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Wicked Reviews & Street Buzz

REVIEWS for Wicked - the Stephen Schwartz - Winnie Holzman Witches of Oz musical

Chicago Sun Times:

..."Wicked" has worked its magic the old-fashioned way: not with reviews or awards or heavy marketing, but by connecting with audiences through its accessible music, story and characters (who are, admittedly, associated with the best-loved movie musical of all time). Adapted for the stage by composer Stephen Schwartz ("Godspell," "Pippin") and writer Winnie Holzman ("My So-Called Life") from a novel by Gregory Maguire, the show's themes -- the rewards and trials of friendship, outsiderness vs. popularity, courage in the face of an oppressive system -- have struck a deep chord in theatergoers.... [comments from KEVIN NANCE, Sun Times reporter]

"'Wicked' works on many levels, and different people find different things in the show," producer David Stone says. "A 10-year-old likes the twister and the story of how the Scarecrow becomes the Scarecrow. A 16-year-old might love the story of this green girl who becomes accepted, and the popular girl who becomes good. Young adults might get involved in the friendship between these two young women, and the choices and sacrifices we all make in our lives. Older adults might be interested in the story of how governments determine what's wicked and what's good based on how people look. Whatever the reason, the show touches them, and that's why so many people return to see the show many times."

Don't miss the Wicked Home Page for 50 pages related to Wicked the Musical. Get tickets, music, read history, lyrics, and more

Published Wicked Reviews - Recent

The most recent reviews for Wicked are for the touring production that has been running since 2005. Look for the reviews section on our Wicked Tour page

WICKED BROADWAY Reviews Still online from 2003:

Review in USA Today [new browser window] . Also see USA Today "Like father, like son on B'way" article about Scott and Stephen Schwartz [new browser window]

Siegel's review at Theatremania.com [new browser window]

Peter Filicia review - theatermania.com [new browser window]

Wicked the musical New York Times review by Ben Brantley October 31, 2003

"There's Trouble in Emerald City"

Brantley seems most taken by Kristin Chenoweth's performance, including her entry from high up above the stage in her "bubble." He writers: "...That's Kristin Chenoweth, who is currently giving jaw-dropping demonstrations of the science of show-biz aeronautics in "Wicked," the Technicolorized sermon of a musical that opened last night at the Gershwin Theater. Playing Glinda the Good Witch in this equally arch and earnest show, a revisionist look at "The Wizard of Oz," Ms. Chenoweth must put across jokes and sight gags that could make angels fall. Never for a second, though, does she threaten to crash to earth. Even lying down, Ms. Chenoweth — who performed similar magic in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" four years ago (and won a Tony) — remains airborne, proving that in the perilous skies of Broadway, nothing can top undiluted star power as aviation fuel."

In his New York Times review, Brantley also gave a nod of appreciation to Menzel and others. He believes the show "is steeped in talent," and lists Idina Menzel's "larynx of steel," the director, writers, and designers.

The review continues exploring the meaning of the show. "The contrast between the young women, who wind up as reluctant roommates at sorcery school, is used to examine a society that values surface over substance, the illusion of doing good over the genuinely noble act. It goes without saying that you don't have to squint to find parallels with a certain contemporary Western nation in which artful presidential photo ops win more votes than legislative change."

See Wicked on Broadway

Wicked street buzz - Comments from Theatre Goers

The word-of-mouth publicity for Wicked has made the show the huge hit that it is. I often hear from many people who see the show and recommend it to friends or buy tickets to attend again. A director from Rockford Illinois told me he went home after seeing the show and recommended it to 100 people. Many people e-mail me and say it's the best musical they have ever seen or top in 10 years.

From M.C. of New York: Not since TITANIC, have I been so favorably surprised by a show as I was tonight seeing WICKED. I can understand some of the criticism I've read (It is a bit precious at times, ... it plays a bit incongruously with elements of the movie WIZARD OF OZ). But I fell for it, witch's warts and all. I've attended a number of musicals in recent years, where I felt like a was on a different planet: I sat totally stone-faced while audiences were laughing all around me at humor I found either annoyingly smug or sophmoric. WICKED left me captivated and chuckling throughout, eager to know where and how the next plot twist would occur. Topping it off, the final duet "For Good" was the most moving new song I've heard in several seasons (Probably because it touched a very personal chord in me).

Comments of Stephanie T. of Maine: "My husband and I just got back from seeing the show on Saturday and we both thought it was fantastic!!! I loved, loved, loved the score and during "Defying Gravity" all the hair on my body stood up on end. I know I will put the CD in my car and listen to it constantly until it is committed to memory. It was just thrilling to see and I did not want the show to end. That is why I was looking at the different web links - to find out when the CD would be released.

This is a very strong score and book with great casting - the leads complement each other so well. The second act was very moving (I was crying). There was a good balance between humor and poignancy. It should win every Tony award this year! I think I am more of a fan of the whole show than one particular cast member. I really enjoyed Ms. Menzel's voice, it has such emotive strength. I thought her role was very demanding physically and emotionally and that she captured the character wonderfully well (I can't imagine what kind of facials she is going to need to get that green out of her skin). Ms. Chenowyth also does a great job - her voice sparkles and her comedic timing is spot on. Everyone else at the theatre seemed to enjoy it as well. We were all on the edge of our seats. It felt like there was a great rapport between the audience and the cast. When that happens it is a combination of all of the forces working together seamlessly. It felt like the show was "of a piece", as we say in painting; one part did not jump out as a separate entity. It all worked together. I will always remember how it felt to see and hear it all for the first time.

Another comment from M.L. of Virginia: "I have gotten ten families going to New York now and only to see Wicked. The music is so superior, the costumes breathtaking, the script sharp, but most of all decent for all members of the family to see. New York hasn't even grasped the concept of what has happened by having this wonderful production in their city."

From Matt B: ...A theatre goer since I was 2, I am now 26, I can not recall being as moved in so many directions as I was while watching Wicked. First of all, if you don't leave the theater with a mad crush on Idina Menzel then things are not in order. My review is not about detailing the show. My review is simple and from my heart. The show touched me, touched me so deeply inside. "Defying Gravity"...it's become a mantra of sorts.

I was the witch growing up [outcast-like]. So many of us were. This show truly penetrates your spirit... It is the first show I have seen where I did not want to find the holes in the script or discuss what could have made it stronger. I left in pure utopia. And I am still there. Listening to the cd, I repeat Defying Gravity and you will too, makes your imagination wander and if you are a writer, like me, forces you to your computer to write things that you can't believe were born from a witch singing about "the western skies." I love this show. I love it for its backbone and truth.

From Jen: If I could pick where I had to die, It would be at a performance of Wicked. If I could pick the last words that I heard, It would be the last note of the song "Defying Gravity." This show is utterly amazing!

From Hols F. of Minnesotat: Wicked is a musical that does best what musicals are supposed to do: transport the audience beyond the world they know. Whether you dream of being Galinda/Glinda, the toast of society, or Elphaba, the beautifully misinterpreted outcast, Oz inspires you. What more is theater for?

From Rebecca on the influence of WICKED:

"Over the last few years my sisters and I have been so busy with our own lives and even though we all live in the same city we barely talk. About 6 months ago my cousin introduced my family to the music of Wicked. My sisters and I instantly fell in love with the music. We all have different favorite songs and they seem to identify with what we each have going on in our lives. A few months ago my sisters and I took a road trip. There was a wierd silence between us so I put the Wicked soundtrack in and we sang for two hours straight. Listening to our favorite songs several times. That car ride has now become one of my best memories with my sisters. I recently found out that I will be moving Milwaukee, WI. This is a 5 hour trip from home. I don't know how frequent great bonding moments will be with my sisters. This is why Wicked holds a special place in my heart. I don't think there has ever been a topic so talked about between us."

From Brian of Cinncinati: I ordered the CD in January 2004 when I saw the cover art in Show People magazine. It's great art! I was washing dishes when I played the CD and stopped dead in my tracks when I heard Idina sing "Wizard and I." After that, I was hooked. I finally went to NYC to see a Broadway show like I always wanted to do. I saw Wicked 3 times on Broadway including the entire original cast, which was amazing! At the time I heard it, I was going through a divorce and a lot of change in my life and the combination of lyrics and music and Idina's performance were so inspiring to me. I'm a professional musician who is also involved in community theater. I've played the Leading Player in Pippin and Cain/Japeth in Children of Eden, and I've played keyboard and done music direction for Godspell. Long live Stephen Schwartz!!

From Alyssa L of Wyoming: I saw Wicked for the first time in london and now there is nothing else I can think or even talk about. I guess you can say I'm a little obsessed. I am even reading the novel for the third time in my english class. Wicked has been such an inspiration for me. It has a song for every mood I'm ever in. I love wicked more then i ever thought i could and i would love to have something that brings out my passion besides my memories. (May 2007)

From Jessica Gold of Michigan

Ever since I can remember, I've always been in love with The Wizard of Oz. I watch it all the time still at the age of 22. The flying monkeys were always spooky and I never liked the Wicked Witch. And I didn't mind that a house fell on her sister. Being in love with musicals, I quite often will go on the websites like Broadway.com or BroadwayWorld.com and look up things and find out about new musicals. I found out about Wicked while it was still in its previews in San Francisco. I fell in love with the music. I got the cd the first day it came out. Wicked is a ground-changing and life-changing musical. All of the notions I had earlier, because of the story of The Wizard of Oz, soon were put on the back burner and a new love came into my life...Wicked. I'm a huge Idina Menzel fan, so to find out she was playing the lead role was great. Wicked opens up your mind to think of things in different ways, and to not always believe everything you're told. Elphaba stands for courage, strength, and female power. Never have I felt so moved by another musical more than this one. Wicked is a true story of strong females who have a very unique friendship. You really change your mind about the woman you once called the Wicked Witch and see that she is trying to stand up for what she believes is right. Now I stand right by her. There will never be a musical quite like this one.

Carol's note: The following messages really describe how street buzz works.

From Anne C.:
"While in New York, our waitress told us we would have to come back soon to see Wicked. The next thing we knew, we overheard a couple of people talking about Wicked while we were in the Hershey store. In the span of one day in NYC, we must have heard (or overheard at times) at least a dozen or so people raving about a broadway show that I had never heard of in small Quakertown, PA. So we purchased tickets and the very next trip to NYC was just for Wicked. When I found out we were going, I bought the book first to read so I would know what to expect. The play and the book are very different but both were EXCELLENT.

"On a family trip to Disney the following month, I took my Wicked Soundtrack and played it in our rented minivan. My niece (Emily - age 7) and my nephew (Evan - age 5) immediately picked out which songs were their favorite. I currently live outside of Philly and am going to try to purchase tickets for the tour here in March-April for my sister and my niece to join me. So, they will be flying up from Georgia JUST to see Wicked. Wicked has become a family affair in all sense of the words."

From Jessic of Illionois: Well, it all started with my boyfriend's little sister Laura. Everytime I was at their house she would just talk about this musical called Wicked, non-stop!! I had heard about it before but I didnt really know what it was all about. So I went and looked it up and saw all of these great reviews and decided that it was something that I had to see. Sure enough a couple of weeks later, my boyfriend's family was inviting me to go into Chicago to see Wicked with them. After that day I turned into Laura, talking about it non-stop, listening to the CD non-stop, encouraging other people to see it non-stop, looking up every little bit of information that I could find on it. I have an obsession!! AND I LOVE IT!!! I am going to see it again in March with my family this time and i cant wait!!!!

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Photo of Stephen Schwartz © Joan Lauren