Wicked at The Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto: REVIEW

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Lauren Samuels as Elphaba and Austen Danielle Bohmer as Glinda in the National Tour of WICKED, photo credit Joan Marcus 2024
Lauren Samuels as Elphaba and Austen Danielle Bohmer as Glinda in the National Tour of WICKED, photo credit Joan Marcus 2024

Wicked is one of the most popular shows on Broadway and last Wednesday, I got a chance to see why. This musical offers enormous appeal to both adults and children alike since the story takes place before Dorothy enters Oz, thus audience awareness of the characters and backstory is extremely high. The current production of Wicked at the Princess of Wales Theatre features the U.S. touring cast. With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and the book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked checks all the boxes including memorable songs, outstanding performances, a strong message about seeing beyond appearances, and glitzy production values!

Lauren Samuels as Elphaba and Austen Danielle Bohmer as Glinda in the National Tour of WICKED, photo credit Joan Marcus 2024
Lauren Samuels as Elphaba and Austen Danielle Bohmer as Glinda in the National Tour of WICKED, photo credit Joan Marcus 2024




The Wizard of Oz fans know about the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch and in Wicked, we find out how they achieved their reputations. As girls growing up, Glinda, The Good Witch was a schoolmate of Elphaba, The Wicked Witch at Shiz University. Their relationship, however, was defined by jealousy and competition. Elphaba was also shunned by most of her classmates due to her green skin, a skin condition from birth as a result of her mother’s romantic dalliance. Due to her distorted perception of herself, she grows up believing she is wicked, although we know otherwise as she displays great caring for her sister Nessarose, who is wheelchair-bound due to a premature birth. Glinda, or Galinda, as she is originally known, is as shallow as a raindrop – she thinks she is universally loved and admired and when she meets the dynamic Fiyero, a former prince, she assumes he is in love with her. Not to give the story away, but let’s just say that there are several twists and turns as Elphaba, who displays a talent for sorcery, ends up going to Oz to work with the Wonderful Wizard while Glinda’s life path does not lead to where she expected.

Austen Danielle Bohmer brings her exceptional soprano voice and impeccable comedic timing to the role of Glinda.

Lauren Samuels as Elphaba is equally outstanding, showcasing extreme power in her vocal range and competently conveying her character’s confusing blend of angry aloofness, passion and pure goodness.

When Xavier Mackinnon (Fiyero) opens his mouth to sing in “Dancing Through Life,” it is a delightful revelation. What a voice with a beautiful tone, being both rich and tender!

 




The most outstanding songs include “I’m Not That Girl,” “No Mourns The Wicked,” “As Long As You’re Mine,” and “For Good”. The songs I was not as impressed with due to their predictable, basic melodies including “Wonderful,” “Thank Goodness,” and “Popular” and I admit that this is probably an unpopular opinion.

Chic Silber’s incredible special effects included an imposing Oz head, Glinda’s floating bubble, Elphaba rising above the ground and flying monkeys. Kenneth Posner’s dynamic lighting was dazzlingly effective in the Emerald City.

Susan Hilferty’s costumes are at their best during the entry into the Land of Oz, where each character donned a frilly, elaborate green outfit. Glinda’s formal gown is also exceptionally exquisite. Doctor Dillamond’s goat head and furry coat are fun and convincing.

At two hours and 45 minutes, the production felt longer due to the decision to insert the intermission a good 90 minutes into the show. Having said that, the production of Wicked at the Princess of Wales Theatre is a must-see event for any serious theatre-goer!

Wicked at The Princess of Wales Theatre is being performed until July 21, 2024. The Princess of Wales Theatre is located at 300 King Street West. Performances at Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Purchase tickets online at Mirvish.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. Your review of “Wicked” at Princess of Wales Theatre seems like an incredible show! Despite its length, it sounds like a must-see for any theater enthusiast!

  2. I love watching theater plays so much. I hope I can have a chance to enjoy and watch this live in a theater. Im so excited.

  3. I’m so jealous you got to experience Wicked on Broadway! It’s truly a captivating show with its unique take on the Wizard of Oz backstory.

    • Hi Lavanda, I actually didn’t see Wicked on Broadway. I saw it in Toronto, but it was the U.S. Touring Cast so it was almost like seeing the Broadway production! Cheers, Lori

  4. WOW, how cool is this! I would love to see “Wicked” at Princess of Wales on Boardway, what a great experience, I’m sure. I know my kids would love this as well especially since it’s a twist of the backstory of the Wizard of Oz!

  5. I have always wanted to watch Wicked on Broadway. It is definitely a great way to spend your Saturday afternoon. Happy to know that we can purchase online.

  6. I bet this was an incredible show to see live. I love it and would mlove to see this one and love the pictures! The cast is impeccably dressed and makes for a great show and performance!

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