January 12, 2014


1st National Tour
Boston Opera House 8-17-13 (matinee)
Providence Performing Arts Center 12-29-13 (matinee), 1-4-14 (matinee), 1-7-14

Today, the First National Tour of Wicked will once again vacate the Providence Performing Arts Center, moving on to another American city. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in October, Wicked has become a familiar old friend to many theatre-goers who have seen the show multiple times... some in the double digits.... some reaching the TRIPLE digits (now that’s dedication). I, myself, just hit #14-- one Broadway performance and 13 National Tour performances in Boston, Providence, Philadelphia, and Hartford. For a while, Wicked followed me around the United States as I moved from New England to Philadelphia and then back to New England, and so it’s been quite easy to catch a performance at least once or twice per year. As I said, Wicked is like an old familiar friend, one that offers a simple but beautiful message, while simultaneously blowing the audience away with its electrifying score and breathtaking special effects. Wicked is, indeed, something special. 

If you follow my blog, you are very likely to have seen Wicked at some point, and so I doubt that a long synopsis is warranted. Suffice it to say, Wicked is described as “the untold story of the witches of Oz. 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. Wicked tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good” (retrieved from http://www.wickedthemusical.com/the-show). I would add that its Ozian origins may attract an audience, but Wicked is truly its own story, and a much, MUCH better story than The Wizard of Oz

The purpose of this blog is not to review Wicked. I really don’t need to do that. Wicked has not only established its place in modern day musical theatre, but has also raised the bar for other new musicals during the last ten years, and that speaks louder than anything I could write. Instead, I would like to share some of the things I enjoyed about this particular cast. 

Gina Beck comes from the West End production on Wicked, where she played Galinda for two years. We should all welcome her to the U.S. because she was a fantastic Galinda! 

1.) I love her accent. Obviously, she is from the U.K., but she spoke with an American accent that suggested the slightest hint of British. The accent was perfect for Galinda- it made the character seem less childish and truly from the “Upper Uplands.”  

2.) I’ve seen many actresses emphasize the childish, egotistical side of Galinda, and sure, watching her act like an airhead or a dumb blonde is perfectly funny, but sometimes I miss the depth. Of all the Galindas I’ve seen, Gina was the most balanced.  By balanced, I mean that she was the perfect amount of childishness, self-absorption, and ignorance, which was perfectly balanced with insight, sincerity, and kindness. She didn’t overplay the ditziness (thank goodness). It never seemed that she was trying too hard to give an over-the-top performance; rather, she embodied the character naturally. She was also one of the strongest Galindas vocally that I’ve heard to date. 

This was my first time seeing Alison Luff perform, and she has certainly joined the ranks of the preceding Elphabas that I’ve been fortunate to see. Her Elphaba was young, vulnerable, and sweet. 

1.) What really stood out about her performance were her scenes with Galinda. The chemistry between the two witches just seemed more apparent with these two actresses. I enjoyed “For Good” more than I typically do. Actually, I felt like I was hearing the song for the first time (again). 


Oh no, that dreaded piece of paper just fell out of your playbill!  Have no fear. Laurel Harris will not disappoint you, not even one bit. Between Boston and Providence, I saw Laurel twice as Elphaba and Alison twice as Elphaba. Both were fantastic. So have no fear. 

1.) I think Laurel is one of those Elphabas who makes it look really easy. Being on stage for three hours, singing songs like “The Wizard and I”, “Defying Gravity”, and “No Good Deed” surely cannot be easy, yet everything about her performance was done with ease. 

2.) Great belter. I wish I’d seen her as Eva Peron on Broadway. 


1.) Best Wizard I’ve ever seen, hands down. Confession: I usually view the Wizard as a character that exists solely to propel the plot forward, not as a comedic role. I don’t know exactly what made this Wizard different from the others. His comedic timing? His mannerisms?  I have no idea. But, he was SO FUNNY. I loved his scenes. And for the first time, I actually felt sorry for the Wizard when (SPOILER) he finds out that Elphaba was his daughter. 


1.) Again, she is another cast member that seemed to breathe some new life into a character that’s been portrayed by many before her. She portrayed Morrible as younger and a bit more quirky and eccentric yet kind of endearing?  She may be a villain, but I didn't hate her this time! 

So there you have it! Thanks for reading! Oz speed. 


  1. Great performance. One of the few that I don't mind seeing over and over again. I did see Laurel Harris and she did not disappoint me. Defying Gravity gave me goosebumps.