AS soon as the curtain rises on ''Wicked,'' the new musical about the Wicked Witch of the West, it's clear we're not in Kansas anymore. Like the beloved ''Wizard of Oz'' film, this production delivers both spectacle and the sort of tearjerking ballads one can already hear tinkling in every piano bar. It has a sturdy starting point -- it's hard to think of a plot more familiar to Broadway regulars -- and a constellation of well-established collaborators. And the sets, including the mechanical dragon lurking over the proscenium, were designed by the two-time Tony-winner Eugene Lee.
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No, not that winged monkey who levitates over the audience. And not the slinky babe with green skin on the broom, though she definitely has her sky-scraping moments. No, the one I'm talking about is that improbably small woman in the white dress, the one who doesn't even need that floating mechanical bubble she uses for transportation. That's Kristin Chenoweth, who is currently giving jaw-dropping demonstrations of the science of show-biz aeronautics in ''Wicked,'' the Technicolorized sermon of a musical that opened last night at the Gershwin Theater. Chenoweth must put across jokes and sight gags that could make angels fall. Never for a second, though, does she threaten to crash to earth. Even lying down, Ms. Chenoweth -- who performed similar magic in ''You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'' four years ago and won a Tony -- remains airborne, proving that in the perilous skies of Broadway, nothing can top undiluted star power as aviation fuel. Be grateful, very grateful, that Ms.
Did you see this? Mind-blowing performance! Amazing effects. Everything about Wicked was sensational. Look forward to seeing it again. Nothing Will Ever Be Better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reviews of Wicked on Broadway. See what all the critics had to say and see all the ratings for Wicked including the New York Times and More It's too soon to tell whether Schwartz's score for Wicked, which opened Thursday at the Gershwin Theatre, will prove as enduring. But it's safe to say that this is the most complete, and completely satisfying, new musical I've come across in a long time. The triumph is not Schwartz's alone. Adapted from a Gregory Maguire novel, Wicked offers a post-feminist, socially conscious reinterpretation of the story of Oz's Wicked Witch of the West. Though that may sound like a recipe for pretentious pedantry, writer Winnie Holzman, whose TV credits include thirtysomething and My So-Called Life, provides a libretto that juggles winning irreverence with thoughtfulness and heart.