Review: Wicked Fun & Mystery Unfold at The Orpheum in Minneapolis

Updated: 02/18/2014 9:54 AM By: Sarina Long

Jenn Gambatese and Alison Luff as Glinda and Elphaba in
Jenn Gambatese and Alison Luff as Glinda and Elphaba in
Photo: Photo: Hennepin Theatre Trust/Joan Marcus

It was a packed house last night at The Orpheum as the amazing cast of "Wicked" took the stage. 

"Wicked" will celebrate its 10th Anniversary October 30, 2013. There are currently nine productions of this iconic musical worldwide: New York, London, Holland, Japan (Tokyo), Australia/New Zealand (Auckland), South Korea (Seoul), Latin America (Mexico City), a U.K. tour and two concurrent North American national tours.

It was fascinating hearing and seeing the story we all grew up with go through it's very own twister. 

"Wicked" is based on the best-selling novel (1995) by Gregory Maguire, and tells the untold story of the witches of Oz. 

There are many lessons taught throughout this award-winning musical including overcoming differences, facing adversity, and simply young adults trying to fit in. 

The audience is introduced to the young Elphaba, commonly known as the evil "Wicked Witch of the West" and Galinda, commonly known as the caring, thoughtful "Good Witch." 

Truth is, Elphi and Galinda are close friends, even confidantes, who grew up together and experienced common life experiences.

Alison Luff  does a phenomenal job bringing out the best and worst of her character, Elphaba -- she nails the wicked witch laugh. She was born with green skin and lived her life in the shadows of her sister, Nessarose (Jaime Rosenstein), who is wheelchair bound. Elphaba exudes strength, wit, sarcasm, and independence. She puts on a front like she is confident, yet can't imagine the hunky Fiyero (Curt Hansen) could ever love her. 

Her own father despises her. How sad. 

Huff's voice is incredible, and the crowd loved her performance of "Defying Gravity" along with "I'm Not That Girl" and several others throughout the night.

When we meet young Galinda (Jenn Gambatese) she seems to have it all -- beautiful blonde hair, charm, and the status as most popular girl in school. 

Although the girls are complete opposites, there are tender moments where they again teach the audience -- of all ages--life lessons about love and loss. Together their voices shine. 

Unfortunately society has different plans for each of the girls and we learn how they become witches in the mysterious land of Oz. We also learn all about the tin man, lion, scarecrow, Dorothy and even a little dog Toto. 

Let's just say, things are a little different than you may have thought. 

Fan reaction:
Tess from Roseville said, "The Emerald City's citizens were reminiscent of the Hunger Games. Their costumes were amazing."  

When asked about the cast, she said "The duets between Glinda and the Wicked Witch (Elphaba) were amazing. Great chemistry! It was nice to see two female leads -- usually the power duets are male-female.  Plenty of powerful, upbeat songs, positive message. (It) makes you think about judging people." 

"Wicked" runs through October 27 at Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Orpheum Theatre. For tickets or more information, click here.

For details on day-of rush tickets via lottery, click here.


Sarina Long is an entertainment columnist for