunately, these minor weaknesses in the performance were more than compensated by the phenomenal performance of Elphaba, which was as good as any performance I've seen or heard.
My ratings for this performance:
Script: 5-stars - still a hard show to beat.
Music: 5-stars - I don't think there's a bad song in the show, compared to a typical musical where you maybe get a couple showstopping numbers and a lot of fill.
Cast: 4-stars - The only weakness in the production, but minor at that.
Technical: 5-stars - Still an amazing set and a true theatrical spectacle.
Overall: 5-stars - You should still see this any chance you get. Still in that elite class of musicals to receive my 5-star rating along with Avenue Q and RENT.
Wicked continues to play at the Paramount in Seattle through October 4th.