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'Wicked' returns to the Wharton Center, seats still available

May 23, 2023
Celia Hottenstein as Glinda and Olivia Valli as Elphaba in the National Tour of WICKED. Courtesy photo by Joan Marcus.
Celia Hottenstein as Glinda and Olivia Valli as Elphaba in the National Tour of WICKED. Courtesy photo by Joan Marcus. —

The witch isn't dead, yet. And she might not be as wicked as you thought, either. “Wicked” has returned to East Lansing, running May 10 to May 28 at the Wharton Center.

“Wicked” tells the story of Oz before Dorothy, serving as a prequel to the classic The Wizard of Oz. The musical gives the backstory of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, recontextualizing her as misunderstood, and Glinda, also known as Glinda the Good Witch

Olivia Valli plays the role of Elphaba. Valli says that the themes of “Wicked” include “friendship and women empowerment” while telling the story of “the witches of Oz and how they came to be.” 

"Wicked" previously played at the Wharton Center in November 2016, beginning the day after that year's presidential election. The show was scheduled to return in early April 2020, but its run was canceled due to the emergence of COVID-19.

Jennifer Lowe has seen "Wicked" with her family four times. She said that the story is what keeps her family coming back to see the production

“Every time I see it, it's obviously a little bit different. But it's a great time every single time,” Lowe said. “It's definitely a story worth telling, friendship. It's something that we all love.”  

Katie Lowe said that she noticed the changes to the production of the show, such as the use of projections to create the setting of Oz

In addition to the themes of friendship and sisterhood, Valli said that many people find Wicked relatable because Elphaba’s story is a tale of an underdog

“I think that this is a story that people can relate to because it's about an underdog,” Valli said. “It's about somebody who's rising into power and somebody who's finding themself and their voice and not letting anybody bring them down or water themselves down for the comfortability of others.” 

While the show is "gonna be popular," many of the remaining showtimes still have plenty of seats available. Tickets cost $35 for students and start at $64 for the general public and can be purchased by following the yellow brick road to whartoncenter.com.

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