As I sat in the Durham Performing Arts Center on Saturday May 1, there was no where I wanted to be less.
DPAC was in the middle of showing their production of Wicked, which featured a national traveling cast. My mother, a 3-time Wicked veteran, dragged me to the musical that afternoon.
Musicals had never really been my thing, as a child I watched Cabaret with front row tickets, they were wasted on me. Several years after that, I watched the Lion King. The audience was gasping every few moments; all I could do was yawn.
However, as soon as the lights dimmed and the singing began on May 1, I realized I was in for an entirely new experience.
The show, a prequel to the original Wizard of Oz show, featured a plethora of realistic costumes to add into the fantasy aspect. For example, Elfaba’s green skin at times made me forget she was an actress as opposed to a green fiend.
The musical began with flying monkeys garbed from head to toe in horrifyingly accurate masks and wings, a feat that would captivate the wild mood of the entire musical.
The original mind-blowing feeling that started with the monkeys never seemed to fade, the acting was spot-on, and there were no noticeable errors throughout the production, all the singers appeared to hit their notes, and the dancing was spot on.
The singing was surreal; I had never dreamed that I’d see so much talent packed into one room. Every actor was on key, and the orchestra performed flawlessly, working their way to a crescendo in every song. The only weak link was the character of Glenda, whose voice would still have been the star of many productions.
Unfortunately, after the first act, the play was all downhill. Although the second half wasn’t bad, it was comparatively less enthralling than the opening.
Throughout the second act, the play became darker and the songs less enticing to listen to, the focus seemed to switch from entertaining me to scaring me, though this was not particularly a bad thing.
Overall, Wicked was an excellent production that could surprise even the most skeptical viewers. The entire atmosphere of the play will immerse anyone, and it is an experience that none should miss out on.