A Deliciously Wicked Tale
Growing up, most of us have read, the “Wizard of Oz”. We have all been entranced by Dorothy and her adventures, and I bet some of you wore out the book! Although many of us wanted to be friend and confidant to Dorothy, a few weren’t as sympathetic, especially after the 1939 movie was released. The film was a success, but the Munchkins were said to be OTT ghastly, while the Good Witch could give diabetes with her sweetness.
Setting the backdrop
These elements slightly tarnished the reputation of the book, Wicked, by Gregory Maguire, but not enough to wreak severe damage. But the stage prequel, which sheds light on the back-story of the good witch Glinda, and of her malicious green-faced rival, Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, had generated considerable interest from the time of curtain call. Even though the reviews are not overly optimistic, it has become a huge hit in the Big Apple.
What is the story?
The audience of Wicked generally comprises adolescent girls listening fully captivated to the tale of two typical young women meeting at Shiza University and move on to Oz, where life is taking a dark turn. Glinda is the “it girl”, who is pretty, spoilt, wants to get her own way and popular even though she is an airhead. Elphaba’s green skin has always made her an object of ridicule and mockery from everyone apart from her crippled sister. It doesn’t take long for rivalry to embed its roots deeply into the pair, before they find out about being bosom buddies. Glinda tries to be “good” and finds love with Adam Garcia’s prince, while Elphaba turns into a broom-flying freedom crusader on behalf of Oz’s dispossessed. Soon the roles are reversed!
Why watch it?
Winnie Holzman’s script is the power behind this spectacle; preventing it from being preachy and imparting some humor the gags. The design by Eugene Lee and lighting by Kenneth Posner are definitely praiseworthy. The songs from Stephen Schwartz have a subtle wit, but his specialty is clear when the female leads stand in the center and move into the stratosphere with the big gloopy power ballads. Idina Menzel, a Tony award winner, gives a magical performance as the deformed Elphaba by blending in seamless with the character. Helen Dallimore also does justice to her role as the bubbly and self-obsessed Glinda. The friendship between these characters has been treated delicately that worked in their favor.
Overall, it is a good effort, and you must definitely attend a show. Now on tour. Wicked the Musical tickets.