�Wicked� answers many long-held questions about the witches of Oz

By TERRY MATHEWS | News-Telegram Arts Editor

Apr. 23, 2007 - We know what happened to the Wicked Witch of the West when Dorothy threw water on her at the end of “The Wizard of Oz.”

She melted away.

Or did she? And, for the record, why was she green? What was the story with her sister and those ruby slippers? And, did you notice the tension between her and Glinda, the Good Witch of the North? Why did those scary flying monkeys seem so devoted to her? And, was she born wicked or was it thrust upon her?

These questions and more are answered in the musical “Wicked,” which opened last Wednesday for a three-week run at the Music Hall at Fair Park. The Broadway show originally played to sold-out houses in Dallas just two years ago. 

�Wicked� tells the back-story of the two women who become the wicked witch and the good witch in the fairy tale land of Oz.

The Dallas Summer Musical’s press release explains the plot like this: “Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One – born with emerald green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular.” 

The heart and soul of this production, what really makes it work, are Victoria Matlock and Christina DeCicco, the two women cast as Elphaba and Glinda.

Matlock plays the strong, fierce Elphaba with a confidence rarely found on the today’s stage. She’s tall, stately and steely. Her carriage and demeanor are all the more impressive when you consider that she spends the entire show in head-to-toe green makeup. The role could be reduced to a mockery in lesser hands.

DeCicco is the perfect foil for Elphaba’s seriousness. She bounces. She flirts. She shimmies. She tosses her hair. Men fall over themselves to do her bidding. Think “Barbie does Oz.” 

And, just when you think DeCicco is delivering a one-note performance, she digs deep and finds other dimensions and stands toe- to-toe with Matlock’s Elphaba.

Both women were in fine voice Thursday. Matlock’s was dark, deep and sultry, but she found the center of the high notes in the show-stopping “Defying Gravity” and “No Good Deed.” 

DeCicco’s first moments on the stage are more operatic than stage musical, but once she has our attention, she morphs into a perky ingénue. The girl has incredible range and more depth than is usually allotted to such a pretty face.

Voice and acting aside, this play would never work were there not genuine chemistry between the two women. 

Even though their on-stage friendship is repeatedly tested, the two actresses seemed to have genuine affection for one another. There were no divas on the stage. 

In the end, two women stood together, friends who had been “changed for the better –  changed for good” for having known one another.

�Wicked� continues to destroy all Broadway performance records and plays to sold-out crowds across the country, and no wonder.�

The national tour grossed $2.045 million in a single eight-performance week in St. Louis, which is the highest weekly box office gross in North American touring history.

The national tour has played to an average capacity of 99.5 percent per performance. The national tour has grossed over $155 million, 98 percent of its gross potential. The national tour has broken daily on-sale box office records for shows in Los Angeles, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago and San Francisco.

The set design, lighting, costumes and the traveling orchestra are first rate and during Thursday’s matinee, we didn’t hear even one bobble, rare in a touring company who normally need some settling-in time to meld the stars with local musicians, supporting players and technicians. 

�Wicked� has all the elements necessary of a quality musical� � a good story, great score, strong performances and that little something extra that leaves a handprint on our hearts.�

Brava!

Although the three-week run is sold out, there is still a chance to grab a ticket. There are a limited number of $25 best available seats. The tickets are limited to 2 per person, cash only. Two and a half hours prior to the performance, names will be collected. Two hours prior to the performance, names will be drawn and you must be present at the drawing to qualify.

For more information, contact Ticketmaster at 214-373-8000 or see the DSM website at www.dallassummermusicals.org.

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