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Saw Wicked yesterday afternoon. Musicals aren't really my cup of tea but a chum wanted to see it, so I thought I'd go with an open mind. I really had missed all the publicity about it--e.g., Idina Menzel winning a Tony, people saying this is the best musical ever, etc. I did hear it was a backstory to The Wizard of Oz and did attempt to see that movie again (after 25-30 years) before going but didn't manage to in the end. I might have missed many references to TWoO, therefore.

 

The show is 3 hours (too) long with a 15 min interval, and the story of the two witches' (Glinda's and Elphaba's) childhoods has a slow pace. A prince charming character goes for spoiled Glinda then opts for the socially conscious Elphaba who happens to have green skin. The songs didn't sound very memorable, but Shoshana Bean (green, wicked witch of the west, Elphaba), originally Menzel's understudy, has a terrific voice. George Hearn, as the Wizard, was particularly weak (not just my view--the audience's claps really diminished when he appeared at the end). I didn't find the gags particularly funny, but there were lots of laughs from the audience. The costumes are really quirky, colorful and very impressive. The Gershwin is very comfortable, and huge (and yesterday's matinee, absolutely packed).

 

My verdict was 5/10. My friend gave it 7/10 (and she was very disappointed that Menzel was no longer playing Elphaba. Menzel apparently fell down a trap door on stage a few days ago and broke her ribs just days before she was to bow out anyway).

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And, in the musical, a pretty superficial political manifesto. I missed that out in my post. Small example: green skin stands for "difference" and the good-looking guy saw though his "greenism" in the end and saw Elphaba for what she really was. I could go on and on.....

 

Another thought: I thought several interchanges between the 2 witches were very similar to those in the movie "Clueless". Glinda giving Elphabe a makeover.

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I'd give the book 5/10 also - loved the premise, but it turned into a dreary political manifesto.

 

Yes. Dreary is a good word for it.

 

And, it lacked the light heartedness a play like Avenue Q applies to make it flow more easily. Of course, Wicked will probably run for a hundred years.

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There was a movie a few years back called "She's All That." Rachel Leigh Cook plays a geeky "duck" going to a new high school. She's socially conscious and, of course, shunned by the apathetic cool kids. She's paired in class with Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, The coolest girl in class. (Or was it Sarah Michelle Geller? Well, whoever it was had three names.) Jodi was mortified that she had to be associated with Rachel. what will the other kids say if they see her handing out with the duck. Jodi's boyfriend, Freddie Prinze Jr., the coolest guy in school, pites Rachel and talks to her. Freddie realizes that, hey, brains are hot. And so is Rachel when the costume designer takes off the geeky clothes and puts on the "swan" clothes. Freddie falls for Rachel. Jodi realizes Rachel is cool too, and decides that she'll be Rachel's friend even if the other kids won't understand.

 

Sound familiar?

 

No? How about that movie called 16 Candles?

 

Wicked had amazing sets and costumes. Idina has an amazing voice. I guess Kristen Chenowith did too, but her character just squeeked a lot. I don't understand why anyone not a teenage girl would want to sit through that dreck of a story.

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If the whole point of a musical is the music, can someone please explain to me why the music was so awful? (actually, I wonder about this with almost all modern musicals) Not a single memorable song in the score. And most of it was derivative.

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I am a huge Chenoweth fan, since her days in Charlie Brown...and was impressed with her performance in Wicked, as I was with Menzel..but despite these strong performances, I agree the show never came together. Perhaps it was that there were no memorable songs...just impressive voices. My son went on the Saturday that Menzel got injured..it was actually quite serious and you could here her, as per his accounts, calling for help and crying, since she was miked when it happened. And, they ACTUALLY call out ;"Is there a doctor in the house??"

 

However, I've given up on trusting my own reactions to shows..I honestly thought Taboo was one of the most memorable shows I had ever seen, went to a preview, and then bought tickets the next day to see it post opening...I've never done that before. I have the OCR, of the NY show, and I still say its fantabulously wonderful.

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  • 3 years later...
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The Broadway version of Wicked now offers "backstage tours" of the set. Playbill reports that Norbert Leo Butz will conduct the next tour.

 

This sounds like a great opportunity for the many fans of the show. $25

 

The 90-minute tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at the hit musical at the Gershwin Theatre. Run by current and former Wicked cast members, the tour features a 20-minute film of special footage from the musical, interviews with cast and creative team members, as well as a display of Eugene Lee's Tony Award-winning set, an up-close look at some of Tony Award winner Susan Hilferty's costumes and props, wigs and masks from the show.

 

The tours will continue Oct. 11 with original Wicked cast member Christopher Fitzgerald (Boq) and Oct. 25 with author Gregory Maguire, who penned the best-selling "Wicked" novel.

 

Playbill

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