It was hailed as the defining musical of its decade. Fourteen years after it premiered, it’s still running on Broadway and packing cavernous theaters around the county.
Now the national tour of “Wicked” is returning to the the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa beginning Wednesday. It’s a big enough deal that instead of the usual six-day run for Broadway tours, “Wicked” is camping out at the Straz Center for four weeks.
The musical, with songs by Stephen Schwartz (“Godspell,” “Pippin”) and a book by Winnie Holzman (“My So-Called Life, “thirtysomething”) takes an alternative look at the goings-on in the the land of Oz, both before and after the arrival of Dorothy. The Wicked Witch of the West (whose name in this show is Elphaba) is portrayed as decent but misunderstood. She’s the daughter of the mayor of Munchkinland, who has always hated her, and she has been ostracized all through her life because of her green skin. She strikes up a friendship with a young witch named Galinda, who later changes her name to Glinda.
Among the many hit songs from the show are “Defying Gravity,” “Popular” and “For Good.” The touring production is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello and features musical staging by Tony winner Wayne Cilento.
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Details: Feb. 1-26, Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. 7:30 p.m. Sunday. 2 p.m. matinee Thursday, Feb. 2. $25-$278.50 plus service. 813-229-7827, strazcenter.org.