Play Review: Wicked: The Musical

January 28, 2012

wickedI got my daughter tickets to see Wicked: The Musical for Christmas while it was on tour here in Florida.

For those who don’t know, Wicked is based on the book of the same name by Gregory Maguire. I read it many years ago when it first came out and here’s what I remember:

  • The book tells how Elphaba became known as the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • Maguire explains how she gets around the whole bathing thing since water destroys her in the end.
  • Glinda’s (the Good Witch of the North) name is actually Galinda.
  • Dorothy is a very peripheral, non-entity of a character until she, of course, liquidates the witch.
  • It’s sad. And long. Good, though!

Yeah, so the play is nothing like that. I mean, yes, we still find out how Elphaba becomes the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda is Galinda. But the play focuses more on the friendship between the two women and is way, way, way more upbeat and funny.

There is nothing (nothing!) I didn’t like about the play, so some of the things my daughter and I enjoyed:

  • Seeing the people turn into the iconic creatures: Tin Man, Scarecrow, etc.
  • Galinda. She is so shallow and funny. I want her to teach me to be popular. *tosses hair*
  • The song “Loathing”
  • Actually, getting context for all the songs was fantastic. We had listened to the soundtrack before but didn’t follow the plot through that. Much like Dreamgirls, hearing the songs sung in context gives them more power and meaning.
  • “Defying Gravity” is an absolute showstopper.
  • The set was amazing.
  • Media manipulation is real. Poor Elphaba is just a victim of bad press.

Basically, the show is awesome. If you’re a fan of female friendship, fairy tale retellings, musicals, showmanship, strong female characters, fun wordplay, and exceeding cleverness definitely check out Wicked when it tours near you.

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