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Wicked in Cinci

By Maggie Behan
On November 17, 2011

To the delight of citizens and visitors throughout Cincinnati,

Wicked has returned to the Aranoff Center. Based on the book by Gregory Maguire, Wicked tells the backstory

of The Wizard of Oz, allowing for more complex character

development of and between the Wicked Witch of the West called Elphaba, and Glinda the Good Witch, who was not always as good as she appears. The two witches are sent to the same university as young women and are forced to be roommates; their loathing of this room pairing (which was color-complimentary given that Elphaba is green and

Glinda wears only pink), were beautifully reflected in the song "What Is This Feeling?" Glinda, played by Chandra Lee Schwartz and Elphaba, played by Mamie Parrish, had obvious on-stage chemistry that pulled the audience directly into the story. Schwartz's higher-pitched tone,

which befitted her shallow and flighty character, blended wonderfully with Parrish's low and powerful singing.

Parrish did not only shine when performing the low range

of notes. Her fantastic range was showcased during the climax of the musical, "Defying Gravity," which begins in a lower octave, and by the end of the song reaches a high, powerful belt that is heard over the rest of the chorus, both

figuratively and literally as she was suspended above the stage, giving the appearance of being poised to fly over the audience. Watching Parrish and Schwartz develop from archrivals into the best of friends, demonstrated in the moving duet "For Good," is an experience to which every member of the audience can relate. First they are enemies, playing tricks on one another. After they realize that the other means well, they become close, helping each other balance out their personalities and follow their common

dream: to make Oz a better place. This compelling story of

friendship, betrayal, deceit and yes, of course, love, would be wonderful with only the dialogue and superb acting.

The musical talent of the cast took the show from being a great show to a phenomenal one that entertained the audience, heart and soul. Wicked will remain in Cincinnati

through Nov. 27.

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