Wicked- The Musical

Anyone seen it? listen to the recording? What are some of the dopers thoughts…is this a breathe of fresh air for broadway?

Haven’t, sorry - but I just finished a book called Wicked. Does the play have to do with the Witch of the West?

Indeed it does, the musical is based on the book (which was suprisingly adult for what one would expect in an “OZ” book)

I’ve seen WICKED. Liked it so much I bought the cast album. It may not be the “Savior of Broadway,” but it’s a very theatrical, very fun night at the theater.

I read the book that forms the basis for the show and while I thought it started out great, it got really, really boring. The show has dumped the boring stuff and focuses on the animosity/friendship between the two witches, Glinda or Galinda and Elphaba, the Green.

The magic of the show is in the principal players. Kristin Chenoweth is a knockout as Glinda. She has come great lines and great gimmicks. . . and her singing voice is astonishing. However, I think she is one-upped by Idina Menzel as Elphaba. Talk about a voice!!! Wow! She rocks the house.

Joel Gray, one of my personal favorites from about a million years ago to now, is a fine Wizard, singing and dancing as if her were ageless.

This is a show you can take kids to and both adults and children will enjoy it.

It’s well worth the price. Order tickets early to assure you can get in. Don’t expect to get tickets at the TKTS booths. Enjoy!!!

So where is it playing?

It’s at the Gershwin theater.

I saw the play last night. I’m not a big fan of Broadway, but this was excellent. I thought Chenoweth as Glinda was awesome, although I wasn’t as impressed with Menzel as Elphaba. I’m also pretty sure that I caught the political message and how Oz resembles today’s world. There were definite swipes taken at the Bush Administration with regard to the Patriot Act and rights in general. In general, it is a very entertaining play. It has good music, decent acting, a storyline that keeps you interested and lots of humor.

I saw Wicked last summer during their pre-Broadway run in San Francisco and thought it was fantastic. Kristin Chenoweth (Glinda) and Idina Menzel (Elphaba) were onstage for the production, but Joel Grey did not appear as the Wizard (although friends who’ve seen the play in NY have told me that I didn’t miss much by missing his performance). The play did a nice job of presenting and developing the characters and their relationships and of weaving the story into the well-known tale of The Wizard of Oz, and the music – especially songs like “What Is This Feeling,” “Popular,” and “Defying Gravity” – filled out the characterizations wonderfully. I was in line to buy the CD on the day it was released last December. Really great stuff.

If you have a chance to see Wicked while Chenoweth and Menzel are still in the cast, take it. I’m sure their replacements will be fine, but I think those two are magical. :wink:

I echo it: GREAT SHOW, great cast CD. Stephen Schwartz has finally returned to his Godspell-Pippin-Magic Show roots, and dumped the Disney-schlock.

Didn’t see the play, but that stuff was in the book, which was written back when Clinton was President. So, while it is political, it is not necessarily directed at Dubya. More the PC-nazis, IIRC.

Do want to see the play, tho. We don’t get into NYC often enough, and that’s as good an excuse as any other I can come up with.

Thanks for that. I didn’t even know about the book until after I saw the play. I can’t give specific cites since I don’t want to ruin the play for anyone, but perhaps they changed some of the dialogue to reflect more recent times?

OK, so I’m a couple of months late to this party.

I have yet to see the show, but the cast album has been growing on me, bit by bit. It started out as just another new thing to check out, and now I’m beginning to reach the nearly-obsessed-mental-patient stage… something that last happened for me back in 96 with Rent – coincidentally, another Idina Menzel show, but I’m sure it’s merely coincidence.

Now I have to talk Mrs. Bricker into a day-long babysitter so we can zip up to New York and see a matinee. sigh

This stuff was much easier before a child entered the equation – we wanted to take a weekend and go? No problem.

But I digress. I just wanted to share my growing thrill with this soundtrack.

  • Rick

I saw it just a couple weekends ago. A wonderful show, with great performances, a good score, a lot of laughs, but also thought-provoking (what is “good”? Is it more important to be “good” or just have the appearance of “good”?).

Yes, it’s political, and while it may have been written during the Clinton years, it’s been adapted and updated in some of its references, IMO. Some touches are universal political statements, and others are aimed a little more at the current administration.

I don’t know enough about Broadway to know if it’s a breath of fresh air or not, but it’s a darn good show and will probably have a long run.

I was actually toying with a thread – either here or in GD - that explored that very idea: is there value in Glinda’s “I’m good, and I help the less fortunate, and really, who am I going to meet that isn’t less fortunate than I?” approach?

And of course the other question – at what point are we less responsible for our bad acts because of things in our past? Elphalba (sp?) was born green, and at least at the beginning was eager to do good and be good. In the end, she’s Wicked. Did she have Wickedness thrust upon her?

  • Rick

I read the book, and then I got all excited when they made the musical, but I got the CD and I have to say, I was pretty disappointed. Granted, I haven’t seen the thing, but it seemed so… oversimplified. They took out everything I really loved from the book and made it so, I dunno… black and white and kinda silly. All full of itself but without the magic. Sad, because I really love love love the book.

On the other hand, they fixed the last third of the book which is (IMO, of course) unmitigated gibberish. They also ditched the whole “Elphaba the Terrorist” notion (which I applaud).

That said as an Oz fan from waaaaaay back, the novel had detail and texture that I found amazing and the musical necessarily lost: “Kumbrik witch”, “Boq”, etc. The fact that McGuire dug those obscure references up and used them showed how much he loved the source material and it showed.

I also like the change to Nessa–I thought she was blah in the book and I love the fact that they made her into something needy and vaguely evil in the musical.


Well, yeah, the first half of the book was definately the best. The middle “Elphaba the Terrorist” bits were okay, and the end did kind of suffer. But the musical seemed to take all the complexity and shadedness out of it entirely - “Oh, she turned wicked because of Fiero!” misses the whole point of the book. I’ll take a bunch of wandering in the castle at the end where the author didn’t know how to end it (even though obviously he knew how it ended) for the richness of the theme.

Fiero was only part of what sent Elphaba over the edge (and I don’t think she ever was really wicked in the show!) First, she was betrayed by The Wizard who only wanted to use her powers to stay in power himself. Second, The Wizard and Madame Morrible conspired to create the tornado that killed Nessa, (the Wicked Witch of the East). And the Fiero connection is that the Wizard’s troops captured him for helping her. . . which is why she turned him into the Scarecrow.

My take on the musical was that she turned “wicked” by defying Madame Morrible and the Wizard. And she defied them after being tricked into mutilating the monkeys which the Wizard wanted as a secret police force. Plus, what annieclaus said.

One thing I can’t figure out, either in the book or the musical: what is Dorothy? In the book, Elphaba (who’s thoroughly and boringly insane at this point) keeps describing her as a soulless empty-eyed thing. The musical (based on the album) doesn’t really touch on it. Was she a construct of the Wizard or what? Anyone got any ideas?


FYI: for all of you considering trying to see Wicked! with Kristin Chenoweth (Glinda) and Norbert Leo Butz (Fiyero), their last performance will be on July 18.