A 12 year old and her Oma review the musical “Wicked”

My 12 year old niece and my mom saw Wicked for the first time last week and loved it (of course)! Here are their delightful reviews. Wicked plays The Paramount Theatre in downtown Seattle now through August 2nd.

Wicked review by Nara Deller, age 12: 

Before Dorothy, before Toto, when the tin man and the scarecrow were still human…

Wicked is the story of how the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good came to be. It’s about the witches of Oz, an unlikely friendship, and different paths you choose in life. The curtain draws you in with an amazing map of Oz. The amazing sets, brilliant costumes, and powerful music (songs like Popular, Defying Gravity, and For Good) set the stage for all the talented performers! Glinda (Alyssa Fox) was very funny, she got everyone laughing, and Elphaba (Carrie St. Louis) was outstanding in her emerald role.

Great cast. Powerful music. Loud. Amazing sets. Hilarious Dialogue.

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Wicked review by Jeanne Deller, Nara’s Oma:

Venturing about town on our way to Wicked at the Paramount Theatre, my granddaughter and I discovered multitudes of like-minded musical theatre aficionados thrilled to be welcoming this rollicking show back to Seattle.

This avant-garde, heart-warming portrayal of hard-won, most-unlikely friendships takes us to the Land of Oz, pre-Dorothy, with familiar characters peppered throughout. Stephen Schwartz’s music and lyrics bring wickedly funny and daring escapades to light in introducing villains and heroes alike.

Elphaba (Alyssa Fox) and Glinda (Carrie St.Louis) are outstanding in their respective roles as bad witch and good witch. Glinda’s over-the-top self-absorption keeps the crowd laughing – her character even more lively and animated than when the show began its blockbuster Broadway run 12 years ago.

Brilliant casting, superb staging, incredible costuming – all intermingled with high-flying monkeys and more. Wicked continues to impact audiences around the world in the most positive way – forever changing lives “For Good!” Grab your friends, significant other, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews (recommended for ages 8 and up) and join all those Seattleites out there who are basking in Wicked’s glow.  Choral numbers “Popular” and “For Good” are alone worth the price of admission. You have through August 2nd to catch this dynamite show and join in the rousing, standing ovation with the drop of the curtain on the final act.

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Buy your tickets to Wicked now (or learn about their day-of $25 ticket lottery).

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Photos by Joan Marcus.

Review of Fela! (on tour in Seattle through June 2nd)

I had a chance to see Fela! at The Paramount in downtown Seattle this week. The music really gets me moving and the first act was incredible – athletic, engaging dancers, gorgeous choreography, beautiful costumes (I want that black and yellow ensemble – the way those skirts move – wow!) and a lead actor who carries the whole audience with him as he tells the story of his character, Fela Muti.  Adesola Osakalumi is amazingly captivating. His charm, charisma, moves and passion get the audience on their feet to dance with the cast early in the show and take us through the experience of Fela!

Addressing a very serious subject (political activism in a corrupt Nigerian society) is very challenging within the style of musical theatre. The beginning of the show is fun and energetic while the second act is marred with the reality of things that happen to Fela and his family. While I loved the first act, the second act left me wanting more. It’s incredibly challenging to stay true to history while keeping the energy that the audience experiences in the first act alive, but I believe the book could be stronger – celebrating how the energy and music and message of Fela lives on, even after his death to end the show. It seemed to try to do this, but fell short.  The storytelling of the show is also problematic – most of the show is just Fela talking to us about what happened to him between songs, rather than having the action take place on stage. I did love the use of subtitles in the art projected on the back of the screen, however, which helped the audience understand more of his message during the show. Michelle Williams I believe was a casting mistake – her vocal power is weak and her sound didn’t match the rest of the cast. She wasn’t able to make the leap from pop singer to actor and the sound of her voice was distracting. Luckily, the talent, sound and power of Osakalumi, the amazing dancers and the incredible band made up for this, however.

The music is incredible, the dancing is incredible. I think the second act has some real problems.   I was expecting to learn more about what Fela was protesting than I did. But all in all, I’m glad I got a chance to see this show. There will definitely be more afrobeat music in my future – something I didn’t really have on my radar before hearing about this musical. This show won Tonys for Best Choreography, Costume Design of a Musical and Sound Design of a Musical. Buy tickets here (closes June 2nd).

…but don’t just take my word for it!

Read reviews from:

Seattle Actor

Culture Mob

Broadway World

The Stranger

The Seattle Times

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