Archive for the ‘Favorite Shows’ Category

Wicked
May 25, 2010

I’m feeling a little lost right now. I haven’t had a song stuck in my head for several days now. I don’t really know what to do with myself.

So I decided that, to celebrate the fact that Wicked is coming to town (tickets went on sale to the public yesterday!) I would take this opportunity to put in my two cents on the subject – especially since I don’t have any other songs to talk about at the moment.

I saw Wicked for the first time in London two years ago. I have seen it two other times since – in London a second time, and in Minneapolis the last time it was here. After I saw it the first time, I was stunned. I honestly feel like it changed my whole perspective on life. It was fantastic. I hesitate to talk it up too much, because I know that if you go into something with super high expectations, no matter how good it ends up being, it doesn’t always end up fulfilling them. However, I can honestly say that this show is worth seeing. It’s the smartest, cleverest, deepest story I’ve ever seen on stage, with the most beautiful and powerful music I’ve ever heard. The combination of those two things make this show unforgettable.

A little background: Wicked the musical is based on the novel, Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. If you’ve already read it, I’ll tell you that I liked the book a lot, but as it’s own entity. The musical is very different. The basic plot is the same, but the tone and presentation are much more showy and upbeat. If you haven’t read the novel, I would suggest waiting until after you see the show. They are just too different, and reading the novel would give you the wrong expectation for the show. It’s like when a book is made into a movie, only on a larger scale. The two mediums are so different, that they can’t really be compared.

Anyway, the book itself was inspired by L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In Maguire’s version, he tells the tale from the perspective of the green witch, Elphaba (whose name derives from the initials of L. Frank Baum). Maguire’s story is rather enlightening – and from an English major’s perspective, nothing short of genius. He manages to take a story that seems straightforward, and give it a twist here and there which turns it’s entire meaning upside down. (As a sidenote, Maguire has written several other books in which he does the same thing – Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Mirror Mirror, and Son of a Witch – the sequel to Wicked, among others).

The result is a story that crosses generational, political and emotional boundaries, carrying audiences on a journey they will not easily forget. This is a story about politics, evil, good, friendship, love, discrimination, standing up for what you believe in, and the power of societies to condemn without just cause. It forces you to think, and if you’re lucky, you’ll learn something about yourself and maybe change your behavior the next time you realize you’ve only heard one side of a many faceted story.

I hope you are able to experience this show for yourself. I highly recommend it.

~J