Review: "Wicked" — Which One is the Good Witch?

Kid Tested, Parent Enthusiastically Approved

Heywood (9 years old) and I were very excited when we plopped down in our seats for Wicked. I didn’t really tell him much about it, he knew it had to do with The Wizard of Oz, but was about the wicked witch and that it was a play. That was mostly what he knew. But, regardless, he was bouncing in his seat with excitement. 

Just sitting and looking at the stage before the show started was pretty exciting. There was a map of Oz up, and the entire stage was framed by this metal/mechanical-looking rim with a huge dragon at the top center. Heywood was super impressed and throughout the show, he watched the dragon and would nudge me when his eyes turned red or anything else changed. The whole set throughout was fantastic, too.

Wicked is such a good show. Everyone, hear me now as I state, WHAT A SHOW! If I were to sum up what I love about this play, I would quote a kid sitting in the row in front of us who leaned over to their mom and whispered “Wait, which one is the good witch and which one is the bad?” I love that this play takes a story that most Americans are very familiar with (The Wizard of Oz) and flips the point of view and makes you question the entire premise. I am a sucker for seeing the curtain pulled back (see what I did there).


I received an email prior to the show that the stand-in, Sarah Anne Fernandez, would be playing the role of Elphaba (who we know as “the Wicked Witch”). I can’t even imagine it being played better. The story is really a story of friendship, power and standing up for what is right (with a bit of stab at the colonizing nature of this country). It’s truly beautiful, and funny. Galinda the Good was hilarious throughout and the actress who played her was a joy to watch. The show was smart, the characters were strong and wonderfully acted and the overall message is relevant for today. Heywood was engaged, enthralled, entertained and excited throughout, as was I. Speaking of Heywood, let’s hear from him.

Heywood’s corner:
It was good. It was a little dark. It was … I liked it. It was … I’m going to stop saying “it was”. It explains how everybody in The Wizard of Oz came to be. It was super hard to tell who was the villain was. Dorothy wasn’t really in it, there is a lot of musical songs, and there is a huge twist at the end but I am not going to tell you what that is. That would be spoilers. Be prepared for it to be a little dark at times, there was some animal cruelty (depicted) and the witch is cool. The end.

Some tips and notes:

  • The show is recommended for ages 8 and up, and I’d trust that. It gets into some emotional spaces and some really grown up issues.
  • There is some romance (light). Heywood is at the age where that is embarrassing, so he hid from anything remotely romantic.
  • PARKING — We parked in a parking garage. If you do this, bring cash! Pay cash when you go in, and it cuts the time on getting out again. If you have the time, get there early and find parking or better yet, try public transit, Lyft, etc. 
  • The snack bar/bar is spendy ($5 water bottles, people). Be prepared. Also, bathroom lines are long. If your kid is going to burst, talk to someone and they’ll help the kid get in quicker. 

Overall, I’d say if you can go, GO! It’s not cheap but there is a lottery for $25 tickets. To participate, arrive at Keller Auditorium 2.5 hours prior to the performance you wish to enter the lottery for and enter your name. Names will be drawn 2 hours prior to curtain.


  • ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation is available during the Thursday, July 18, 2019 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, July 21 at 6:30 pm performances.
  • Purchase ASL tickets online or call the Portland’5 Box Office at 503-248-4335,
  • Open captioning is available during the Sunday, July 14, 2019 at 6:30 pm and Wednesday, July 24 at 7:30 pm performances.
  • Purchase open caption tickets online or call the Portland’5 Box Office at 503-248-4335.
  • Audio Description is available during the Friday, July 12, 2019 at 7:30 pm performance. Headsets are available free-of-charge, on a first-come, first-served basis, with ID from the Keller Auditorium Coat Checkroom.

Click here for more info, tickets, etc. Shows run July 10-July 28. Tickets start at $49.

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