Jessica's program from the performance at the Benedum in Pitttsburgh
Jessica’s program from the performance at the Benedum in Pitttsburgh

Wicked, “the untold story of the witches of Oz,” has come to Pittsburgh and is sure to leave a “handprint on [the] heart” of its audience. As a first time spectator, the show itself is overwhelmingly impressive. It is now glaringly obvious why people travel miles and miles to behold such a spectacle. Before the show even began, the house was practically vibrating with energy and anticipation—and for good reason. The musical itself never has a dull moment. The fast paced plot is marked with wit, drama, and characters who, despite the fantasy nature of the show, are incredibly real and relatable. This is much to the credit of the performers themselves. Even a first time viewer can see that the primary roles are incredibly demanding both physically and vocally, not to mention the necessary mastery of comedic timing. Alison Luff, who portrays Elphaba, is not only an incredible vocalist but a phenomenal actress whose voice captures the emotion of every song exactly as the show intends. Alison Fraser, a two-time Tony Award nominee, lends her unique and distinct voice to the character of Madame Morrible, a voice which definitely helped her sculpt her portrayal of the pivotal character. Besides the primary cast characters, the chorus played a huge role in maintaining the energy of the show. As a collective, they were cohesive—notable simply because they remained permanently involved in any given scene. No actor played a small part in contributing to the world of the play.
Acting and singing aside, the show is written to be a “stunner.” The effects are wicked cool… excuse the pun (or don’t.) Magnetized tracks, dramatic lighting, floating objects, floating people—all are part of the sensation of the show. However, the most impressive property has to be the giant head of Oz. The head which appears to float in mid-air is terrifying and fascinating at the same time. With glowing eyes and a moving mandible, the piece itself manages to elicit a visceral response through its sheer impressiveness. Furthermore, the piece also enhances the steam-punk-esque set design which is both interesting and visually appealing. In short, the show was practically above all criticism.
Although seats are near impossible to come by this late in the run, and those still available are expensive, the experience is one of a kind and completely worth the money.

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