Monday, November 9, 2009

Review: Wicked (A New Musical)

Having the good fortune to see Wicked when it came through Denver, I was curious as to how it would handle the storyline of Gregory Maguire's novel of the same name.  The book, after all, is not uplifting.  Most of the characters die, and those who don't become such warped caricatures by the end that Elphaba's death (and the end of the story) finally comes somewhat as a relief.

You'll be happy to learn, then, that, much as Wicked the novel is nothing like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Wicked the musical is nothing like Wicked the book.  Most of the focus shifts away from Elphaba's various failures throughout her life and instead highlights the now feel-good friendship between her and G(a)linda.  The whole story receives a Broadway sheen that (thankfully) makes it virtually unrecognizable as an adaptation of the novel.  While some might argue that many of the powerful themes of the book (religious and philosophical questions, social injustice, etc.) were lost, I would reply that they weren't that powerful in the book, anyway, and so their disappearance is no great loss.

In addition, the performances of the actresses were stunning.  The most powerful song, "Defying Gravity," induced goosebumps.  The sets and costumes were whimsical and imaginative, and the entire production delightful.  I would highly recommend you see it if you get the chance.

6 comments:

Homero said...

I didn't want to like it the first time I saw it. The second time I saw it ... it grew on me a bit more. The "Defying Gravty" song was goosebump inducing, yes, and I do find it going through my head at random times every now and then. I had some issues with the pacing of the story, but that just be my preferance for longer stage performances and general dislike of musicals.

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

DISLIKE OF MUSICALS? You're out of my will.

I know what you mean about the pacing, though. The "relationship" between Elphaba and Fiyero was so rushed it was ridiculous... as soon as Elphaba and Glinda met the Wizard, the rest of the production just rushed in without any real explanation.

(The book was like that, as well. It dragged all the way up to the point that the house fell on Nessarose and then suddenly the whole thing was over. Very irritating.)

Homero said...

The issue I have with musicals is that to me, the music is the same as unnecessary exposition, we as vieweres are often litterally told by the singer what that person is feeling/thinking rather than us being able to figure it out. To me, it's basically telling, rather than showing.

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

But what am I supposed to sing in the shower, if not unnecessary exposition? Jekyll and Hyde is my absolute favorite shower-singing song source.

Homero said...

...
Yeah...

Not that I don't like musicals-- "Glee" is one of my new favorite shows, and the intergation of the musical numbers make sense to me, at least there. That and "Dr. Evil's Sing Along Blog"

Daniele said...

While Defying Gravity is supposed to be their Blockbuster number, I think my favorite is For Good. Also, my favorite part of the book was the way he ended it with the tie-in to the creation mythology so I was a litle sad that wasn't in the musical, but it was nice that it had a happy ending. Also, FYI Glee featured a "diva-off" using the song Defying Gravity on last week's episode.

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