When tickets went on sale for the inaugural season of the Smith Center I knew I had to have them not so much for the four shows that were included but for the place in line they would give me for Wicked tickets. I have wanted to see Wicked for years, ever since I received the soundtrack (amazon affiliate link) as a gift and loved it. After missing the last minute lottery for tickets in Tempe, Arizona a few years ago I knew I had to get tickets to see it in Las Vegas. It did not disappoint, and as an added bonus I won tickets to a special private performance through a twitter contest a few weeks after my husband and I saw the full performance!
The story of the musical is based on Gregory Maguire’s book of the same title (amazon affiliate link, as of writing this the Kindle edition of the book is only $2.99) but does diverge from the book (Wikepedia). Set in the fictional land of Oz and looking at the events leading up to and including the book by L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, it is a lavish and beautiful musical. There were so many details that I don’t think I ever once wondered how much time had passed as we sat in the Smith Center. The Review-Journal said that the musical has heart and I agree.
The story follows Elphaba (later “The Wicked Witch of the West”), born with green skin and ostracized even in her own family growing up, as she rises to infamy. I didn’t expect the story to cover the period of time when Dorothy is in the land of Oz or to almost be equally the tale of Galinda (later “Glinda the Good Witch of the South”). The songs gave me goosebumps and I was worried that being so familiar with the soundtrack I would notice differences with this live touring group of performers but I loved all their voices. In fact, I preferred many of them over the soundtrack versions, they really made the show their own.
I was on cloud nine after the show and even my husband had a nice time though I think some of the angst in the friendship of Glinda and Elphaba wasn’t as appealing to him as it was to me. Randomly I was online in time to enter (and win!) a Twitter contest for tickets to a hear a set of three songs from Wicked live at the Smith Center, sponsored by our local radio station, Mix 94.1 (part of their Underground Lounge series). We were able to hear the performers for Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero sing accompanied by the musical director for the Wicked touring company (I did not write their names down but will update this post with them when I am able to confirm them).
We had actually seen the understudy for Fiyero perform the day we caught the full performance of Wicked and made sure to let him know during the meet and greet that we had really enjoyed the show. All three were poised and so talented. How amazing it must be to get into character and sing your heart out. The songs we were treated to were: “The Wizard and I,” “As Long as You’re Mine,” and “For Good.” All three became my new favorites, I don’t know if that makes me easily swayed but I honestly heard so much nuance and beauty in the songs that I sometimes would skip through to get to the more soaring notes of “Defying Gravity.”
Thank you to the Smith Center, Mix 94.1, and the entire cast and crew from Wicked for sharing all this talent with Las Vegas. Such a treat and worth every bit of anticipation both for the actual show and for the bonus performance. I first read that Wicked was coming to Las Vegas when our son was still a newborn and I recall doing the math in my head and hoping that he would be old enough to be without me for a few hours by the time the show rolled in. Sure enough, both the kids were great for Grandma when the big day arrived. I just realized that I’ve been smiling the entire time I wrote this post just remembering the wonderful experiences. My favorite Smith Center show to date!