Stage Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Wicked Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman's Wicked is a deliciously salty antidote to all those saccharine Broadway musicals that are too common these days. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, the story is about what was going on behind the scenes in the Land of Oz when Dorothy and Toto were happily skipping down the Yellow Brick Road on their way to see the Wizard. Over the course of the smartly skeptical show, we learn that good and bad aren't always easy to identify and that people in power tell big lies. Glinda the Good Witch (played here by a wonderfully naughty Christina DeCicco) starts out life as a spoiled brat, while Elphaba (played by the dark beauty Victoria Matlock), more commonly known as the Wicked Witch of the West, is a thoughtful girl who cares deeply about others. The two meet in school and become fast friends even though they're so different. Elphaba wants to change the world, while Glinda just wants to have fun. What happens once the two girls get to Oz explains a lot about that talking Tin Man, the Scarecrow and that falling house from Kansas. There's love songs ("I'm Not That Girl"), girl power tunes (#212For Good") and lots of powerful feeling by the end of this story, which doesn't end sweetly like so many dreadful musicals these days. Instead, it ends on a thoughtful note filled with fragile hope. Through April 15. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 713-629-3700.

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