Thursday, April 17, 2008


Last night, Bantams 12 & 9, Blondechick15 and I all went downtown, with a bunch of other folks from our theater group, to the Oriental Theater to see the musical Wicked!

And it was AWESOME!!

Even from the nose-bleed seats (which I couldn't help mournfully comparing to the second-row seat I'd had for Ragtime, the only other show I've seen in that gorgeous theater), it was quite a spectacle. And even more, it was quite a story.

I have heard Christians speak suspiciously of this musical, because "it twists the ideas of good and evil," but I disagree (about the musical, at least; I haven't read the book). I think, rather, that it raises important questions about how flippantly individuals or society label something as "good" or judge something to be "bad" based on externals.

If you aren't familiar with the plot, it's a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. It supposes that Glinda, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, Elfaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Nessarose (the Witch of the East who owns the ruby slippers) are all at school together. Glinda is the extroverted, shallow, popular blonde that everyone (including herself) thinks is perfect; Elphaba, with her unfortunately green skin, is a social outcast despite her heart, brains and talent.

When the two are thrown together as roommates, they loathe each other at the outset, but eventually a lasting friendship is formed. Through their choices and the ups and downs of their relationship, you see the potential for good and for bad in them both. There are also higher powers at work defining and shaping them. In one case, the headmistress helps Glinda get everything she wants--only for Glinda to discover that getting what you want isn't always "good."

I won't give away the whole story, but ultimately it's a story of friendship, as both women realize that their relationship has changed them, "For Good":

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a bird in the wood

Who can say if I've been
Changed for the better?
I do believe I have been
Changed for the better
And because I knew you...
I have been changed for good.

I could say so much more--about the acting, the costumes, the sets, and especially the singing (amazing)--but the bottom line is: If you ever get the chance to see Wicked...(especially if you live in the Chicago suburbs and you haven't gone yet!)...



Anonymous said...

The book is DEFINITELY different. I would not recommend it. Gets into issues of sexuality, slavery, politics in a very immoral way.

Erin said...

BEST MUSICAL EVER! :D I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it, I knew you would. Oh how I wish I could see it again...

Emily said...

It's defnitely one of our fave shows... the funny thing is that just last night we were driving around on a tour bus in downtown Chicago seeing the sights (I assume that is where you went?) and I snapped a pic of the outside of the theatre where Wicked is playing!

We saw the show in Philly last August. Just amazing.

(Normally we live in NC. We are here in SB for the semester as my dh teaches at ND. I found your blog through A Ten O'Clock Scholar...)

Glad you got to see it!

stephseef said...

seen it... LOVED it! THe book, however, is very dark, with weird sexual deviancies that are so unnecessary to the story -- but anything that's written for Kristin Chenoweth [original GLinda] must be worth seeing!


Traci said...

I'm so glad you all were able to see it!! I know all about the plot and know all the songs by heart, but I haven't seen it yet...big dream! ;)

Becoming Me said...

I have yet to see the musical, but I actually enjoyed the book. It had some weird and dark parts that I mostly skipped, but overall I thought it was a great read.

Tracy said...

Glad you got to see it, I saw it opening weekend with my husband and then saw it again with my daughters about a year ago. It is a great play about being different and following your heart. i did read the book also, again much darker I agree.

Annie said...

We so enjoyed this show, and now the CD. The growth in Elfaba's character, the dilemma between using her talents for the wizard's purposes or not... we really like it. I'm glad you saw it!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I know!!

Thanks for reminding me about this post. I've been busy and haven't gotten around as much as I'd like to.

How did your 9 year old like it? I think it's closing in NYC by 2009, so I'd like to take Amanda.