I reviewed Wicked, a new Broadway musical based on Gregory Maguire’s postmodern version of the “Wizard of Oz” story, in this morning’s Wall Street Journal. Here’s the gist:
Broadway’s got itself a great big expensive new musical, complete with smoke, mirrors and (no fooling) flying monkeys. Kristin Chenoweth finally has a full-fledged star part that’s worthy of her. Stephen Schwartz has written a ballad with legs. And Joel Grey, God bless him, is back on stage. So what’s not to like? Not much, really. “Wicked,” which opened last night at the Gershwin Theatre, isn’t perfect, but it’s more than good enough to run for a decade or two. If it doesn’t please you, you’re too tough to please….
Critics aren’t supposed to get crushes, but I’ve got it bad for Kristin Chenoweth, a teeny blond bombshell who makes perkiness palatable. Ever since she first blew into town with the 1999 revival of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” Broadway buffs have been waiting for Ms. Chenoweth to land a bona fide star part in a successful show. Well, this is it. She sings like a cherub on uppers and acts like a damned good actress, and Mr. Schwartz has written her a show-stopping comic turn, “Popular,” which will doubtless be heard on the next Tony telecast.
No link (gnashing of teeth), but you can read the whole thing, including my short, scathing remarks on Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, by picking up a copy of Friday’s Journal and turning to the “Weekend Journal” section. Do, please–the Journal covers the arts really well.