“Wicked” lessons for us all at the Academy of Music in Philly

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Celia Hottenstein as Glinda is holding her wand towards Olivia Valli as Elphaba is holding her broom toward Glinda.
Celia Hottenstein as Glinda and Olivia Valli as Elphaba in the National Tour of WICKED, photo by Joan Marcus

Wicked (@WickedTour) has returned to the Academy of Music on the Kimmel Cultural Campus until Nov. 26, 2023. Do not delay in securing tickets to this amazing show as they are flying off the shelf by the magic of this incredible musical. For 20 years, Wicked has delighted young and old alike, conjuring up memories of the past and pulling them into the “real” world of Oz, where we learn the story behind the tale we’ve all grown up with.

This national touring cast and crew has put together a true spectacle of sight and sound. The three-time Tony-winning show is “other-worldly”, thanks in part to the set design that features the enormous “Clock of the Time Dragon” glowing ominously throughout the performance.

Wicked is the “untold true story of the Witches of Oz.” The story starts, pre-Dorothy, focusing on two witches, Elphaba (later to be known as the Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (later Glinda the Good Witch) whose friendship struggles through their opposing ways in both thought and deed.

Olivia Valli (@oliviafvalli), the granddaughter of Frankie Valli, soars, in more ways than one, in her role as Elphaba. Her acting is sincere and heartbreaking in her portrayal of the often misunderstood character. And boy, can she sing! She brings everyone in the house to their feet at the end of the first half with “Defying Gravity.”

Cilia Hottenstein’s (@ciliahottenstein) rendition of Glinda balances and dances perfectly with her co-star — delightful, charming, and possibly cavity-causing with its sweetness. Together they are unstoppable. But first, they have to come together.

What I found most wonderful is that this musical has some real lessons for us to learn: Don’t believe everything you see or hear. As the Wizard, Timothy Shew, tells us in “Sentimental Man”, “We believe all sorts of things that aren’t true. We call it — ‘history’”. Also, “Don’t judge someone by the color of their skin, especially green skin, and seek to understand, not be understood. We can all be and do better.”

Fly right to the box-office for your tickets to Wicked now!

Alyx Reinhardt
Alyx Reinhardt is an opera singer, avid adventurer, and metal detectorist. Her travels around the world have resulted in an open mind and heart. In addition to performing, she enjoys attending opera, concerts, and theatre productions. She’s lived on three continents and, happily, landed in New Jersey.