Wicked follows the story of the tragically misunderstood Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, as she ventures through her college years and meets G(a)linda, (more commonly known as Glinda the Good). As you would imagine, the two immediately clash and hilarity ensues as they try to co-exist as roommates in their new school. In addition to dealing with her impossible rooming situation, Elphaba is forced to confront other morally ambiguous conflicts and must ultimately decide to either live peaceably while doing the wrong thing, or to risk her life by standing up for that in which she believes. In order to avoid spoiling the plot, I will end the summation here, but I highly encourage you to read this book as it has incredible substance and speaks volumes about the underlying motivating forces that are present in relationships of all kind.
A MORE “POPULAR” ADAPTATION
Chances are that if you picked up on my pun, you are very familiar with one of the most successful Broadway shows of all time that shares a title with, and is based upon the content of, this book. The musical adaptation of Wicked opened in San Francisco on May 28th, 2003. The original cast was a POWERHOUSE, as Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, and Norbert Leo Butz all were featured as the main characters. The original cast also included the GREAT Joel Grey as the Wizard of Oz. With a cast like that, it had great potential to become a big success and it did just that.
Wicked is still performed on a regular, eight-show per week basis at the Gershwin Theatre in New York City. In addition to its Broadway home, it regularly tours the nation and is housed in several other theatres throughout foreign countries, at which it is performed nightly. The music is phenomenal. Stephen Schwartz created a rock-solid soundtrack with some hit-home lyrics and it just doesn’t get better than that. The theatrics are incredible when seeing it live. The dancing is incomparable. It truly deserves every bit of recognition that it has received and then some more ( For the record, I will NEVER be over Avenue Q taking home the Tony in 2004, and you shouldn’t either).
WHY I LOVE WICKED
Those of you who really know me are aware that I go through many stages in my life in which I become swept up in a certain band, individual celebrity, movie, musical, etc, and it kind of takes over my life. Now, these stages may be fleeting from one to the next as I grow and learn and experience new things, but my love for each of these discoveries never goes away. Once I become enthralled with a particular thing it becomes a part of me and remains forever, even if it may not be the thing on which I am focused at this particular moment in time.
That being said, there was a point in my life where I lived and breathed this musical. It was all I could think about, talk about, blog about.,, I was in love and rightfully so. This musical transcends all experience for me. I have been so fortunate as to have the opportunity to see Wicked five times and if you asked me to go tomorrow, you’d receive the most enthusiastic “yes” you’ve ever heard in your life, I guarantee it. Something very special happens each time I see this musical and I’m not sure I’ve ever left a viewing with the same feelings afterward. Each time, I take something else from the plot line because the musical’s plot speaks so many volumes: It’s okay not to fit in with everyone else. Sometimes doing what is right gets you in more trouble than doing what is wrong. It is so important to tell the people who mean the world to you that they actually do mean the world to you while you still have the chance. Forgiveness is hard, but is so important, so you should always forgive the ones you love. The sweetness of relationships lies in the brevity. The list of lessons that can be learned could go on forever and when I am fortunate enough to go see this musical again, I am sure that I will take something else incredibly insightful and valuable from it that is vastly different than the time before, and the time before that. It really is a magical experience and I can’t help but smile when one of the songs comes up on shuffle or when one of my friends makes a comment that ends up being a reference.
I also am a huge fan of both Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel. Both of them were such important figures and role models in the process of my own discovery of my love for music. Seeing Idina Menzel in concert and getting to speak to her afterward was such a life-changing experience for me. There also is not a day that passes that I do not listen to Cheno’s version of “Glitter and Be Gay” because holy high notes. If not for these two amazing ladies, I might have never felt compelled to really involve myself in my chorus classes and consequently, would have lost out on the best friends I have ever made and the most memorable experiences of my life so far. It’s funny how everything seems to connect, isn’t it?
Wicked definitely changed me for the better and I will never stop falling in love with it each time I am fortunate enough to experience it. If you’ve not seen it, I encourage you to jump immediately at your next opportunity. If this is not a possibility, I’m sure there are live versions available for viewing on YouTube (If you really want to cry, watch Cheno’s last performance- I sob like a small child.) Definitely check out the soundtrack, if nothing else! Long live this musical and long live these feelings it inspires.
Love and light to all on this Tuesday!
If you’re bored today: