MatthewSean Reviews

Book reviews, movie reviews, and other writing

Musical Review – Wicked — September 21, 2014

Musical Review – Wicked

Musical Review – Wicked

Facts: This review is  based on the Broadway musical that played at Centennial Concert Hall in August 2014 in Winnipeg.

Musical Synopsis: Based on the 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, this musical follows the life, times, inter-relationships, viewpoints, and decisions of Elphaba (later known as the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (later known as Glinda the Good Witch).  The musical tells us the “unknown story” behind the Wizard of Oz, and allows us into the details of Oz politics, sorcery, relations between different people and also with animals in Oz.  We see that things are not black and white, but that shades of grey must be considered when reviewing people or judging historical events.

Musical Review: This was my third time seeing the Wicked musical, and it seems to get better and better with each viewing!  The show was absolutely flawless from a technical point of view.  The music, the timing, the costumes, and the visual effects were fantastic.  Furthermore, the cast of characters was absolutely fabulous in their portrayals of these dynamic, complex characters.  From Elphaba and Glinda, right down to the Wizard, Madame Morrible, and other characters, the cast had clear chemistry between them, and delivered wonderful performances.  In particular, the singing prowess of the two leads through songs like Defying Gravity and For Good were particularly memorable and received standing ovations.  And of course this is all thanks to a genius author in Gregory Maguire and the music and lyrics from Steven Schwartz, who have provided us an environment of fantasy to enjoy and explore, being entertained with laughter, and being brought to tears.  Topics in the Oz environment definitely relate back to our own world, from race relations and discrimination, to religious views, to persecution of people who have different skills or abilities or viewpoints, to the tension behind power and those who seek it.  There are some differences, particular in the conclusion, between the novel and the musical, but both have their places and work well.  This is a fantastic musical, and worth seeing more than once!

April A-Z Challenge, April 15, Letter M: Musical Review – Avenue Q — April 15, 2014

April A-Z Challenge, April 15, Letter M: Musical Review – Avenue Q

April A-Z Challenge, April 15, Letter M: Musical Review – Avenue Q

Facts: This version of the Broadway musical played at Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC) Warehouse in April 2014 with a cast mainly from Winnipeg.

Musical Synopsis: A group of early-mid 20-somethings that reside on Avenue Q in New York are in various stages of finding themselves and getting started in the world post-college. We see them develop relationships, fall in love, get established in various jobs and careers, all with varying degrees of successes and challenges.

Musical Review: This was my first time seeing Avenue Q, although I had heard a lot of the music previously. I must say, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the musical, because the majority of characters are actually puppets, and the audience is meant to focus on the puppets, despite the fact we see the puppeteers on set voicing and physically manipulating the puppet characters themselves. An almost “Sesame-Street-for-adults” concept, complete with a puppet sex scene (lol), and I wasn’t sure how this was going to roll. And I must say, now that I’ve seen it, this musical was fun and hilarious! Lots of laughing and comedy throughout, even during moments where the script made some really great social commentary on a variety of issues. In that way, the writing was smart and fresh, and always funny.   The characters in the script were all interesting folks, such as Rod (in the closet to himself, but everyone else knowing he is likely gay), Princeton (the new kid on Avenue Q who just came out of college), Kate (the kindergarten T.A. who has dreams of building a “monster school” to help monster children, and who also has a crush on Princeton), and Christmas Eve (the fun Korean therapist with no clients because she’s so harsh). This variety of fun and enjoyable characters interact with each other and make some great jokes and share some interesting points throughout the musical. Furthermore, the Winnipeg cast did a phenomenal job, developing true chemistry with each other and creating a lively atmosphere for the audience. Talented singing was demonstrated by every cast member, as well as an ability to keep the audience laughing. You know it’s a successful show when it’s hard to choose your favourite character and favourite cast member! The music was enjoyable and upbeat, with standout pieces like “The More You Ruv Someone”, “Mix Tape”, “The Money Song”, and the one serious piece, “There’s a Fine, Fine Line”. Overall, this was a fantastic musical, and the MTC Warehouse version did a fantastic job bringing it to Winnipeg!