By Jimmy Christopher for CBSDFW.com

Sixteen million people have seen Wicked, the blockbuster Broadway musical that is the most popular musical in Dallas.

It is back for a fifth time as part of the Dallas Sumner Musicals.  It may be of interest to note that sizeable portions of the audience are obsessed fans that have seen the production multiple times.

Wicked is based on the 1995 best selling novel by Gregory Maguire and has won beau coup major awards including a Grammy and three Tonys.  It is a tale of Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good before Dorothy arrives in the Land of Oz.

Initial viewing of Wicked begins with a Dragon on top of the stage (which has a wing span the size of a Cessna 172) and scurrying monkeys. The stage production is a visual feast with 175,000 pounds of carpentry scenery, 200 pounds of dry ice, 90 human hair wigs and 179 different types and finishes of leather for gloves, shoes, hats and costume trim.

It took me awhile to get into Wicked but once that happened, it was an enthralling and thought-provoking experience.  After a somewhat slow and lackluster ACT I that had weak attempts at humor, Act II was fantastic, like night and day.  It took me that long to like any of the characters except for Doctor Dillamond, the goat teacher.  Being an animal supporter, I loved the pro-animal theme throughout.

Emily Koch as the intelligent, misunderstood Elphaba and Amanda Jane Cooper who played the ambitious and popular Glinda, were stupendous. Each possess strong speaking and singing voices and really conveyed their roles and the power of friendship.  Two people, who are extremely different, learn from each other and change their preconceived notions.

To me most of the songs lacked melody and intelligible lyrics, except for the touching and emotional “I’m Not That Girl”, “As Long As You’re Mine” and “For Good”.  “Defying Gravity” was powerful, story telling with a rock opera style and “A Sentimental Man” was catchy.

This isn’t a “dance” type show so the choreography was nothing special, but the “out of sync” style did fit in with the numbers that required dancing.

See Wicked, once, five times or twenty-five times on stage at The Music Hall At Fair Park in Dallas through May 22nd.

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