Musical has wicked fun with ‘The Wizard of Oz’

  • By Theresa Goffredo / Herald Writer
  • Friday, September 22, 2006 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

This truly does restore our faith in musical theater.

That’s because it’s wickedly, wickedly good.

The Broadway blockbuster “Wicked” has flown into Seattle and was welcomed by a raucous, appreciative packed house at the Paramount Theatre on Thursday night.

And it was clear long before the standing ovation that the spell had been broken – great musicals can still be made.

“Wicked” is a great musical because it has all the trappings: the special effects, including a dramatic broomstick scene; an enchanting musical score; love and conflict; and a good story line, complete with a couple of “twisters” at the end.

The promotional material for “Wicked” intrigues us with the phrase “So much happened before Dorothy dropped in.” That is so true.

The story, from the Winnie Holzman book, takes us to the merry ol’ land of Oz where we learn how the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch came to be. This odyssey pairs these mismatched women – one is emerald green and fiery, the other blonde, adorable and popular – who learn in the end they have changed each other for the better.

Along the way, we see lots of our favorite characters from Oz: Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, but we see them in a different light.

The Wicked Witch, or Elphaba, is played by Portland native Shoshana Bean, who has been in “Hairspray” and “Godspell.” Her co-star is played by Bellevue native Megan Hilty, who made her Broadway debut as Glinda but whom we’ll certainly see again as her bubble rises.

Together, these women carried the show with deliciously hilarious dialogue that was pun-tastic. When they weren’t keeping the audience laughing, these witches were making memorable such Stephen Schwartz songs as “Defying Gravity” and “For Good.”

Together, they were just, well, magical.

Other cast standouts include the wickedly wonderful Alma Cuervo, who played Madame Morrible; P.J. Benjamin as The Wizard; and Sebastian Arcelus as the ladies’ love interest, Fiyero.

Arts writer Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424 or


“Wicked”: through Oct. 1, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $27 to $175. Ticket information:, 206-682-1414 or Ticketmaster.

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