Yes, the long-awaited Australian production of award-winning WICKED The Musical has opened its season here at the Marina Bay Sands Theatre, running from now to Feb 26 2012.

Set in the Land of Oz before Dorothy’s time, WICKED tells the story of how the Witches of Oz came about and their friendship at the elite Shiz University, despite having absolutely conflicting personalities.

The star of the night was without a doubt Jemma Rix as Elphaba, the green-skinned girl who eventually becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. Her performance of the social outcast and discriminated girl was so splendid; one would feel immediately sorry for the character. Her soaring vocals were reminiscent of Idina Menzel (Original Broadway Cast) in her rendition of Defying Gravity.

Just as sensational was the portrayal of “good witch” Glinda (Lucy Durack, temporarily standing in for Suzie Mathers), Elphaba’s bubbly and incredibly superficial newfound friend. Her ability as an actress to make audiences laugh and cringe (at her dumb-blonde character) was undeniable.

Living up to the name of the original Broadway production was a difficult task, but the duo performed splendidly in their individual styles and had great chemistry together.

Jemma Rix and Suzie Mathers had an almost flawless chemistry as seen and heard in their awe-inspiring duet, For Good.

Australian theatre leading man David Harris did a fantastic job as the rich pretty-boy Fiyero, who is unexpectedly infatuated with the sulky Elphaba. We’re pretty sure we heard some girls in the audience swoon when he pranced on stage. His charming character attracts even the likes of Glinda, much to the dismay of the little Munchkin Boq (James D Smith). The rest of the ensemble includes comedian Bert Newton as the old, well-meaning Wizard, perfectly cast for his funny nature. Anne Wood is the scheming Madame Morrible, and Elisa Colla acts as Elphaba’s wheelchair bound sister Nessarose. Glen Hogstrom is Dr Dillamond, Shiz University’s only goat teacher and had a very convincing ‘baaaa’. All were energetic and enthusiastic in their roles and worked in perfect harmony.

Jemma Rix in full witch gear, standing alongside Bert Newton as The Wizard

The music in WICKED is composed by Stephen Schwartz (Pocahontas, The Prince of Egypt) and is particularly thematic, repeating motifs throughout the musical. It is however still heavily emotional and powerful while comical at times. The background music was played live, and the orchestra did a commendable job in controlling the flow of the show.

More than 200 costumes donned in the show were masterfully crafted by Susan Hilferty and are said to be of a ‘twisted Edwardian’ style. Each of them is accompanied by 1 of the 69 custom-built wigs. The sheer beauty of the designs complemented the set well, conceptualised from original illustrations from the Land of Oz books.

Intricate dresses aside, even more impressive was the beautifully stunning set, created to mimic the inner workings of a mechanical clock. All around the proscenium are chunky gears and wood that actually moves with sound and all, absorbing you into the Land of Oz. According to the WICKED website, ‘the show has 54 scenes and locations and each has its distinct light and mood.’

Eugene Lee designed the intricate and beautiful beast of a set.

The light and visual effects were breathtaking — seamlessly and smoothly carried out from scene to scene. Keep a look out for the flying monkeys and Glinda’s bubble throughout the show. Oh, and don’t forget Elphaba’s mouth-opening ascension in the closing number of Act I, Defying Gravity.

All these factors together come to form WICKED, an immense theatrical experience that is dazzling, glamorous, and magical, in addition to the touching and hilarious story. This musical is easy to swallow and recommended for everyone, especially if you’ve never seen a musical before.

WICKED is based on the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire and has won 35 international awards, including a Grammy and 3 Tony Awards. Independent productions of the show have been made throughout the world, including Broadway, North America, London, Germany, Japan and Australia, and have been seen by over 25 million people.

WICKED is now showing at Marina Bay Sands Theatre. Tickets are available at SISTIC, Marina Bay Sands, and Showbiz from $55.

All photos are courtesy of Base Entertainment Asia.