Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Wicked: the Musical!
The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz

Today, I went to see Wicked and it was wicked awesome! It is in Toronto for a limited engagement The awesome thing is that tickets are regularly at least $54 for the nosebleeds, but, if you go to the box office 2 hours before showtime, they have a lottery to give away 24 tickets for $25 each! The tickets are in the boxes at the sides of the front, so you lose part of the stage, but I hardly missed anything. And you get armchairs and more leg room. How fantastic is that!

So, this is a musical that couldn't miss. The music and lyrics are by Stephen Schwartz, the mastermind behind such shows as Godspell and Pippin. The story is based on the fabulous book by Gregory Maguire, called Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. More on the story shortly. The whole thing is based on a classic favourite of book and screen The Wizard of Oz. The costumes are wonderfully over the top. There's magic, talking animals, flying animals, witches, love, hatred. All of the ingredients of a killer stage production.

The story differs slightly from the book - hardy surprising in that the book is a very long and in depth analysis of the nature of good and evil within the story world of an Oz like you've never imagined. It is brutal, the politics are harsh, and almost everyone is out for their own good. This Oz is most definitely not in Kansas anymore, and it is not a children's world. (not that Baum's is particularly clean when you really think about it). I really liked the book. It's a great story and it makes you think.

The story in the musical goes something as follows. Elphaba is born green, powerful and smart. Galinda is born blonde, perky, and popular. Somehow they wind up as roomates at college and they hate each other. But, through one event and another these opposite people become friends. They both want to work to help Oz. But their ambitions and ethics are different, and one gets on the bad side of the Wizard while the other becomes an important public figure. In the musical we lose some of the politics, and many of the details of Elphaba's life, in concentrating on the relationship between the 2 (3 if you count Elphaba's sister, owner of the famous slippers) witches.

This is definitely worth seeing. It is, perhaps, the best new musical I've seen in years. I laughed, I cried, I loved it. It is in town through the end of November.

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