Wicked | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The heroine of this revisionist version of The Wizard of Oz may have green skin, but Ana Gasteyer's performance is white-hot--urgent, passionate, vulnerable yet powerful. Gasteyer, a Northwestern University alum and former Saturday Night Live cast member, stars as Elphaba, the sensitive, stubborn misfit demonized as a "wicked witch" after she rebels against Oz's totalitarian injustices. Gasteyer heads a new cast that has settled in for what should be a long Chicago run of this Broadway hit. The ensemble also features off-Loop notables Gene Weygandt as the sly wizard and Rondi Reed as his haughty hatchet woman. But the focus of the show is Gasteyer and her highly charged chemistry with Kate Reinders, who brings crisp comic timing to the role of Elphaba's rival-turned-best friend Glinda; their teamwork adds new warmth to Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman's marvelous musical. Open run: Tue-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM. Also 2 PM Wed and Sat. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, 312-902-1400. $25-$85.

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