Wednesday, February 19, 2014


(Photo by Jeff Busby)
Wicked is this generation’s Les Miserables. It is nothing short of amazing. It’s one of those musical blockbusters from Broadway that’s phenomenal enough to run for another decade or two.

Now running on its 4th week, the show is still packed to the rim. Clearly, the Wicked fever is still all over Manila, painting the town green and “Defying Gravity.” My boyfriend and I saw the play on Valentines weekend together with his family and some friends from theater. It didn’t come as a surprise to also see a number of familiar faces from Davao. Most of them came with the entire family, while some were with their Valentines date just like I did. Some came in Ozian colors. My boyfriend’s friend, theatre actress Peachy Atilano, came as Glinda in full pink attire plus flower hair accent. Peachy, in full Ozian regal, even got a snapshot with the lead stars before the show started.

Filipino theatre performer Peachy Atilano came as Glinda.
She was one of the lucky few who were able to get a photo with the the lead stars.
(Photo courtesy of Robbie Guevera)
Wicked is the untold story of the witches of Oz before Dorothy even popped in a scene. The play is based on the best-selling novel by “revisionist” Gregory Maguire, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. The plot goes around the life and times of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, from L. Frank Baum’s “Wizard of Oz.”  Elphaba, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other witch, Glinda, is beautiful, ambitious, popular, and “legally blonde,” to say the least. The story depicts how these unlikely friends grew up to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

Post valentines date

The touring cast for Wicked in Manila boasts of top theater performers from Australia and Nez Zealand, led by Jemma Ric and Suzie Mathers who play Elphaba and Glinda.  Of course being a Broadway spectacle, it wouldn’t be complete without a great ensemble which was highlighted in the musical number “Dancing through life.”

Waiting for the show to start
Glinda’s character is whimsical and she tickled everyone’s ears and smiles with her chirpy and quirky numbers. Elphaba’s snappy-one liners were hilarious just the same. Her makeover scene “Popular” with Glinda reminded me of Cher and Tai in the movie Clueless. One of the definitive highlights of the musical is the show-stopping number wherein Elphaba rides her broomstick and soars high above the stage, singing "Defying Gravity.”  The effects on the lighting and her vocal prowess whipped up emotions and brought in a thunder of applause from the audience.

(Photo by Jeff Busby)
It was spellbinding from start to finish. Witty, heart-warming and magical, it was a visual feast with spectacular costumes, technical wizardry, choreography and phenomenal and anthemic musical score that made the audience tap their feet, laugh, gawk and cry in marvel.

I believe what contributed to the success of the show is the chemistry of the two lead actresses who lived up to the story’s message of harmony amid differences. The grandeur of the design elements and stage wizardry on display guaranteed the best kind of entertainment. The big-belting tunes tugged every heartstring, with enough musical articulacy for LSS.

Yes, Wicked is still the hottest ticket in town. Show runs until March 9.
Story published on my newspaper column, Metro Mom.


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