• Lillie Burke

REVIEW: Wonderful “Wicked” wows audiences

It would be easy to say that the crowning moment of “Wicked” was the well-known masterpiece that is “Defying Gravity,” but that would also be a lie.

However, it is hard to point out a few moments that stand out when almost every song perfectly highlighted a different member of a cast.

It would be even more impossible to claim one member of the cast stood out above the others.

Loosely based off the book by Gregory Maguire, the musical tells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and how she actually came to have that title.

A prequel of sorts, the musical also features the much-beloved Glinda the Good as well as a version of “The Wizard of Oz” events that viewers don’t get to see in the film.

Alison Luff’s Elphaba starts off delightfully sassy and bold but shows an extremely vulnerable side in the emotional “I’m Not that Girl,” as she mourns having to deal with seemingly unrequited love.

Luff meets her match in Gina Beck as Glinda, who beautifully showcases both the bubbly personality needed in “Popular” as well as the vulnerable side that sneaks into “Thank Goodness” in the second act.

While fantastic on their own, the duets between Luff and Beck stand above the rest.

The witty banter and mocking as they complain about one another in “What Is This Feeling?” had the audience applauding and laughing throughout the entire time and, as to be expected, the moving performance of “Defying Gravity” allowed the women’s voices to play wonderfully of one another.

The supporting characters are not to be ignored, nor will they allow that to happen in the performance.

It is easy to get swept up in Luff’s vocals that would do Idina Menzel proud or Beck’s all-but-flawless portrayal of the surprisingly layered Glinda, but one of the most pleasant surprises of the show was Nick Adams as Fiyero.

While not the strongest vocalist in the production, Adams more than made up for it by providing the perfect amount of charm and depth to his character as well as some of the best dancing in the musical.

Adams’ chemistry with both Luff and Beck help create the perfect atmosphere needed for both the upbeat “Dancing Through Life” and the romantic “As Long As You’re Mine.”

With just enough references to “The Wizard of Oz” to make the audience feel like it is in on the joke, the musical is a must-see for everyone, whether they are fans of the movie or not.

The reasons to see the production are endless: the acting is outstanding, the vocals sound breathtaking, the orchestra plays beautifully, the scenery works flawlessly into the show and the costumes look like they could be used in scenes of the Capitol in “The Hunger Games.”

While the orchestra occasionally seemed to cover up the singers’ voices, specifically some of Beck’s higher notes, the performance as a whole was both visually and aurally stunning.

Fair warning, however.

Tissues may be needed, as “For Good” left hardly any of the audience, including a good portion of the men, with dry eyes.

“Wicked” will be showing at TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall until April 20.

#DefyingGravity #Elphaba #Wicked #TPAC #TennesseePerformingArtsCenter #TheWizardofOz

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