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

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Better than the book

  • Dec 13, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+4
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 from one another that you could say that they're independent, but there's enough of a connection between them that I say they're not apples and oranges.  More like granny smiths and jonathans.

Perhaps what the musical has most over the book is the action.  The book, I felt, was a lot of "let's do stuff, then let's sit around and talk about the nature of good and evil, then we'll do some more stuff, then we'll sit around and talk about the nature of good and evil again."  By contrast, the themes of the musical, equality, not judging someone by how they look, and the importance of friendship, are apparent and don't need to be drilled into the audience.  Instead, they're sung while bright costumes and sets entertain, but don't overpower the performance.

The characters of the musical are more likeable than those found in the book.  In particular, I find that Glinda is more important and more sympathetic than her counterpart in the novel.  Elphaba too is much nicer.  The most drastic and, I think, improved change is found in Fiyero.  In the book, he's a bit of an outsider and doesn't change much, but the musical witnesses a startling transformation in his character that makes him fuller and richer.

The score is dazzling and alive.  The production values are phenomenal.  This is a real Broadway sensation.

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December 13, 2008
i agree with you- i found the book dull and too slow paced for my tastes. Then again, i will watch/ listen to anything featuring Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. I was lucky enough to catch Idina reprising her role in the west end.
 
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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 . December 05, 2008
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-deve …
review by . June 18, 2009
Wicked
…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 …
About the reviewer
Jessica ()
Ranked #839
It is my ultimate literary goal in life to be to ancient Greece what Philippa Gregory is to Tudor England. Only better.
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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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