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Wicked at the Kennedy Center

A spectacle for all the senses.

This production of the Broadway sensation Wicked, directed by Joe Mantello, is a wonderful spectacle.

Every child has heard the story of Dorothy and the Wizard of OZ. Wicked is a different way to look at the Land of Oz. Yes, you will see the Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow; but in this show you see how they came to be. Wicked is the story of how the good witch and the wicked witch came to be. It makes you realize how nothing is just about good vs. evil; but rather how people we think could never get along can come to understand each other. It is about how love can and does influence our lives. This story shows us “Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin—smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships…until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.”

Lisa DeGuzman
Lisa DeGuzman  Photo by Joan Marcus

Everything about this production is fabulous. The sets, the staging, the lighting, the acting and singing. From the actors commanding the stage to those flying through the air. The night I saw it, the role of Glinda, the good witch, was played by Jackie Raye. Her voice is beautiful and she commands the stage as when she sings ‘Popular’. Her acting is superb, her dancing wonderful. She is able to go from serious to humor so easily and so believably.  The ‘Wicked’ witch, Elphaba, is played to absolute perfection by Lissa DeGuzman. Her voice is incredible and when she sings the lead in ‘Defying Gravity’ you are totally mesmerized. Jordan Litz is wonderful as Fiyero the love interest Glinda and Elphaba fight over. His has a great voice and is a stud, with so much more depth than is first evident, making it easy to see why they are fighting over him. Also great is Jake Pedersen as Boq, who has an unrequited love for Glinda. There is not a member of the big cast who doesn’t shine. The dancing, acting and voices of all of them add to the enjoyment of this great night in the theater.

But what makes this show so spectacular is of course the brilliant creative team. Beginning of course with the music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman. The rest of the team is large and includes those responsible for the sets, the costumes, the lighting and the staging which all keep you enchanted. Some of them are Wayne Cilento (musical staging), Eugene Lee (scenic designer), Susan Hilferty (costume designer), Kenneth Posner (lighting design), and Tony Meola (sound design), and those just a few of the large team that brings this production to the stage. 

I would recommend anyone who enjoys musical theater to get their tickets now for Wicked. It will be at the Kennedy Center Opera House through January 22, 2023.