Wicked in Manila

I had never seen Wicked before. This multi-award winning musical has been on stage since 2003, and has been seen by over 50 million people in 15 countries. I wasn't one of them. And I am wondering where I was, two years ago, when Wicked arrived for the first time in Manila? I have no excuse, really.

Elphaba flying. Photo by Matt Crockett

But I guess everything has its own time, as this week I finally got the chance to see the story of an unlikely friendship  come to life on stage. And I could even take a peek backstage! It was worth the wait.

 

The Story of Wicked

Based on the novel 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz', Wicked tells the untold story of the two Witches of Oz - the popular blonde Glinda and the unpopular green-skinned girl Elphaba who is even disliked by her own father. Despite them being so different from each other, they develop a friendship while studying as sorcery students at Shiz University. Following an encounter with The Wizard, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths.

Glinda and Elphaba. Photo by Matt Crockett

It's very much a coming of age story, about being different and remaining true to yourself. Also special about Wicked is that the main characters are two women. Jacqueline Huges as Elphaba and Carly Anderson as Glinda have some powerful voices and are to my delight, very witty.

Glinda the Good. Photo by Matt Crockett

The Wicked Witch of the West. Photo by Matt Crockett

Jacqueline Huges and Carly Anderson

You can tell that the costume designer has a deep love for her profession - those costumes deserve a special write-up on their own! The stage is complete with flying monkeys, a gliding bubble and some spectacular special effects. It's not hard to see why this West End and Broadway musical phenomenon is still going strong after more than a decade on stage. And this production might be one of the best!

Beautiful costumes

Look at those layers!

Glinda's dress

Why should children see Wicked?

I asked James Cundall, Producer and Chief Executive of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, why children should see Wicked?  He first shared with me why he thinks children should see any live entertainment.

Live entertainment gives you an appreciation that watching tv or a film doesn't. It's a special event, it's never repeated because it's done for that one performance. Every performance is different because every audience is different, and sometimes the actors feel different. I think there's a deep joy in seeing anything beautiful performing before you. There's just no substitute for anything live.

He continued explaining why children should see Wicked in particular.

Wicked has an incredible social message. It has a message about female friendship, disability and bullying. And we know that bullying is a massive issue now. So anything that gives a message that is anti bullying, and you can identify with people who are good, and you see the benefits of not bullying, I think it must be good.

Photo by Matt Crockett

My children wanted me to find out some very important details. First they wanted to know if there are scary parts during the play and second, if there will be any kissing on stage? Obviously, seeing people kiss is just "so gross, mama". Well, James wants you children to know

that there is maybe a bit of a scary part, but not too scary. And only a kiss or two, and it's a nice kiss.

So there, go watch Wicked, bring your children and their best buddies to enjoy this must-see about friendship, being different, coming of age, bullying and love. Heavy topics indeed, but full of humor thanks to the excellent cast. It's almost 3 hours long so you might want to leave the very young kids at home. The first scene with The Wizard of Oz might be the scariest part for the younger ones. It is recommended for ages 7 and up. Another tip: make sure to dress warmly as it's pretty cold inside the theatre!

Fun Facts - did you know that

...everything you see on stage is a little bit off tilt? Nothing is really straight. See if you can spot all the wicked little details!

...a lot of fabrics used for the costumes are especially made for Wicked?

...the fabric of one of the dresses cost Php 100,000 per meter! Can you guess which one?

...they use 150 wigs, 150 pairs of shoes and 200 costumes?

...each wig takes 4 months to make?

...the bubble dress weighs 10-15 kilograms?

...there were 3,000 people auditioning and only 31 got selected?

...they even brought their own flooring for the stage?

...Lunchbox Productions is bringing "The Sound of Music" and "West Side Story" to Manila later this year?

...the Manila audition for the Von Trapp children will be held in April? Just follow us for updates!

A  Little Preview

Shot at the press view on February 3, 2017.

 

Practical Info

February 2 - March 19, 2017
Php 1,750 - 7000
Tuesday - Friday 8 PM
Saturday/Sunday: 2 & 8 PM
Recommended for ages 7+
Children under 3 years of age will not be admitted
The show takes almost 3 hours, inclusive of intermission
The Theatre at Solaire, Parañaque City

Wicked is brought to you by:
Lunchbox Theatrical ProductionsGlobe TelecomGlobe Live and Concertus Manila

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