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Culture Watch

Wonderfully Wicked

That line from one of Macbeth’s witches has special resonance this month—but in a wickedly wonderful way. For just about the entire month of March, the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers is hosting the road show of Wicked, the Broadway musical that has won 15 major awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards.

When I first read Gregory Maguire’s novel of the same name back in 1996, I was captivated. It was an entirely new take on the story of Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz, one that told the back-story to the well-known events—from the perspective of the Wicked Witch
of the West.

Yet Maguire’s pre-history is the moving tale of Elphaba, a quiet, thoughtful young woman with skin as green as the Emerald City, of her early friendship with Galinda (the insufferable but beautiful young thing whom we know as Glinda the Good Witch).

The news that Wicked was being turned into a musical prompted both hope and trepidation in me. After all, it’s not uncommon for good books to get ruined in another’s vision. Happily, the stage version is just as exciting, dark, quirky and fascinating as the original. And it has wonderful songs (Popular is just a blast) and super special effects.

While we’re on the subject of books (well, at least tangentially), time is running out to register for the Naples Press Club’s annual Authors & Book Festival and the accompanying Naples Writers Conference. The festival provides the chance to meet about 40 authors, purchase their works and have them signed. The conference features talks by such authors as Tina Wainscott, John Dufresne and Lisa Unger.

The Celebrity Author Luncheon, always a highlight, will be held at Vergina in Naples and features best-selling author Robin Cook (whose medical thrillers have often made the successful jump from page to silver screen).

Wicked runs March 7–29 at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. For tickets, call (239) 481-4849 or visit www.bbmannpah.com.

The 7th Annual Authors & Books Festival/Naples Writers Conference is held April 4–5 at The von Liebig Art Center. Pre-registration is required for the conference and author luncheon. www.authorsandbooksfestival.org.


More hot tickets
We also recommend Happy Days—A New Musical at the Phil, the Naples Art Association’s Andy Warhol Portfolios: Life & Legend exhibit and the 75th Birthday Celebration featuring works by Richard Segalman at the Harmon-Meek Gallery. See the March calendar on p. 216 for more information on them, or visit our online calendar at www.gulfshorelife.com.

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