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Sigh. I just got back from Wicked in London (only to see Kylie introducing the live Scissor Sisters concert) and I have to say it was all i thought it would be and more. Amazing sets, colourful but thoughtful costumes, catchy tunes, great seats and something i've been waiting for almost since i started this blog back in February... so here are some thoughts on the musical...


I first got Wicked - The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch Of The West (the novel by Gregory Maguire) as a gift for Christmas 1999. Now this wasn't the best time of my life healthwise as I was being treated for cancer and a lot of the themes in the book seemed very relevant to me - love, life, death, fate, choices... somehow the book really touched me and got me through some tough times. I've read it several times since and still find it incredibly clever, topical, an allegory for the world today, witty and just plain engrossing. The musical of course is pretty much the same as the book although it takes some liberties with the story. Madame Morrible, Dr Dillamond, Fiyero and even Elphaba have different endings to their stories on the stage, but in context it still works and is equally fascinating.



One of the main themes of the musical is what is the true nature of evil? Is someone born evil or is wickedness thrust upon them? Certainly Elphaba (the wicked witch) seems to have been a victim of circumstance and manipulation for most of her life as she tries to help others more needy than her - in this case Animals who can speak being treated like cattle. This leads to her being labelled Wicked by the wizard and its a title she then chooses to live up to, each decision and spell she casts having consequences she can't imagine. Is she wicked? It would seem not - she's a pawn in a bigger game, and when her faith in the wizard is misguided all she has ever believed in crumbles around her and we begin to see why she makes the choices she does. She truly believes she is going to make the world a better place.


Choice and consequence is another theme in the musical - Glinda the good witch chooses a different path from Elphaba but isn't happy with the outcome of her choice and ends up as much a victim as Elphaba. Yet Glinda realises she is unhappy with her choices and still plays up to the life she has, before redemption is at hand towards the end of the play. Fiyero - initially the lover of Glinda makes a choice to help Elphaba one day and we see some great character development in him. He changes from someone who claims not to worry about the past - its the here and now thats important ("i'm deeply shallow") to being passionate about a cause and another person. Adam Garcia is great in the role and more than a little foxy. Each choice made by the characters has repercussions for themselves and others - its when they realise this and learn from it that they start to change for the better and perform acts that seem selfless. Yet, as elphaba herself says are these acts truly inspired by good or do people want others to see them as good??


Friendship and love play a vital role. Elphaba and Glinda become firm friends and have this amazing platonic love affair where despite their differences, they both have this profound influence on each other. Fiyero and Elphaba become friends then lovers and again its the type of friendship that is life altering and makes you want to be a better person. In reality those friendships are rare - i've had a couple in my lifetime and while one didn't end well, it still influenced me and made me part of the person i am today. I was lucky enough to marry the other...

Oh gosh, i could just write so much more. There is a lot to love about this production. Sly wizard of oz film references, witty dialogue, a dynamite cast, etc. My favourite song Defying Gravity which i have loved for a long time was incredible live, i swear i was tingling from head to toe... I may come back and edit this post later but for now I need to lie down and rest and try to capture the memories from this story come to life :)

Link: The wicked musical website
Buy: Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Buy: Wicked the grimmerie - the story of the musical
Buy: the original broadway cast recording

5 Comments:

  1. PinkieDust said...
    Thanks for your late night posting! Muchly loved. However I scanned it all as i don't want to spoil the occasion when I see it(i've not heard a line from the show and I refuse to hear any snippet from the music soundtrack or the plot)

    See any celebs?

    Talking of Kylie she's my next subject for POPEATSPOP and its pretty much of an exclusive.
    PinkieDust said...
    I say exclusive...but rather, its rare. As in i've never seen it online, in wikipedia or on kylie sites. It was released but only in Vietnam.
    Paul said...
    i tried not to give too much away of what has happening, but ultimately it was inevitable that i did a little bit... you will love it, its such a great production...
    J'ason D'luv said...
    Can't comment on Wicked the musical as I've never seen it, but two years ago, my good friend Steve that I worked with was literally obsessed with it. He would make trips to NYC to see it on Broadway as often as he could, and this was with the original cast. He had read the book(s?), too. We used to eat lunch together every day and just talk about pop music and silly things. He's now since gone on to become a high profile graphic designer here in L.A., doing thigs like the Nip/Tuck DVD box art. But, he occassionally anonymously comments on Chart Rigger.

    Anyway, glad you found the books as an escape during an otherwise unhappy period.
    Paul said...
    its easy to get obsessed with :) There is a follow up book called Son of a Witch which is equally genius...you really should give it a try :)

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