When Wicked opened in October 2003, critics instantly fell in love with the show’s stars, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, who played “bad” witch Elphaba and “good” witch Glinda, respectively. It marked a high point for two Broadway stars, both of whom have since transcended (and in both cases, returned to) their stage roots. But the show as a whole divided critics. Time loved it: “If every musical had a brain, a heart, and the courage of Wicked,” wrote critic Richard Zoglin, “Broadway really would be a magical place.” Variety‘s Charles Isherwood said the show’s plot was “muddled.” And what’d we think here at EW? We were sort of in the middle. Reviewer Alice King gave the show a B while praising Menzel and Chenoweth: “It’s the Wicked witches who really make magic.”
So, for the final review from our series looking back at the five longest-running shows on the Great White Way, I checked out Wicked once again, nearly seven years after it opened. And I found that this fifth longest-running show — a heart-filled production I first saw at the tail-end of Menzel and Chenoweth’s run — is still totally spellbinding, well-produced, and completely enrapturing. As I looked at it from all angles, I realized producers haven’t let the show fall off at all. And despite losing its original stars (Katie Rose Clarke, who currently plays Glinda, is pictured here), the production still manages to churn with life — and most of all, lots of feeling. There is still something magical about Oz. Or rather, this inventive, showtune-laced twist on Oz. (Read my full review here.) Have you seen Wicked lately — or ever? Do you agree that the show is still rather magical?
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky