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A ‘Wicked’ musical comes to the Smith Center

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Before she was the Wicked Witch of the West, she was Elphaba, the protagonist of Wicked.

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Wicked
August 29-October 7
Tuesday-Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; $42-$165.
Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall, 749-2000.

For most of us, the story of Oz starts with a tornado in Kansas, a little girl in pigtails and a yappy dog. Not for Gregory Maguire. The children’s author had more than a few questions for Oz creator L. Frank Baum, and when the long-dead Baum wasn’t up for answering them, Maguire decided to do it himself. In 1995, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West was published and the alliterative witch got a new life, as Elphaba.

Wicked, the Tony-, Grammy- and Drama Desk-winning musical based on Maguire’s book, comes to the Smith Center this week as the centerpiece of the performing arts center’s Broadway Las Vegas Series. The play, which has set box office records and landed its stars and songs on Glee, follows the lives of Elphaba, a green schoolgirl thinking more about college than careening around the sky scaring people, and Galinda, her prom-queenish roommate who later becomes Glinda the Good. It artfully takes everything you know about the characters from Oz and makes it messy, complicated and far more interesting. Along the way there are plenty of exultant songs, colorful characters and outlandish costumes—everything you expect from a Broadway musical reimagining of a classic that’s become a classic itself.

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