Grab your sparkly wands and broomsticks, Eugene. Wicked, the hit musical that riffs on The Wizard of Oz, is flying into the Hult Center for two weeks beginning Wednesday, July 31.
Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked has remained one of Broadway’s most popular musicals for more than 15 years.
The story is almost commonplace now: Unassuming yet wickedly powerful green girl meets relentless and popular blonde. The two form an unlikely friendship through soaring musical numbers and familiar struggles and, ta-da, we get a glittering prequel to the witches of the Wizard of Oz.
“It takes the story that we all love and takes it to a deeper level,” says Erin Mackey, who is performing the role of Glinda on the tour. She is joined by Mariand Torres as Elphaba, aka the Wicked Witch.
Mackey began her professional theater career more than a decade ago with Wicked, playing the bubbly good witch on Broadway, earning some useful experiences along the way.
“We learn so much as we go through life,” Mackey says. “I think I can bring a deeper understanding to parts of the role that were maybe less known to me when I was younger.”
Despite the fantastical world the Emerald City brings to the stage (believe me, the spectacle alone is worth the price of admission), Wicked is rooted in age-old human affairs, like accidentally turning your boyfriend into straw. Good and evil, books and covers, befriending that which you do not understand — it’s all our best and worst parts dressed up in powder-blue ball gowns and pointy black hats.
At least from Mackey’s perspective, Glinda’s journey embodies the very elements within us all.
“She [Glinda] does things that are real human things,” she says, “things that are sometimes ugly, and then she does wonderful things. The show is really her learning what good truly is.”
Whether you’re team Elphie or team Glinda, you’ll want to take advantage of Broadway’s dazzling twist on a literary classic.
Wicked runs July 31 through Aug. 11 at the Hult Center; more info and tickets at hultcenter.org.