Wharton Center Review: Wicked

By Joe Walker
“I loved Wicked; it’s lots of fun,” said Sherry Scott, a resident of East Lansing. “It’s funny, the music is great; it’s just lots of fun. I can’t wait until it comes back to Lansing so I can see it again.”
Scott won’t have to wait long.
The popular Broadway musical returns this summer to Michigan State University Wharton Center of Performing Arts for an eleven day run. The first of Wicked’s 16 shows at the venue opens July 11, closing on July 22. Winner of 15 major awards including three Tony Awards and a Grammy, this 2 hour 45 minute musical is the biggest blockbuster stage production of a generation.
Based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire, this musical is directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello with lyrics by Academy Award winner Stephen Schwartz.
Wicked is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz; it takes place long before the arrival of Dorothy and Toto, and their adventure with The Cowardly Lion, The Scarecrow and The Tin Man. Here the remarkable untold history between Glinda The Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West is revealed, two unlikely friends who become moral rivals. With an original story said to be fun for all, critics have called Wicked “the best musical ever.”
Already a major draw gracing the most prestigious stages around the world, the production of Wicked has gone from opening on Broadway in New York in 2003, to Chicago’s Ford Center for Performing Arts, London’s Apollo Victoria Theater and, most recently, Los Angeles’ Pantages Theater. A part of the MSU Federal Credit Union Broadway at Wharton Center Series, musical lovers of Ingham County would agree Wharton is a worthy addition to this list.
Tickets went on sale May 4 and Wicked sold out in record time.  If any additional tickets become available, members of Wharton Center’s E-Club will be notified by e-mail.  Patrons who were unable to get tickets and are not currently members of the E-Club are encouraged to join at www.whartoncenter.com.
"We had an overwhelming response to Wicked,” says Mike Brand, Wharton Center’s executive director.  “Michigan loves Wicked, and we’re going to do everything in our power to get Wicked back at Wharton Center for a return engagement."
Stay tuned for more information about a special Wicked lottery.