Tuesday, October 30, 2018

REVIEW: Wicked Turns 15: The NBC Special


Last night, NBC aired A Very WICKED Halloween, and I really loved it. It is hard to believe it was fifteen years ago TODAY, that the show opened at the Gershwin Theatre. And it's even harder to believe it was that many years ago when you take a look at Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel. They look amazing. Plus, they are great hosts - what great chemistry!

I loved getting a look at the current Broadway company ("One Short Day"), and the duet between Ledisi and Adam Lambert ("As Long As You're Mine") was a great way to get the show started. It was a little strange hearing Pentatonix singing "What Is This Feeling?" with instruments, but they were great! The guy with Glinda's falsetto was great, and I loved the nod to Elphaba in Kristin Maldonado's choice of eye shadow. I forgot how much I enjoy that song - their vocal arrangement really kicked it up a notch. Ariana Grande - in her Ozified crooked green dress - emoted right through the screen and into my heart with "The Wizard and I." Let's get this movie made, okay?

The theater geek in me loved all the insider trivia, and the all too brief tribute to the worldwide phenomenon that Wicked is. (5 miles of cable to light Oz!!??)

The major highlight, though, was the incomparable Kristin Chenoweth killing it with "Popular." She was/is a very funny woman ("Pink!"). And the just as incomparable Idina Menzel singing a contemporary take on her signature "Defying Gravity." Both were goose bump-filled thrills. These ladies are as good as ever. They saved the best for last, when they sang a teary "For Good." I always tear up when I hear that song, but the feeling was more intense as the pair held hands singing to each other. And how wonderful to see all of those Glindas and Elphabas together, too.

It's been a few years since I've seen Wicked, and I didn't realize I missed it. I'm guessing that was the point of the special, and it worked. But I think the very best thing I can say about this special is that it genuinely felt like a tribute/thank you to fans, and not at all like an ad for the show. Well done!

Grade: A+


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