Seeing Wicked on Broadway: A Gravity-Defying Experience

(Last Updated On: November 12, 2023)

Seeing Wicked on Broadway exceeded my high expectations – the lavish production value and phenomenal cast made this Broadway experience truly magical. My review of seeing Wicked live in New York versus the touring show.

One short day, in the middle of the year – ok, well actually in the middle of August – I finally fulfilled my dream of seeing Wicked on Broadway. After being spellbound by the touring production in Tampa a few years ago, I could hardly wait to compare it to the magical original.

With excitement stirring up within me like I’d just ingested one of Elphaba’s potions, I bubbled to New York to see it at the Gershwin Theatre. From the first chords of the overture to the final notes of For Good, it was, well, a wickedly perfect experience.

The sensational story of how the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch came to be – it captivated me all over again, only this time in a more thrilling way.

The phenomenal music and costumes I adored from the tour came to life in a new way in the Broadway theater. Seeing it up close made me feel like I had been transported to the Emerald City myself. If you have the chance to see Wicked on Broadway, I highly recommend seizing that opportunity. It will exceed your expectations and leave you feeling Oz-some.

WICKED The Musical - Glinda and Elphaba on stage

Image via Wicked the Musical Facebook Page

Pregaming to See Wicked on Broadway

Before the trip, I bought some black, green, and purple beads and made a necklace to wear at the show. I put a potion bottle on the end of it filled with green beads to resemble green elixir. Then, I paired it with a black shirt and black pants, and was feeling themed enough to be ready to go!

The night before I was already feeling magical because we had driven into New Jersey to catch BlackPink in concert. Friday was all about K-Pop, and Saturday was all about the Emerald City – well New York City anyway.

I was over the moon with excitement, and it was the perfect way to celebrate the last birthday of my 30s. Yep, I turned 39 that weekend, and basically was planning to celebrate as much as humanly possible.

I’m thinking when I do turn 40 I will celebrate for 40 days and 40 nights, but more on that in a few months.

The Day Of – Seeing Wicked on Broadway

We hopped off the bus from New Jersey to New York and then strolled down the yellow brick road to the world famous Times Square. I was instantly transported back to the last time I had been there – only that time it was much colder and somehow bigger too.

I visited in 2005 and watched the ball drop on New Year’s Eve…as I was looking up at the confetti, my hubby pulled out a ring and proposed. We married in July 2006. So coming back all these years later had me quite emotional.

Excitedly, we scrambled about looking for lunch, and then ultimately made our way towards the theater for their afternoon showing of the musical. Stepping into the grand Gershwin Theatre on Broadway felt like entering the doors to Oz itself.

I could barely contain my excitement as I found my seat and eagerly awaited the start of the show. When the lights dimmed and the first chords of the overture began, I was instantly mesmerized. The set design was even more intricate and dazzling up close, with gears, lights, and set pieces moving seamlessly to transition between scenes. The costumes were absolutely spellbinding, from Glinda’s poofy pink dress to Elphaba’s black hat and cape. I was amazed to see the vibrant colors and tiny details up close.

The Broadway cast brought an energy and authenticity that differentiated them from the touring company. The performances felt sharper and more nuanced in the characters’ original theater.

When Elphaba belted the iconic line “I’m wicked through and through” my arms were covered in goosebumps. The deeper emotional resonance the actors brought to this theater amplified the power of the storytelling. Hearing beloved songs like “Defying Gravity” and “For Good” performed live on the Gershwin stage gave them new life.

And yes, I cry every time I hear “Defying Gravity!”

The orchestration sounded fuller and the vocals more crisp and affecting within the perfect acoustics of the theater. Every lyrical crescendo soared.

By the end of the show, I knew this was an unmatched experience. Seeing Wicked on Broadway elevated a story I already loved to new heights. Being there, in the midst of the magic, exceeded all my high expectations.

Image via Wicked the Musical Facebook Page

Comparing to the Touring Production

While I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Wicked touring production, and am so incredibly grateful I got that experience, the Broadway show was more breathtaking than I ever could have prepared myself for. The production value of the Broadway show was markedly richer and more polished. The sets felt grander, with more advanced scenic transitions and special effects. The Time Dragon Clock and Wizard’s giant mechanical head provided an unbelievably immersive and exciting viewing experience on the Broadway stage. 

Additionally, the costumes felt more lavish, accentuating the contrast between Glinda’s frilly gowns and Elphaba’s Gothic garb. Even the lighting design was superior, using color and intensity to heighten the drama and transport the audience deeper into the land of Oz. The overall spectacle felt more magical seeing it in the gorgeous Gershwin Theatre.

Most notable was the Broadway cast’s phenomenal performances. Their emotional depth and vocal talents brought a new power to the show’s beloved score. Subtle acting choices made the characters more engaging. For example, the terror in Glinda’s eyes as the Wizard flew into a rage was palpable up close – we got to sit much closer in this production than where I sat watching it in Tampa.

I do need to take a moment and say the touring cast was talented in their own right. They truly were! And, I’m so glad that tours like theirs exist so you can get the Broadway feel in your own backyard. But, there’s something to be said about the Broadway stars that belt out these numbers and do these dances every night. The cast brings something intangibly special to the production and their connection to the material was evident.

In the end, the Broadway production made the world of Wicked more transportive and vivid. Every element, from sets to acting, was amplified in the show’s original home. It proved that no matter how good a touring company is, nothing rivals seeing a show on Broadway. And, it makes me want to see every play I possibly can on Broadway.

Planning to See Wicked on Broadway? These Tips Might Help!

Image via Wicked the Musical Facebook Page

Book tickets early – really early!

Wicked often sells out months in advance for the best seats. Don’t wait until the last minute! We bought our tickets in May for an August viewing, and even that felt like we waited too long. We got decent seats, but I can’t help feeling like we could have done just a bit better.

Splurge on great seats if you can

Sitting closer to the stage enhances the experience and allows you to see details you might miss farther away. I’m so glad we chose to sit as close to the stage as we did. Though we weren’t as close as I would have liked, it was much closer than we were when I watched the touring production.

Keep an eye out for ticket lotteries or rush tickets 

Many Broadway shows, including Wicked, offer discounted last minute tickets if you don’t mind not having reserved seats. But, be forewarned – if you get these tickets, you might not be able to sit with everyone in your party. And, there are no guarantees with rush tickets. To me, paying in advance was worth it to make sure we could actually see the show.

Dress up and make an evening of it

Treat it as a special night out and wear something that makes you feel fabulous. I certainly did! Then, after the show we strolled Central Park and finished the night off by taking the subway to Little Italy for dinner at a highly recommended spot.

Arrive early to check out the theater

Soak in the atmosphere and admire the architecture of historic Broadway theaters like the Gershwin. I’m so glad we did this because we got to look around at all the fun details of the theater and immerse ourselves in the story more.

Limit bathroom breaks

Lines get crazy during intermission, and you don’t want to miss any of the magic. I personally refrained from having much to drink before the show because I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t have to miss anything.

Let yourself get swept up in it all

Some people sang along, some laughed, some cried – I totally cried. Let yourself be transported into the Wicked world and really feel immersed.  

Stage door after if you can

You may be able to meet the cast and get autographs at the stage door. Unfortunately, we didn’t see the evening production of the show, and we didn’t really have time to stick around because we had dinner plans. However, if we get the chance to go again, I will totally do an evening watch and try to get over to the stage door.

Capture moments outside

Take photos all around the theater to remember your Broadway night.

Savor every minute

The show flies by so be present and take it all in. You’ll want to relive it again later! I recommend watching all of the social media videos and YouTube clips that the Wicked production team put online. It’s a great way to revisit Shiz and Oz anytime you want.

My Broadway Wicked Experience: Pure Magic Over the Rainbow

Seeing Wicked on Broadway was a dream come true that far surpassed my already high expectations. While I loved the touring production, everything about the Broadway show felt more magical and transportive. Being in the historic Gershwin Theatre, hearing the iconic score performed flawlessly, and seeing the spectacular costumes and sets up close made it an unparalleled theatrical experience. The indescribable energy and talent of the original Broadway cast took the storytelling to the next level.

Attending the Broadway production of this beloved musical was worth every penny. If you have the opportunity to see Wicked on Broadway rather than on tour, take it! You will not regret experiencing the show in its original home, with the stellar production value and world-class performances that only Broadway can deliver. Your trip over the rainbow to Broadway will leave you grinning as wildly as the Wizard himself. Just like Elphaba and Glinda, you’re sure to become friends with the Broadway version of Wicked for good!