Total Rating: 
October 7, 2003
October 30, 2003
open run (as of September 2014)
New York
New York
Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B Platt & David Stone.
Theater Type: 
Gershwin Theater
Theater Address: 
221 West 51st Street
Running Time: 
2 hrs, 45 min
Score: Stephen Schwartz; Book: Winnie Holzman, adapting Gregory Maguire novel
Joe Mantello

Say what you will about songwriter Stephen Schwartz, when he puts on a show, it's a show. You get a production, in the David Merrick sense of the word - but in a pop/modern way. With Wicked, not only does Schwartz get an impressive set and special effects to match his breezy music and deft, if sometimes overreaching lyrics, he gets a brilliant, layered book by Winnie Holzman and two (count `em, two!) star turns. Kristin Chenoweth's perky, peachy, Glinda is all Shirley Temple-goes-gidget, with tons of sparkle and a voice nearly as angelic as her "good witch" persona. Though her character is supposed to be hideously ugly, Idina Menzel actually looks like a green-colored supermodel - and sings like a superwoman. We instantly take this misunderstood girl to heart and root for her, even as all totalitarian Oz shuns her and (via some overtly Bush-bashing metaphors) tries to make fiction into official state policy. But politics and the piece's literary roots aside (readers of L. Frank Baum apparently have a field day both reveling in and disputing the libretto's liberties), Wicked is by turns hilarious and deeply moving -- a nifty evening of song and spectacle.

Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel (Elphaba), Joel Grey (Wizard), Carole Shelley, Norbert Leo Butz, Christopher Fitzgerald, Michelle Federer, William Youmans, Ioana Alfonso, Ben Cameron, Cristy Candler, Melissa Bell Chait, Marcus Choi, Kristoffer Cusick, Kathy Deitch, Melissa Fahn, Rhett G. George, Kristen Lee Gorski, Manuel Herrera, Kisha Howard, Jan Neuberger, LJ Jellison, Sean McCourt, Corinne McFadden, Mark Myars, Walter Winston ONeil, Andrew Palermo, Andy Pellick, Michael Seelbach, Lorna Ventura, Derrick Williams
Musical staging: Wayne Cilento; Orchestrations: William David Brohn; Music director: Stephen Oremus. Sets: Eugene Lee; Costumes: Susan Hilferty; Lighting: Kenneth Posner; Sound: Tony Meola; Projections: Elaine J. McCarthy; Wigs/hair: Tom Watson; Production supervisor: Steven Beckler; Dance arrangements: James Lynn Abbott; Special effects: Chic Silber; Flying sequences: Paul Rubin/ZFX Inc.
2004 Tonys: Leading Actress (Menzel), Set, Costumes.
Other Critics: 
TOTALTHEATER David Lefkowitz !
David Lefkowitz
Date Reviewed: 
December 2003