BROADWAY IN TUCSON

'Wicked': bells, whistles, but not much else

2013-03-24T00:00:00Z 2013-03-25T10:12:36Z 'Wicked': bells, whistles, but not much elseKathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

This is why you want to see "Wicked":

• The musical, which Broadway in Tucson rolled out this week for an extended run, is a spectacular light show.

• It's a stunning costume and wig parade.

• It's got an ace cast with pristine acting and singing chops.

• It's got flying monkeys and a talking goat, for goodness sake.

This is why you may want to skip it:

• It lacks a script that stretches beyond OK, and songs that, with a few exceptions, aren't terribly memorable.

Yet it is wildly popular.

Kids - often with parents in tow - see it again and again. Heck, even some adults do.

Here's a theory on why: Once you see it, it dims in the memory. This reviewer has seen it three - wait, four - times over several years, and each time it was as though it were the first.

"Wicked" just doesn't stick. It is as thin as the smoke that is used so copiously in the production.

That makes Dee Roscioli's Elphaba especially surprising - she has played the green gal more than any other actress. Yet she seemed committed and fresh in Thursday's sold-out performance at the Tucson Music Hall.

Jenn Gambatese recently joined the cast in the role of Glinda and she showed a strong comedic streak as well as a powerful voice that was operatic at times.

There were plenty of highlights. Tom McGowan (if he looks familiar, it may be because he has a long film and television resume) gave a dapper devilishness to his Wizard. Curt Hansen is a handsome Fiyero who showed a nice arc from charming and thoughtless to a man with a bit of depth. Justin Brill's Boq was tender and a tad tragic.

Demaree Hill did a fine job in the thankless role of Nessarose, which is under written and not particularly interesting, and Kim Zimmer was wonderfully over the top as Madame Morrible.

"Wicked" is an entertaining spectacle with all sorts of bells and whistles but not much else.

And in the eyes of many of those who quickly rose from their seats at Thursday's performance, that seemed to be more than enough.

Review

• What: The national tour of "Wicked."

• Director: Joe Mantello.

• Presented by: Broadway in Tucson

• When: Continues through April 7. 1 and 6:30 p.m. today; 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 2 and 7:30 p.m. next Sunday.

• Where: Tucson Music Hall at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave.

• Cost: $45-$165. A lottery for $25 orchestra seats happens two hours before every show. You can throw your name into a hat beginning 2 1/2 hours before curtain. Cash only.

• Reservations, information: 1-800-745-3000, BroadwayinTucson.com or in person at the TCC box office, where you can avoid the hefty Ticketmaster service charge.

• Running time: About 2 hours and 50 minutes, with one intermission.

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@azstarnet.com or 573-4128.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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