Wicked

8 Dec

We all know the story of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.  If you don’t, then come out from the rock you’re living under.

But what about the Wicked Witch of the West?  What’s her deal?

Margaret Hamilton as the Witch in the 1939 fil...
Image via Wikipedia

One of the greatest film villains of all time had a book written about her called Wicked, sort of a reimagining of the character.  And a significantly more sympathetic portrayal, with the added bonus of some political subtext.Most people could care less about the book (because seriously, who reads anymore?).  But the musical based on the show is kind of a big deal right now.  And I found myself sitting in Miller Auditorium on Saturday night watching it.  And The Attebiz Himself wants to know what I think about it.

Disclaimer: I am a heterosexual male, and as such do not fall into Wicked’s target demographic.  But I will be as fair and balanced as possible.  Like FOX News, but with less Bill O’Reilly.  I digress.

Positives:

The music.  Oh my goodness the music.  The most important part of a musical really is the songs.  If you’re going to halt the narrative every three minutes to break out in song, they better knock it out of the park.  And Wicked delivers that in spades.  There are so many songs and they are all done so well that it’s impossible not to get at least one of them stuck in your head for three days.

The set design and technicals of this play are really quite amazing.  The set’s themselves became their own character.  They set the mood, made it visually appealing and even included a dragon (thus abiding by rule #47 of set design: when in doubt, add a dragon).

The singing was perfect.  There were a couple minor flubs in the music (singer missing a key change or the orchestra missing a note) but there were imperceptible to somebody who wasn’t familiar with the technicals of music.  Plus I can’t be critical, because the performers were insanely talented, and this isn’t like a movie where you get a second take.

Negatives:

Glinda and Elphaba‘s relationship felt a bit rushed in the first act.  Their friendship is very key to the plot, so it felt like another scene or two would have helped out.  But obviously, being a musical, something’s gotta give.

Similarly, the male lead (Fiero? Firey? Figaro? I don’t know, his name was F-something) felt somewhat underdeveloped.  With the mystical nature of Glinda and Elphaba’s characters (being witches and all), Fiero was a very normal character.  I feel like he could have provided a more grounded (everyman) view of the crazy stuff that’s happening.  Kinda like Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight.  But his character isn’t fleshed out very much in act one, and then in act two he’s a bit more involved, and it comes out of nowhere.

To be fair, I cannot complain too much about these issues, because character development and plot tend to suffer in musicals (a necessary downside to breaking out into song constantly).

Overall, I give Wicked an 85 out of 100.

Jordan Dehart

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One Response to “Wicked”

  1. CookieCrumb December 13, 2010 at 4:21 am #

    The book has sold over three-quarters of a million copies according to Gregory Maguire’s website, and is a NY Times Bestseller, so I must insist that people do care about the book. Due to its very adult thematic material, its audience is probably a bit smaller than the musical’s, which is perfectly family-friendly. A section of the book is titled “The Clock of the Time Dragon” which describes a traveling stage on which a semi-animated clockwork dragon oversees bawdy puppet shows, which explains dragon on the stage.

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