Wicked, the Broadway musical by Stephen Schwartz (yes, I just looked that up) is the untold story, and kind of a prequel to the Wizard of Oz. The story of how 2 witches, one green and one blonde, despite having completely opposite personalities and goals in life, eventually worked together to overthrow the corrupt ruler of Oz, the Wizard. In the process, they had to fight over food a common love interest, free caged flying monkeys, defy gravity, and cast magic from the Grimmerie – an ancient book of spells written in a long forgotten language that can only be spoken by the naturally talented.
My first encounter with Wicked, I believe, was in my grade 11 year. I played the clarinet in our local youth orchestra (Richmond Youth Orchestra), and somehow we got to play a few pieces from this musical. We were all absolutely thrilled. I don’t remember why we all got hooked, but by the end of the rehearsal, everyone was humming Wicked melodies. I guess it was a nice detour from a lot of the less interesting pieces we played. When I got home, I read the story on Wikipedia, “got” all the original Broadway soundtracks, and they have been on my personal music devices ever since. Every few days, I would go through them all again on the bus. At this point, I can almost sing all the pieces by heart. Yummy!
I love musicals because there are good music just like in operas, except I can actually understand what’s going on.
And 5 years later, we finally got to see the actual musical last weekend!! They have been on tour for a few years now, and they just happened to be in California TWICE while I’m here on my co-op term. We originally planned to see it in Sacramento, but I guess 3 months in advance is not early enough for a show this popular, and we couldn’t get good tickets, without paying arms and legs to ticket brokers (ticket brokers – people who mass buy event tickets and try to sell them at much higher prices, in my not so humble opinion, are a bunch of crooks).
Luckily, we found out soon that they were heading to San Diego (about 8 hours drive from San Jose) next. I bought tickets within 5 minutes of the tickets going on sale, and got some pretty awesome seats! 3 LONG months later, we finally got to join the fun at the San Diego Civic Theatre!
It was… like a big fat dump after 2 months of constipation!!
The music so powerful, the actors so involved, and the story so delicious. I’ve known the story and imagined the scenes over and over for the past couple years, and it’s so cool to finally be able to see the “official interpretation”. Some of the scenes are pretty close to what I imagined, but some, like the Popular scene, made me felt like I’m a dog that was suddenly told I’m actually a cat on my 20th birthday or something. It was an amazing feeling. Literally felt like a dream that came to life. So much more refined. So much more resonant.
My life will never be the same, now that I have this little Oz firmly planted in my head.
Acting-wise, I love how the play is cheerful and funny, almost comedy-like, in the beginning, and gradually become weightier and weightier towards the end. Near the end of the play, it felt like all the hope has been sipped away, and the story was very dark and moody. Love it!
If you plan to go watch it (I think it’s coming to Seattle in a few months), please do grab me! I would love to watch it again!
Defying Gravity, one of the most iconic pieces from the musical, sung by Idina Menzel, from the original Broadway cast (Elphaba) –
One more item off the list of things to do before I die!