Brynn O'Malley admits to having a keen sense of compassion during a recent viewing of The Wizard of Oz.

Brynn O'Malley admits to having a keen sense of compassion during a recent viewing of The Wizard of Oz.

Seeing shoes and striped stockings sticking out from under Dorothy's house caused her to cry out, "Nessa!"

As in Nessarose, the name given to the Wicked Witch of the East in the musical Wicked. As in the sister of Elphaba, the green girl who becomes the Wicked Witch of the West and, along with Glinda, the Good Witch, the central characters of the play.

And, as in O'Malley's character in the touring production of Wicked, a part she also played for a year-plus on Broadway.

"She's bizarrely crucial," O'Malley said of Nessarose, who begins the show in a wheelchair but later, thanks to some magic from Elphaba, gets some famous red shoes that enable her to walk. "She makes a lot of decisions that change the course of the play."

O'Malley pointed to a scene early in Act II when "things go terribly wrong - not what she was expecting."

"The part allows for a great range of emotions and a real transformation," she explained.

And, unlike the actresses cast in the two highlight roles, O'Malley doesn't have to have her life dominated by "being Elphaba or Glinda."

Still, O'Malley said, "I don't feel like I'm the third wheel in a story about two girls. Nessa is not on stage very much but when she is, it's very important."

Around this time each year, right when the summer simultaneously seems to be dragging on forever and yet rushing to a premature conclusion, a few things happen.

Among them is the Ohio State Fair. Home-state heroes Devo (Aug. 4) highlight this year's slate of live shows, which also features a something-for-everyone lineup that includes: David Sanborn/George Duke (July 30), Darius Rucker (Aug. 3), Heart (Aug. 5) and Rascal Flatts (Aug. 8 at Crew Stadium).


Another is the closing of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra's Picnic With the Pops season accompanied by The Ohio State University Marching Band (signaling the approach of football season) - this year Friday and Saturday, July 30-31, on the lawn at Chemical Abstracts Service.

Call (614) 228-8600.

The Beat has long imagined that, if there were a sound that expressed pure, boundless joy, it would be the voice of Jimmy Cliff.

We All Are One, Many Rivers to Cross, I Can See Clearly Now. Beauty. Glory. Joy.

Trevor Hall opens for Cliff Tuesday, Aug. 3 at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion. Tickets are $20.

Joy is just one of the emotions evoked by Primus and its headman, bassist Les Claypool, whom The Beat has called a clown prince of rock - albeit the creepy, scary clown that frightens children. The band's prog-metal-funk-rock concoction can bring a smile for any number of reasons.

Add gypsy-punkers Gogol Bordello to the mix and it's a night not to be missed at the LCP Thursday, Aug. 5. Tickets are $36/$39.

Call 1-800-745-3000.

We get The National, inasmuch as they offer a take on a successful musical MO established by the likes of Coldplay.

What we don't get is the why the proliferation of stuff that, while pensive and moody, is often directionless and sounds better as the bed under the poignant end of a TV show than as a stand-alone tune.

The National and The Antlers play Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Monday, Aug. 2. Tickets are $25/$28.

We run the risk, by suggesting that something might be lacking, that fans will turn on us, as they did in 2003 when we called Ween "passionately indifferent" and suggested the band sounds like it might not even care. The comments were picked up and posted on an Internet message board and garnered responses not fit for print in a family newspaper.

Ween returns to play the LCP Saturday, July 31. Tickets are $25.

Call 1-800-745-3000.