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A Broadway musical based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire

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Popular... I know about pop-u-u-lar

  • Dec 5, 2008
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I'll be honest- I'm a musical lover. Ever since I was about 11 years old, my favorite gifts from my parents have been tickets to some Broadway show that had made it's way to LA. When I heard that a modern musical based on a best selling novel was taking over my beloved Pantages, I was leery. When I heard of the insane popularity of said musical, I was even more so. If the great masses loved this show so much, it must be somehow inferior to "true" grand musicals. 
Oh I was wrong.

Well-developed characters, alternately funny and poignant lyrics, incredible staging and fantastic music make this musical a winner. Being an avid theater-goer, a trained vocalist and the sister of a stage director, I have a tendency to get distracted by the technical aspects of a performance. This came into play especially as Elphaba (the "Wicked Witch") was obviously about to fly for the first time. There's a long period of build-up to this moment and my sister and I both found ourselves scanning the stage, trying to figure out how they were going to pull this off. 

I'll tell you- I've seen the play twice now and I still can't really say how Elphaba flies. This is not because it's impossible to tell- I'm sure one could figure it out. I don't know what method they use because the moment is so beautiful, so powerful, and I find myself drawn in so deeply that I am in tears, marveling at the beauty of the stage and the power of the emotion and completely unable to focus on any technicalities. 

There is, of course, an easily-accessible story-line for even the most novice theater-goer. This glimpse "behind the curtain" of the familiar tale of Oz is fun right from the start. There are asides, minor characters and small plot points that all become hilarious because we all know the story of Dorothy. I highly recommend this play to anyone from a first time musical patron to a hardened vet. Despite some dark moments, I think it's fine for children as young as 8 or 9, as long as they are well behaved.

**A note to those who have read the book**
The musical is far "lighter" and less sexual than the book it is supposedly based on. I say supposedly because they essentially take the same idea and run different ways with it. Once you get to intermission, they are virtually different stories. I would suggest trying to banish the book from your mind as much as possible, or you'll get distracted by the huge differences in plot.

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May 01, 2009
Couldn't agree more - I enjoyed this infinitely more than I expected. It's now showing in London...
April 02, 2009
I wanted to see this so badly. Would you say it was appropriate for all ages (like my kiddos)?
April 02, 2009
Assuming your kids are old enough to sit still for that long, absolutely! There are some kind of dark moments, but they're about on par with Wizard of Oz if not lighter.
April 01, 2009
Im sorry I missed this- I loved the book
More Wicked reviews
review by . February 25, 2010
Wicked is Wonderful. (There. I Said It.)
My reputation as a theatre professional may take a hit because of this review (because "goodness knows," true theatre people aren't supposed to appreciate "Popular" shows) but "I'm Not that Girl" - call me a "Sentimental [Wo]man" - Wicked leaves me feeling "Wonderful."      The prequel to "The Wizard of Oz," this musical tells the tale of two women - one born with green skin and shunned and the other beautiful and popular. …
Quick Tip by . August 04, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Such a great story and amazing music. Love the prequel-ness.
review by . December 23, 2009
Wicked, is wickedly awesome!
I went to see Wicked in Manhattan, New York. This was my 2nd time seeing wicked.  I could see it another one million times it is that good!  There was something for everyone in this show, and it was really entertaining.  The premise of the show is that there is background to the Wizard of Oz that you did not know about, and the entire show is basically a prequil to the movie.       The show is about the Wicked Witch of the West in all her green glory, …
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
Loved the book, LOVED the musical -- phenomenal songs, inspiring performances, great pace -- all around must see!
review by . June 18, 2009
…the Broadway musical of course.   After reading Gregory Maguire's Wicked several years ago I could only imagine how they would bring the magic of Oz to the stage. I had to remind myself before the performance began that Broadway plays, for the most part, are family oriented and tend to like happy endings (neither of which described Wicked.) The musical did a fair job of sticking to the original plot while still remaining family friendly.    My one criticism was how …
review by . June 09, 2009
Having now heard the original soundtrack as performed by the American Broadway cast, and having attended a performance by the Australian Cast, I am completely blown away by the calibur of this musical!    I'll admit to being more than a little biased, and say that I liked the performance given by the Australian cast more, although the American cast is certainly nothing ot slouch at! but I find it interesting how similar and yet how different the voices of the two casts are. If …
review by . March 10, 2009
I appreciate all they had tried to do with "Wicked", being one of those musical theatre aficionados who laments the barrage of "juke box " musicals that have taken over in recent years.  I wanted to LOVE WIcked. It had a plot. Original music, composed by one of Broadway's finest.  It looked wonderful. The actors are top notch. However, I walked out feeling like something was missing.   What was it? It really did come down to the score. Although the music was original, it had …
review by . December 13, 2008
It might be because I saw the musical first.  It might be because I'm a sucker for a good happy ending.  It might simply be that I've always loved theatre more than literature.  Regardless, I have to say that I loved the musical version of "Wicked."  In all honesty, I barely even liked the book when I got around to reading it afterwards.    Now, to be fair, it might not be appropriate to compare and contrast these works.  Indeed, they are so different …
About the reviewer
Lia Lara-Tellez ()
Ranked #82
I work for a wholesale travel agency when I'm not Lunching (ok, sometimes when I am). No, this does not mean I can hook you up with a free hotel. It does mean I can hook myself up witha free hotel, so … more
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The untold musical story of The Wizard of Oz's Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good... before Dorothy dropped in. Based on the imaginative Gregory Maguire novel, Wicked takes a fantasy journey through the unseen side of Oz, sharing a tale of unexpected friendship and love.
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