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Stage review: 'Wicked' is wonderful

Published: Saturday, July 4 2015 5:59 a.m. MDT

The national touring company's production of the musical The national touring company's production of the musical "Wicked" opened at the Capitol Theatre on Wednesday. (Joan Marcus)

"WICKED," through Aug. 26, Capitol Theatre, 801-325-2788, run time: 2 hours, 45 minutes (one intermission)

I have a confession to make: I've seen "Wicked" a few times. Heard the soundtrack countless times. And, as the original host of the radio program Showtune Saturday Night, played more requests from "Wicked" than any other show, at the time.

And I've yet to get through "For Good" without tearing up like my 4-year-old struggling to get her socks on just right.

I mean it. I can't even sing along in the car without getting all choked up.

Opening night of the Broadway tour of "Wicked" was no exception. The song comes (most in Salt Lake City know exactly what I'm talking about) and I'm moved. Every time.

Alli Mauzey, left, as Glinda and Nicole Parker as Elphaba in Alli Mauzey, left, as Glinda and Nicole Parker as Elphaba in "Wicked." (Joan Marcus)

Blockbuster "Wicked" is back in Utah for the second time — the first time being a record-breaker for presenter, MagicSpace. This go-round is set to do the same.

This production ought to please the rabid Salt Lake City fans. It's bright, its direction is tight, they work magic in the snug Capitol Theatre space and it's very green.

The tour sets up shop in Capitol Theatre for 5 ½ weeks — but there are only scattered seats left — mostly on Sundays. Limited tickets are also available via a drawing before each show.

First, the witches: Nicole Parker hits a home run as Elphaba — the Wicked Witch of the West. Having played the green gal on Broadway, her soaring belt-notes make the Stephen Schwartz score sound almost easy to sing (it's not.) She has a nice softness towards Glinda and Parker is also quite funny. Her "Wizard and I" and "Defying Gravity" are top-notch.

Crews set up for the  Broadway musical Crews set up for the Broadway musical "Wicked" in preparation for its return engagement in Utah at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City Tuesday, July 17, 2012. The production runs from July 18 to Aug. 26. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Alli Mauzey wears the crown of Glinda — the Good Witch of the North. Mauzey's acting was very enjoyable, and her delivery quite charming and funny. Her singing voice, however, too often settles into a nasally sound that is a bit distracting. Mauzey delivers a wonderfully moving "Thank Goodness" — a song reflecting on how sometimes getting what you want just doesn't feel the way you thought it would.

The duo has a natural chemistry with one another, an important element in a story that spends much time on the relationship between the two. "For Good" is, of course, beautiful.

The supporting characters are also terrific. Andy Kelso (Fiyero), Liz McCartney (Madame Morrible), PJ Benjamin (Wizard) and the rest of the cast turn in energetic performances.

Though the musical, a story about how the witches in the Wizard of Oz came to be, appeals heavily to teenage girls, there is still plenty to digest for adults. The piece delves into goodness and wickedness, how histories are created and how politicians have direct influence on our lives. If you've seen "Wicked" before, you may find yourself struck by different elements. For me, it was the friendship that stood out — how relationships morph and change; how they change us, for better or worse; and how one day, someone changes their actions and the friendship begins to unravel.

Crews set up for the  Broadway musical Crews set up for the Broadway musical "Wicked" in preparation for its return engagement in Utah at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City Tuesday, July 17, 2012. The production runs from July 18 to Aug. 26. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

The live orchestra — supplemented by nine local musicians — sounds fantastic, and Thursday night was mostly free of any technical glitches.

This tour is very similar to the production on Broadway and worth your money and a night out.

It's good to see the witches back in Salt Lake City.

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