I have a list of Broadway musicals that I just have to see when they come to the Schuster Center in Dayton, Ohio. Recently that list increased by one. My heart has been captivated by the story of the Wicked Witch of the West. If you haven’t had the chance to see Wicked the Musical yet, you don’t know what you are missing. The amazing songs and spectacular sets left me feeling like a little kid again, staring at the stage in awe the whole time.
If you are only familiar with The Wizard of Oz, you don’t know the whole story. Glinda, the good witch, is actually vain and self-centered. Elphaba, who becomes the wicked witch, is actually kind-hearted, passionate, and always striving to do the right thing. Wicked the Musical takes everything you know about Oz and turns it inside out.
Based on the book Wicked, by Gregory Maguire, Wicked the Musical focuses on the story of the friendship of Glinda and Elphaba – from their days at school right up to the “melting”. Although I don’t want to give away the twists from the musical, I will say that it has a different ending than the book. The book is far darker than the musical, and contains adult situations. I took my kids to see the musical with no qualms. (My youngest is 7.) There are a couple of dark scenes at the end, but nothing that would be overly frightening to children, especially if they didn’t have a problem with any of the scarier Witch scenes from The Wizard of Oz.
I was quite surprised by all the funny parts in Wicked. I wasn’t expecting that. One of the best parts was the catfight in the cornfield with Glinda wielding her magic wand like a ninja. Also particularly humorous was Elphaba imitating Glinda’s vanity in “What is this Feeling”. Scattered throughout were a lot of little tongue-in-cheek references to the movie The Wizard of Oz.
The special effects used in Wicked are particularly stunning. From the very beginning with the red-eyed dragon atop the stage that breaths smoke and the glowing Emerald City on the stage curtain, the special effects and sets used will leave you wide-eyed. Glinda’s appearance by bubble was a great way to kick off the show. I was particularly impressed by the simulated rain during “I’m Not That Girl”. The scene in the Wizard’s chamber was also amazing. His booming voice seemed to fill the theater. And “Defying Gravity”…. I think I could do a whole post just on that song. Elphaba truly looked like she was flying.
As a special treat, we got to meet some of the cast afterwards and get autographs and pictures. Miss K now has the teeniest bit of a crush on the actor who plays Fiyero, Billy Harrigan Tighe.
Glinda must have still been in her bubble, because my picture of Miss K posing with Tiffany Haas turned out blurry. So this picture of her signing autographs will have to suffice. Tiffany Haas was amazing as Glinda. (I know I am using that word an awful lot, but it’s true!) Her comedic perkiness was the perfect foil for Elphaba’s more serious nature.
Can I just say how blown away I was by Christine Dwyer’s portrayal of Elphaba. Wow! Her performance of “No Good Deed” was breathtaking. So much range and emotion! She is spectacularly talented. I didn’t quite expect her to be so tiny and petite in person since she has such a commanding presence on stage. I do have to wonder how long it takes her to get all that green makeup off though
There are just some stories that you can’t get out of your head. Wicked the Musical is one of them. Oh Elphaba… Because I knew you, I too have been changed for good.