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May 23, 2017

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Partnership with Proctors leads to Wicked review

March 20, 2017

It's no magic spell: A partnership with Proctors in Schenectady provided Duanesburg High School students with the opportunity to see a performance of "Wicked" earlier this month. The traveling Broadway production served as inspiration for further student learning, including the review below penned by Joey Wolken for his Mass Media class.

The musical was one of many performances from which students have benefited thanks to a grant-funded program coordinated by DCS Superintendent Chris Crowley and Proctors Director of Education Christine Sheehan.

"Wicked" Review by Joey Wolken

If you think that the new casino is the biggest interest in Schenectady, you would be wrong. The travelling production of Wicked opened at Proctors Theater on Wednesday, March 1st and it has brought in a full house every night since then. The actors and actresses were phenomenal in every role, but the most notable of them all would be Jessica Vosk, the woman who played Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. This role was originally played by Idina Menzel on Broadway, but Vosk went above and beyond in her portrayal of the well known witch. The song “Defying Gravity” was an astonishing closer for the first act, with Vosk holding incredibly long and incredibly high notes that would have turned anyone else’s face as red as the slippers that Dorothy stole.

The set was incredible as well. The background that was constantly changing color, the fantastic head of the Wizard, and the giant gear set pieces that were used for many different scenes were all included in such a manner that it made the entire show feel more immersive than most others that I’ve had the privilege of attending. The effects were even better, specifically the closing scene of Act 1, when Elphaba is flying above the guards and Glinda and singing “Defying Gravity,” the screen behind her made the cape that Vosk was wearing with her costume appear to be infinitely long and flowing. The uses of fog and lighting made for excellent scenery and memorable stills, such as the end of Fiyero’s conflict with the guards.

The story pushes viewers to sympathize with Elphaba and see Glinda the Good in a new, more shameful light as the musical tells the story of life in Oz before the house fell from the sky. It explains what caused the tornado that took Dorothy’s house from its place in Kansas, it explains why the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, played by Fred Applegate, acts how he does, and it explains how the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion all came to be, all while showing how the Wicked Witch of the West really only wanted to help the animals of Oz. The ending, while I won’t spoil it, shows the end of the Wizard of Oz, but from a different perspective, wrapping the entire story together in a new way that will surprise audiences, as well as make them feel complete with knowing what happened in Oz after Dorothy left.

Wicked was a fantastic show, lasting about two hours and forty five minutes with intermission. The music was phenomenal, the acting was astounding, the sets were incredible, and the applause at the end was louder than any I have ever heard. No matter what anyone says, nobody, in all of Oz, will ever bring this show down.

 




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