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BWW Reviews: WICKED Tour 'Thrillifies' Audiences at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta

Alyssa Fox and Carrie St. Louis

If crowd appeal is any indication of a show's worth, Wicked is a multimillion-dollar treasure. WICKED's second national tour, "The Munchkinland Tour," flew into the Fox Theatre on Wednesday, February 18 to play a 3-week engagement, marking the show's fourth engagement at the historic Atlanta venue. Not surprisingly, this production did not disappoint.

In this WIZARD OF OZ prequel, Elphaba, aka, the Wicked Witch of the West, accidentally lives with and becomes best friends with Galinda, later Glinda the Good, at Shiz University. Through lies and misunderstandings, the Ozians come to believe the optimistic and magically gifted Elphaba is a terrifying enemy.

From the moment the show began, the show had the audience mesmerized. While the large chorus numbers that so defined the Golden Age of Broadway seem to be all but gone, original Wicked choreographer Wayne Cilento has successfully found a way to bring that aspect back, tailored to a modern audience. His stylistic choreography is characterized by a smooth, almost Fosse-like movement vocabulary, executed beautifully in song after song by the Ozian ensemble.

Like Cilento's choreography, Susan Hilferty's Tony Award-winning costume design transported the audience into Oz with every hue of green which almost resembled modern clothing, but with an added flair peculiar to the magical land, like a double top hat or suits with zig-zag stripes.

Eugene Lee's Tony Award-winning scenic design dazzled this critic through its sheer size and creative intricacy, best embodied by the clock gears of every size which made up the majority of the set. And of course when Elphaba (Alyssa Fox) rose into the air during the showstopping Act I closer, "Defying Gravity," the audience collectively uttered an audible reaction of amazement, followed by wild applause at the end of the song.

As Elphaba in the first act, Alyssa Fox, replaced by Emily Koch in Act II, barely scraped by vocally due to allergy issues. In her first song of the show, "The Wizard and I," Fox ended with a slightly pitchy landing, and not surprisingly, completely botched the final notes of "Defying Gravity." Bless her heart. Besides vocals, Fox executed the role with an earnestness that could not be ignored. Thus did she endear herself to the audience.

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Ashley Parker Angel

I dearly hope that when Elphaba standby Emily Koch received word that she would take over the iconic role for the remainder of the performance, she at least mentally burst into a rousing chorus of, "This is the Moment" from JEKYLL AND HYDE. Whatever her response, Koch absolutely blew the audience away with her strong, dynamic voice. Particularly during "No Good Deed," her final solo, Koch explored the notes in her own unique way, prompting me to think, "Ok, well now you're just showing off!" And yet, her enthusiasm and clear adoration for the whole show made her impossible not to love.

As the peppy, sorority-girl-on-steroids, G(a)linda, Carrie St. Louis went through the motions of the giddy blonde, but seemed to be portraying someone else's role. At times, her mannerisms distinctly resembled Laura Bell Bundy's Elle Woods from LEGALLY BLONDE, and at others she appeared intent on not copying Kristin Chenoweth's Glinda. Such a display led to a portrayal threaded with emotional dishonesty, though St. Louis nailed the Schwartz score with delightfully consistent ease.

With a chiseled torso and hair shaped to form a "fohawk," (to borrow a short-lived term from the early '00s) Ashley Parker Angel's outer appearance perfectly suited the "genuinely self-absorbed and deeply shallow" rich-boy Fiyero. And yes, he rocked those famous tight white pants. However, his soaring, albeit effeminate vocals did not convince me that he was or could ever be in love with Elphaba.

I have no doubt that the beautiful storytelling woven through Winnie Holzman's script, Joe Mantello's direction, and the incredible songs by Stephen Schwartz will cause this show to run on Broadway forever and tour even longer.

The company also features Michael DeVries (Dr. Dillamond), Lee Slobotkin (Boq) and Liana Hunt (Nessarose), with Keith A. Bearden, Kerry Blanchard, Whitney Brandt, Jane Brockman, Beka Burnham, Bridie Carroll, Kennedy Caughell, Antonette Cohen, Hayley Ann Dorling, Michael Drolet, Natalie Fotopoulos, Dan Gleason, Kali Grinder, Lauren Haughton, Ryan Jackson, Dashi' Mitchell, Lauren Sambataro, Wayne Schroder, Mark Shunkey, Travis Taber, Jeremy Thompson, Nicky Venditti, Michael Williams and Justin Wirick.

WICKED returns to Atlanta's Fabulous Fox Theater February 18- March 8th. Tickets for Wicked start at $33 and are available by visiting, calling 1-855-285-8499, or visiting the Fox Theatre Box Office (660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308). Group orders of 10 or more may be placed by calling 404-881-2000.

Winner of over 50 major awards including the Grammy Award and three Tony Awards®, WICKED is the untold story of the witches of Oz. Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. WICKED tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

WICKED is based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Winnie Holzman. The production is directed by Joe Mantello with musical staging by Wayne Cilento.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Article reprinted with permission from

What You Say

131 reviews, average rating: (4.9 Stars)

Andrew: “Believe The Hype!”

I tend to be wary of anything with the amount of hype Wicked has received, ... more

James: “Top Show!”

I recently took my wife to see the show, it was fantastic and highly reco... more

Craig: “Wonderful”

Enormously entertaining and a definite must-see! 5 out of 5 stars!... more

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