The Ottumwa Courier


November 1, 2013

Review: Wicked

DES MOINES — Hayley Podschun walks a fine line as Galinda in the return of “Wicked” to the Des Moines Civic Center, where it will run through Nov. 10.

Galinda isn't the title character, but she is one of the main witches. Podschun plays up the laughs in the role, a risky move in what is essentially a drama. One step too far, and she goes from scene stealer to a distraction.

Fortunately for the production, Podschun walks right up to the line but never crosses it. The interactions between her Galinda and Jennifer DiNoia's Elphaba wind up being funny and insightful, bringing depth to both that might otherwise be absent.

The return of “Wicked” is substantially the same production that arrived in the same theater in November 2011. There aren't any major changes to the set or approach to the musical, and that's a good thing. The story itself is enough of a deviation from the familiar story of the Wizard, the witches, and Oz, focusing instead on how Galinda, later Glinda, and Elphaba became the good and bad witches we know.

“Wicked” presents a collection of (often deeply) flawed characters rather than two-dimensional archetypes from MGM's 1939 film. That's because the source, Gregory Maguire's book of the same name, turned the story on its head. As events sweep away Galinda's complete lack of gravitas and deepen Elphaba's alienation from society, both become sympathetic characters who aren't entirely in charge of their own destinies.

That's not to let them off the hook. Both make decisions that leave the audience questioning their ethical compasses. So does virtually every other character. It's somehow fitting for a story most of us were introduced to in black and white to do so well playing with shades of gray: No one, by the end, is purely good.

Neither, though, is anyone purely Wicked.

Text Only
  • 'Game of Thrones' earns a leading 19 Emmy nods LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fantasy saga "Game of Thrones," defying the Emmy Awards' grudging respect for genre fare, emerged as the leader in the nominations announced Thursday with 19 bids, including best drama series. The meth kingpin drama "Breaking B

    July 10, 2014

  • Daytime Emmys red-carpet banter turns dark LOS ANGELES (AP) — When four social media divas were handed red-carpet and backstage interviewing duties for the Daytime Emmys, the result was anything but Hollywood magic. The women who hosted the Emmy pre-show Sunday appeared largely ignorant about

    June 24, 2014

  • 0619 OTT Los Lobos color photo -L -T -M Los Lobos headlining FAIRfest Friday

    FAIRFIELD — Three-time Grammy-winning band Los Lobos has strong ties to Iowa, and that connection will be solidified this weekend as the iconic group headlines FAIRfest while on its 40th anniversary tour. Los Lobos will perform Friday night during th

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0530 OTT 5 things logo -T -M Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — When the weather forecast says "slight chance of thunderstorms" all weekend, you can make two sets of plans. Have a set of activities to enjoy outdoors, but have a backup plan for staying in out of the rain. 1. Outside: Get your landscaping

    May 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Author Maya Angelou dies at 86 in North Carolina NEW YORK (AP) — Maya Angelou was gratified, but not surprised by her extraordinary fortune. "I'm not modest," she told The Associated Press in 2013. "I have no modesty. Modesty is a learned behavior. But I do pray for humility, because humility comes

    May 28, 2014

  • 0524 OTT Bill Cosby color photo -L -T Bill Cosby proves he's 'Far From Finished'

    OTTUMWA — Talking to comedian Bill Cosby for just a few moments, you suddenly understand how appropriate the name of his "Far From Finished Tour" really is. One of the most legendary personalities of all time, Cosby is coming to spend an evening in O

    May 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Networks' plea to viewers: Watch now! NEW YORK (AP) — One day into the annual week where television's biggest networks reveal their future programming plans and it was clear what the buzzword was going to be: Eventize. No matter whether it's a word or not, broadcasters talked frequently

    May 19, 2014

  • Supreme Court TV on the Internet [Duplicate] High court to hear dispute about TV over Internet WASHINGTON (AP) — Thirty years after failing to convince the Supreme Court of the threat posed by home video recordings, big media companies are back and now trying to rein in another technological innovation they say threatens their financial well-b

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • MTV Movie Awards big Hollywood studio plug-fest LOS ANGELES (AP) — Last year, the MTV Movie Awards moved up its broadcast date from June to April to incorporate a summer movie plug-fest. Sunday night's show cemented that change as clips from anticipated blockbusters debuted at the madcap ceremony.

    April 14, 2014

  • 0411 OTT Five things logo -M Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — Music, monster trucks and memorable moments — this weekend will bring an eclectic mix of performing arts, sports, activities and informational sessions to the region. 1. Start the weekend by taking special care of your furry friends. Noah’s

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

AP National