Reviewing Wicked at the Tanger Center


Hayden Creech, Staff Writer

    The new Tanger Center downtown has been showing Wicked since October 6th, attracting Broadway lovers from all over the triad. As the first show in their off-Broadway series, its success is a good sign for the Tanger Center and Greensboro.
    The Tanger Center is large and impressive, with an open area right as you walk in, illuminated by glowing sculptures hanging from the ceiling. It has 3,000 seats with orchestra, grand tier, and lodge seating, and beautiful, dramatic lights over the house. Immediately upon entering the theatre, you notice a dragon head above the stage, corresponding with the gears on the set- a robotic, industrial theme. Later in the show, as Elphaba’s anger escalates and she attacks those around her, the dragon’s eyes turn red and it swivels and nods, really rounding out the experience. Sitting back row, Orchestra center, I was able to see its movement and all of the stage without moving my head. That was amazing, allowing me to become fully immersed in the world of OZ.
    To discuss the show itself, Wicked is a prequel of sorts to the Wizard of Oz, but the end of Dorthy’s story does intersect with the end of the musical. The show alludes to the original story and provides information about why the Wicked Witch of the West became who she was and the misconceptions Dorthy and all of Oz had about her. In actuality, Elphaba, a girl who was born green and persecuted for it, was only truly wicked for one scene, heartbroken after thinking her love, Fierro, had died. She had been fighting against the Wizard of Oz, advocating for animal rights, angered by the government propaganda convincing Oz that animals shouldn’t talk. That isn’t mentioned in the original story, of course, but it provides context, explaining how the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scare Crow all came to be.
   The actors and actresses responsible for bringing this show to life did a fantastic job. Elphaba and Fierro were convincingly in love and portrayed the heartbreaking tragedy of disappearing, letting everyone believe they had died, at the end. Glinda was hilariously perky and popular, annoying at times, but someone good who learned how to be better by the end. Her friendship with Elphaba was unlikely but beautiful, and their farewell song, “For Good,” begs the audience to break down in tears.
   Boq, the character hopelessly in love with Glinda, who is turned into the Tin Man by Elphaba, is hilarious and relatable and helps to highlight Elphaba’s sister, Nessarose. Elphaba’s monkeys were great dancers, crouching low so that their acrobatics seemed effortless. They climbed all over the scaffolding of the set, really interacting with it in a way that brought the show more to life.
Overall, the entire cast had amazing voices, beautiful dancing, and inspiring storytelling. While Wicked’s run is over at the Tanger Center, the theatre’s impressive performance is promising for the future of theatre in Greensboro. We are very lucky to live right by professional theatre and should make the most of the amazing shows the Tanger Center has to offer!
Photo Credits: author