Dichotomies abound in "Wicked." Friend and foe. Freedom and fascism. Appearance and reality, not to mention goodness and wickedness.

Dichotomies abound in "Wicked." Friend and foe. Freedom and fascism. Appearance and reality, not to mention goodness and wickedness.

Perhaps that's the problem with "Wicked" - trying to take on so many themes, including a love triangle, that it lacks focus and leads its characters to what T.S. Eliot called "decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse."

It was novelist Gregory Maguire's thesis that what we didn't know about the Land of Oz before Dorothy Gale dropped in could fill a book.

Three books, actually - the first of which was loosely adapted by playwright Winnie Holzman and composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz into the musical of the same title, "Wicked," in 2003.

What's most clever about the musical is how it turns on its head everything we think we know from the classic 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" in ways that don't entirely violate logic.

Also clever are Schwartz's delightfully playful lyrics and Holzman's endlessly punning text. They manage to bounce off several of the most cherished lines from the iconic film, letting everyone in on the joke.

What you'll remember best about this Broadway Across America tour, though, are the two leads.

Chandra Lee Schwartz imbues Glinda the Good Witch with an irrepressibly bubbly demeanor yet doesn't strain believability when she grows from utter self-absorption to true sisterhood. And Jackie Burns makes for a determined and heroic Elphaba, the so-called Wicked Witch of the West.

Whatever shortcomings "Wicked" may have as a musical, Burns and Schwartz overcome with what we might call fine Elphabetical order.