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REVIEW

“Wicked,” Segerstrom Center for the Arts, through April 3

Since opening in 2003, 20 million people have seen “Wicked” to the tune of more than $1.5 billion in ticket sales. The companion piece to “The Wizard of Oz” has been translated into Japanese and German, and a Dutch production is set to open this year.

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts production, featuring the second touring cast since the show first hit the road in 2005, lacks none of the magic that has made “Wicked” a blockbuster.

Glinda—“the good witch,” played by Natalie Daradich—delivers her every ditzy flounce and leg pop with great comedic timing, especially during audience favorite “Popular,” where she shows her despondent roommate her signature hair toss.

Daradich has great chemistry with Anne Brummel as Elphaba, the sometimes insecure, sometimes tough-as-nails girl who becomes the Wicked Witch of the West.

By design, “Wicked” is vocally demanding. Daradich and Brummel hold their own. But it’s nearly impossible live up to the original cast recording with the lead parts by Broadway greats Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth.

Along with a strong cast of secondary characters, Daradich and Brummel create a balance of the silly and the sentimental in a story that is just as much about an unlikely friendship as it is about learning a few of life’s hard lessons.

The sets and costumes take on a “more is more” approach. A large animatronic dragon hangs above the stage, Glinda comes and goes by a large, metal floating bubble and the Wizard sometimes hides behind an elaborate, robotic wizard head.

The citizens of Oz are decked out in highly stylized costumes that call Lady Gaga to mind. It’s hard to imagine packing it all up and reassembling it in the next city. All the bells and whistles, glitter and green paint create a show worthy of the hype.

Emily Weisburg

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