The girls run away with the show in the touring version of “Wicked,” a production that has cast its spell over Richmond during its run at the Landmark Theater. This flashy musical is about female relationships and the casting of the production makes the women so far superior in presence and talent that the males in the show seem like nothing more than inconsequential extras.
“Wicked” is a great show, and that's largely due to the work of a future diva, Marcie Dodd. Her Elphaba is the hands-down standout. She gives the future Wicked Witch of the West the proper mix of nerdiness and humor to elicit empathy and understanding. While she has gifts as an actress, Dodd's powerful and expressive singing is the main attraction. The audience was so moved at the end of Act I at her finale, “Gravity,” that members shot out of their seats frantically cheering and applauding with appreciation. I got chills myself.
Natalie Daradich's Glinda is slightly stale at first but she comes fully into the character about halfway into the first act while singing her solo, “Popular,” a perfectly egotistic anthem by and for the delightfully stereotypical blonde. From then on she is a powerhouse, singing and acting her way into the hearts of the audience as Glinda matures to a truly good person.
All the production elements are what one would see on Broadway except for a slightly pared down set — for example, the monkeys don't fly over your head due to rigging issues. You'll see a beautiful set and props, lovely lighting, stunning costumes, makeup and hair. You'll hear catchy tunes with clever lyrics. “Wicked” has everything big budgets can buy and what “Wicked” (as a phenomenon) is known for.
“Wicked” runs through March 28 at the Landmark Theater. For information go to broadwayinrichmond.com or call 800-745-3000.