Sunday, June 01, 2008

Going green: Almost everywhere one goes these days, you hear about going green. I'm not talking about the color of our currency but the saving of the environment by recycling, being efficient in our resources and being smart about not being wasteful. There is one place where it's not good to be green and that is in the cast of Wicked.

Wicked, based on Gregory Maguire's novel of the same name, tells the story of Galinda (the future good witch) and Elphaba (the future wicked witch) and how they meet at Shiz University. The musical follows, with catchy and energetic music, the two as they end up having to share a room and realize that there's more underhandedness happening in their part of the world than they ever would have imagined.

As the play progresses, we get to see everything that happened leading up to when The Wizard Of Oz began and then we get to see the aftermath of the death of the witch. The way things are tied together is pure genius. We get to see all of the Oz characters at some point and how they fit into the story is so clever.

The play has all of the relevant (to today's time) themes such as standing up for what's right, being misunderstood/different and not fitting in, putting your faith in people just because they hold a certain title and risking it all to change the "world" for the better.

I admit I tried to read the novel before seeing the show but I only made it halfway through. It requires a lot of interest in fantasy; something I just don't have. Having said that, I enjoyed the soundtrack and thought the musical was just short of brilliant. In fact, having already seen Avenue Q and then seeing Wicked, I believe Wicked was robbed of the Tony Award in 2004-both shows were released on Broadway during the same season. What's funny about that is Wicked won almost all of the awards leading up to the Tonys.

I wish I could have seen the show on Broadway with Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel (who also won a Tony for the role of Elphaba) but the two leads were magnificent. Galinda was a hoot and while she drew much laughter in almost every scene she was in, I sometimes felt it was bordering on overacting. The woman in the role of Elphaba had an incredibly powerful voice and had her own share of roaring laughter. This play was alive from the moment the curtain rose to the moment the actors took their bows. I'd see it again in a heartbeat. And, what's more, there's a surprise (for me, anyway) ending that cinches the show's excellence.

If you haven't seen this musical, it is a must-see. I'm sure the movie version won't be long in waiting.




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