While there haven’t been any official reviews of the Wicked movie yet, one person who’s intimately familiar with the material has given a thumbs up to Ariana Grande‘s performance.

Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music and lyrics for the hit Broadway musical, has been involved with the Wicked film adaptation since it was announced in 2012. It took 10 years — and a pandemic — for the movie to actually begin shooting, but that was followed by the news that the movie would be split into two parts. But Schwartz says he’s thrilled with what he’s seen so far.

Schwartz tells The Times of London that he thoroughly approves of the performances that Ariana, who plays Glinda, and her co-star, Cynthia Erivo, who plays Elphaba, have delivered in the movie.

“When I’m in the studio working on the movie, we’ll freeze a scene and it’s like it’s still in motion because Cynthia brings so much to it,” he says. “She is extraordinary, and so is Ariana. I see them over and over as I’m working on the film, and their performances, in my opinion, are unassailable.”

As for concerns that audiences just aren’t into movie musicals these days, Schwartz says, “One of my hopes for Wicked is that it will be easier to overcome the strangeness of people singing their thoughts because you’re in such an artificial world anyway. We know from the 1939 movie that people sing in the Land of Oz.”

The Times also notes that — spoiler alert! —  Wicked: Part One, which arrives in theaters November 22, will end in the same way that Act One of the musical ends: with a performance of the iconic song “Defying Gravity.”


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