Review: WICKED presented by Broadway Across America at DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids, MI
Wicked stands as an iconic institution and a renowned brand in the realm of musical theatre. Acting as the gateway drug to this captivating art form, it held that role for me nearly a decade ago. It’s surreal to realize that almost 13 years have passed since Elphaba graced Grand Rapids with her presence, yet Oz has finally made a triumphant return to The DeVos Performance Hall in all its emerald splendor.
For many casual theatergoers, Wicked is the pinnacle event drawing them to DeVos Performance Hall to witness a grand spectacle. In its unique way, Wicked has evolved into a tradition embraced by families, couples, and individuals worldwide, resonating across generations with the tale of a green outcast.
As for the storyline, let’s get straight to it. If you’re perusing this on wickedtour.net, chances are you know it by heart. Elphaba (Olivia Valli) and Glinda (Celia Hottenstein) forge an unlikely bond at boarding school, unaware that Elphaba will become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.
Wicked, as a musical, serves as a launching pad for outstanding performers entering the industry. Like the discerning headmistress of the show, Wicked recognizes talent and knows how to discover it. The current leads on the road, Olivia Valli as Elphaba and Celia Hottenstein as Glinda, exemplify this. Valli adeptly navigates the emotional nuances while showcasing vocal prowess. Hottenstein’s Glinda steals the show, seamlessly blending comedic brilliance with vocal excellence. Her bold choices and willingness to embrace silliness add a delightful charm to her portrayal.
The supporting cast also delivers commendable performances. Christian Thompson’s Fieryo exudes suavity and charm, accompanied by dreamy vocals. Timothy Shew and Sharon Sachs shine as the deliciously dastardly antagonists, with Sachs reveling in her portrayal of evil, making it a joy to watch.
The production remains top-notch and technically impressive, standing out as one of the most elaborate shows on the current touring circuit. The intricate details within the show’s design continue to captivate, offering a fresh experience even during my eleventh journey to Oz.
Wicked’s return, after a hiatus since 2015, feels like a welcomed return to normalcy. Something that was absent has now come back, rekindling the city’s excitement. If you’ve witnessed the magic and loved it, that sentiment remains. For those yet to experience the show, envy accompanies the anticipation of your first encounter with its enchantment. The exhibition is akin to one grand party with a green hue, and the only advice I can offer is to secure your tickets promptly while they’re still available.