Watching the Young Australian Broadway Chorus’ production of Wicked The Musical , on at the National Theatre, is rewarding for several reasons.
Most importantly, it’s a very enjoyable and entertaining production. At the same time, you can see youngsters who, given the quality of their performances, are likely to be stars of the future.
Indeed, it was hard to believe the oldest cast member was just 20. Even more remarkably the two leads, Jasmine Arthur who played Glinda and Emily Svarnias who played Elphaba are 18 and 19 respectively.
Thanks to these performances, together with the costumes and staging, it was easy to forget that this was an all youth production.
Even more amazing was the discovery those on stage only attend Young Australian Broadway Chorus (YABC) classes on the weekend and after school.
It wasn’t as surprising to discover while YABC has staged many very successful productions (including Shrek the Musical last year) Wicked is their most ambitious project to date. The production features 114 cast members and a 20-piece orchestra.
As well as showcasing the talents of cast members and the creative team, the production also provides a chance to re-visit the second highest grossing Broadway show of all time (behind the Lion King).
Wicked, The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, tells the story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University – the blonde and very popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl named Elphaba.
Following an encounter with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda’s unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power while Elphaba’s determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, have unexpected and shocking consequences for her future.
Svarnias and Arthur are excellent as Elphaba and Glinda. They are well supported by 17-year-old Rishab Shrivastav as Fiyero, the boy both witches love, 20-year-old Taylor Troeth as Elphaba’s sister Nessarose, 17-year-old Jackson Hurwood as The Wizard of Oz and 19-year-old Emily Palmer as Madame Morrible, the headmistress of Crage Hall in Shiz University and a cohort of The Wizard. Other key cast members including 18-year-old Darcy Harriss as Boq, a Munchkinlander man involved with Nessarose and 19-year-old Tristan Sicari who plays Doctor Dillamond, the talking goat who works as a Life Science teacher at Shiz University.
They are ably supported by an extremely enthusiastic singing and dancing ensemble and children’s chorus.
It’s the skill and energy of all cast members together with the staging and costumes which ensures this production of Wicked is another YABC hit production.
*Photo credit: Kit Haselden Photography.
Jenny Burns attended the opening night of Wicked , The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz as a guest of YABC.
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