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‘Wicked’ casts spell, hits all the right notes at Popejoy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — “For the first time, I feel Wicked!”

This is what Elphaba says during a scene from the Tony Award-winning musical “Wicked.”

And it surely isn’t the last time she would feel this way.

For over 10 years, “Wicked” has been one of the few musicals to grow over time.

“Wicked” tells the untold story of the witches of Oz. Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. Elphaba – born with emerald-green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood.

The other – Glinda – is beautiful, ambitious and popular. The musical chronicles the pair’s odyssey and how they grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

With more than 42 million people who have seen the production worldwide, it’s well on its way to being one of the most popular.

And it’s no wonder why.

The lyrics are great, the singing and acting are top notch. Then you throw in a storyline that actually transports you to another world — the land of Oz to be exact — and you’ve got a winner.

On Thursday night at Popejoy Hall, Elphaba and Glinda cast a spell on the audience.

Emma Hunton as Elphaba easily flew through the high ranging vocals of songs such as “Defying Gravity” and then slowed it down for “I’m Not That Girl.”

Meanwhile Chandra lee Schwartz as Glinda — pronounced Ga-linda and later on Glinda “where the ‘ga’ is silent” — also showed her range in song an acting. (Schwartz has also played the role of Glinda on Broadway.)

The comedic one liners seemed tailor-made for Schwartz as she just ran through them all and didn’t break character.

Another highlight was The Wizard played by Tim Kazurinsky who danced his way through “A Sentimental Man.” (Side note: Kazurinsky is best known for his roles on “Saturday Night Live” and for playing Officer Sweetchuck in the “Police Academy” films.)

Through the dazzling light shows and Grammy winning voices, there is the story of friendship.

Elphaba and Glinda growing up together and despite the differences between the two, grow to respect and care for each other.

As the story unfolds, the friendship adds different dimensions though one thing remains true — the love each one has for the other.

Definitely take the trip to the magical land of Oz through “Wicked” — it’s a guarantee you won’t want to come back to reality.

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