A wicked good time


Wicked, 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 2 and 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $25-$225. Broadway Sacramento at the Community Center Theatre, 1300 L Street; (916) 808-5181; www.broadwaysacramento.com. Through June 17.
Rated 4.0

Wicked is in town for the next couple of weeks, and it’s a great way to close out Broadway Sacramento’s all-around wicked good 2011-2012 season. Instead of the usual crowd of middle-aged, well-to-do, season-ticket holders, this show drew youngsters, the elderly, and everyone in between.

It’s apparent from the stage design that the production’s appeal is sheer grandness. First, there’s a mechanical dragon the size of a Cessna 172 hanging above the stage; it doesn’t play a particularly large part in the plot, but spectacle is served. The rest of the stage trim is stylized in an intricate rusty steampunk-metal finish, a work of art in itself. This raises audience expectations, rather like the fancy opening sequence in a summer blockbuster film.

Not up to speed? Well, Wicked rewrites, subverts and redefines the canon of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, and is also a fully-realized alternate take on the classic 1939 film. After nine years on Broadway, Wicked is one of the most popular modern musicals, winning Tony awards, Grammy awards and earning billions in ticket sales.

Oh, and it’s convinced a new generation to try musical theater.

The two leads—Elphaba (Nicole Parker) and Glinda (Alli Mauzey) have great chemistry as frenemies. Mauzey, in particular, is a great physical actress, prancing around the stage like a Barbie princess on crack. The push and pull between Glinda and Elphaba drives the plot. They’re basically polar opposites, but prove that you can find friends—and enemies—in anyone.

Basically, you’ll like Wicked because it’s hard not to—whether you’re a fan of musical theater or just like The Wizard of Oz. It’s well-written, well-acted and well-designed. If you find it boring, unentertaining, or dull, check your pulse. You may have become the Tin Man.