As far as witch hunts go, “Wicked” is the best you’ll ever see — goofy, fun, thoughtful and girl-powered
The Tony Award-winning musical comedy is at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts for a three-week run. This is the fifth time a national tour production has played Fort Lauderdale. You could well ask, “Why should I see it this time?” or “Is it a gamble to see it again?” and “Does she nail that yodeling thing in that song?”
The answer is this is a disciplined and dependable staging well worth catching almost solely because of the two leads. Ginna Claire Mason plays Glinda the Good Witch and Mary Kate Morrissey is Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and while the rest of the cast is game and up to the tasks at hand, it is these two ladies’ elegant shoulders that the entire show rests on.
Morrissey imbues Elphaba with clench-jawed restraint, leaving Mason free to add deftly deployed daft touches. They both soar with Stephen Schwartz’s fun-pun of a score that includes hits “Popular,” “For Good” and “Defying Gravity,” the song with that now-iconic yodel coda, and yes, Morrisey wails it to the wall.
If you don’t know the “Mean Girls” meets “Charmed” story, “Wicked” is remixed and rebooted from “The Wizard of Oz” and most of the action takes place long before Dorothy arrived with Toto in tow. The narrative is told in flashback by Glinda as the citizens of Oz celebrate the death of Elphaba. Glinda reveals that the two not only knew each other in college, but were unlikely BFFs. “Wicked” shows how that friendship shaped all of Oz, touching on everything from animal rights and feminism to dirty politics and fake news.
And throughout the two and a half hour running time (with a 15-minute intermission) you can see that bond between the two witches in countless little ways, a twinkle in the eye here, a warm smile there. It is the kind of friendship that only girls seem to have. The fizzy-fuzzy energy between Mason and Morrissey powers this version of “Wicked” and is the very real magic of the show.
“Wicked” runs through March 4 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; 6:30 p.m. Sundays; 2 p.m. matinee Saturdays; 1 p.m. matinee Sundays. Tickets are $25-$169. To order, call 954-462-0222 or go to BrowardCenter.org.
A day-of-performance lottery for a limited number of seats will be held two and half hours prior to each performance. Participants should meet at the Broward Center box office to have their names placed in the lottery drawing for a limited number of orchestra seats at $25 each. The tickets are cash only and the lottery is available only in-person at the box office, with a limit of two tickets per person. Lottery participants must have a valid photo ID when submitting their entry form and, if chosen, when purchasing tickets.