Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wicked: An Appreciation

Seven years ago today, the musical Wicked opened on Broadway.

I'll admit, I had very little interest in it until a year or two ago when someone told me that I reminded them of the song "What Is This Feeling?" - you know, the one about loathing. (I took it as a compliment. We're still friends; don't worry.)

Then, slowly, I entered the realm of Wicked. I downloaded all of Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel's duets first, because frankly, they're the best. I put "Defying Gravity" on repeat. Then I read the book. Then, at long last, I finally saw the musical on stage in New York City over the summer.

Now, I officially can say that I love it, wholeheartedly.

I love Elphaba. I love that she fights for what she believes in. I love that she's different. I love that even though she's come to terms with her difference, she still sometimes wishes she looked like everybody else. I love that she's idealistic, and naive. I love that she gets up and dances at a party and makes a fool of herself and doesn't give a damn. I love that she tries so hard to break out of the box that society put her in, but just can't seem to do it. I love that she is a victim of her circumstances. I love that she makes a choice, and it changes her life. I love the resonating low notes she hits during "I'm Not That Girl" and the exalting high notes she hits in "Defying Gravity." I love that there are things in her life that she regrets.

Perhaps even more than I love Elphaba, I love Glinda. I love that Glinda is profoundly and fundamentally changed, from beginning to finish. I love that she's self-absorbed and even mean, but she feels enough for Elphaba to befriend her. I love that she tries so hard to be the person she wants to be - perhaps even the person she is, but she's just too scared. I love that she cares so much about how people see her that she can't break out of the box that society puts her in. I love that she is a victim of her circumstances. I love that she makes a choice, and it changes her life. I love that she starts with the high-pitched squeaks of "Popular" and finishes with the rich lower harmonies of "For Good." I love that she is forced to grow up, and that the world breaks her a little bit.

I love Glinda and Elphaba together. I love that they are each other's first true friends. I love that they hurt each other. I love that they forgive each other. I love that they change each other. I love that at the end of the day, it's not about Fiyero, or Nessarose, or even the Wizard. It's about Glinda, and Elphaba, and their relationship.
I love that Wicked tells the story of two women. I love that it's comical, and whimsical, and terribly dark and tragic at the same time. I love the melodies, the lyrics, the themes, and the voices. I love that "Defying Gravity" makes me feel like I can do anything I want if I just try. I love that "For Good" breaks my heart and makes me appreciate my true friendships.

I love it all.

So, thank you, Wicked, for giving me so much to love. I do believe I have been changed for the better. Happy seventh anniversary! May you continue changing the people who are lucky enough to experience you. I'll be back in less than a month...


  1. i'm so in love w/ the ozverse, reading the final book now actually. i've read wicked numerous times. i've bought the book 4 or 5 times b/c i keep giving it away to friends. you really kind of hit the nail on the head as to why i love it so much though. both the book and the musical, while totally different, still manage to be equally brilliant.

  2. I love wicked too and you are just wow.


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