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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: ‘Wicked’ returning for 24 performances in Appleton

Critic At Large

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

PAC logo and “Wicked” image.

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Fox Cities Performing Arts Center will spring back into action in earnest next week with the arrival of the nationally touring production of the hit musical “Wicked.”

Twenty-four performances are set Oct. 27 to Nov. 14. That’s more than when “Wicked” visited the center in 2017. This is the fifth visit of the musical to the center’s 2,100-seat Thrivent Financial Hall.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 31; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2, 3, 4, 5; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 7; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9, 10, 11, 12; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 14. Info: foxcitiespac.com.

The center’s COVID-19 statement: “All staff and patrons ages 2 and older are required to wear masks while inside of the venue and not actively eating or drinking. Masks must fully cover the nose, mouth, and chin. Prolonged periods of mask removal will not be tolerated and patrons who do not comply will be escorted from the facility with no re-entry.” 

Featured in this cast of “Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz” are Talia Suskauer as Elphaba, Allison Bailey as Glinda, Sharon Sachs as Madame Morrible, Cleavant Derricks as The Wizard, Clifton Davis as Doctor Dillamond, Amanda Fallon Smith as Nessarose, Curt Hansen as Fiyero and DJ Plunkett as Boq.

Ginna Claire Mason, who played Glinda in the 2017 touring production that visited Fox Cities PAC, is now portraying Glinda in the Broadway production.

While the touring cast has players with numerous credits, Clifton Davis may have the honors. Along with his film and TV appearances, he is known for writing the song “Never Can Say Goodbye,” which was a No. 2 hit for The Jacksons (featuring Michael Jackson).

“Wicked” is known as top-notch American musical theater – the blend of story, song/music and dance/movement with visual displays.

The show layers in familiar bits from “The Wizard of Oz.” Such phrases as “no place like home” and “my pretty” take on new meaning. At the same time, “Wicked” stands apart. It has a story and songs of its own.

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