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A “Wicked” Night in San Diego

Witches flew into San Diego for Halloween this year—the Broadway musical “Wicked” premiered at the San Diego Civic Theatre on Oct. 31.

The musical premiered on Broadway in October 2003 and has been touring domestically and internationally ever since. With music and lyrics written by Stephen Schwartz, the musical has been well-regarded since its premiere and has won a Grammy and three Tony awards. Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth starred as the musical’s original leads, dazzling audiences on stage and on the original cast album.

General Manager of Broadway San Diego Vanessa Davis called it, “one of the most popular shows on Broadway…that’s excited and captivated audiences across America and internationally.”

Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, the musical tells the backstory of witches, both bad and good, from the fictional land of Oz. Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West, is immediately deemed an outcast because she was born with unnaturally green skin. Glinda the Good is the popular girl that everyone wants to befriend. The unlikely pair crosses paths at school as roommates, and what begins as a loathing relationship develops into an unpredictable friendship. That said, familial struggles and political issues in Oz ultimately drive the two in different directions.

The musical depicts the struggle between good and evil and the way each is defined by society. Senior media communication major Jordan Griffith said, “it tells the story that the ‘majority vote’ doesn’t,” after seeing the Halloween performance in San Diego. She described Elphaba, who is seen as evil by the people of Oz, as a bold and courageous character that is inspiring to audiences. Griffith, like many “Wicked” fans, has seen the musical multiple times. “I knew what was coming but the magic of the music and story felt new and refreshing—almost nostalgic,” she said.

The musical’s playbills and website read, “So much happened before Dorothy dropped in,” a nod to the well-known 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” and its main character, Dorothy Gale. A tornado drops her house in Oz, and the movie portrays her quest to get back home to Kansas. She must get to the wizard and defeat the Wicked Witch of the West. The musical gives audiences a unique perspective on the witch and why she was judged “wicked” by the people of Oz, prior to Dorothy’s arrival.

San Diego’s performance of “Wicked” stars Jackie Burns as Elphaba and Kara Lindsay as Glinda. Burns delivered a stunning performance in the Oct. 31 premiere and “holds the title of Broadway’s longest-running Elphaba,” according to Playbill. Lindsay portrayed a bubbly and comical Glinda and has starred in other musicals including “Newsies” and “Beautiful.”

“Wicked” will be in San Diego until Nov. 25 with 10 shows a week. Tickets are still available on Ticketmaster for matinee and evening performances.


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Eliza Jason

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