Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I had the opportunity last night to attend a performance of the Broadway musical Wicked, and I will say that it was an *amazing* show that totally changed my entire perspective on The Wizard of Oz forever. I will also mention that this show is rife with clever word play and more importantly, very deep messages about who is truly powerful, good and evil and how public perception and group thought shape our reality.
My favorite quote of the evening:

"The truth is less about fact or reason
And more about what people believe in."

So much to think about.
Highly recommended.


Michael Westen said...

Been wanting to see this show for years! As far as I've gotten is the original cast recording, which is great.
Glad you enjoyed it.

BrooklynWolf said...

I liked it so much that I've sen it twice.

The Wolf

Lon said...

Loved it (understatement of the year) - I spent half my past life waiting for discount tickets, and that's how I see my future going too. Isn't it amazing? I spent a full WEEK after seeing it reviewing all the little details in my head. Sadly, my companion for that night was not the "let's hash this over til it's dead" type.

Other questions raised - what does it take to effect change in society - idealism and drive, or charisma? Is flying free and solo really worth it? And why oh why oh why can't scriptwriters ever let the final couple be unevenly matched in beauty?

efrex said...

It is a very fun show, and the original cast featured a great mix of contemporary and classic musical theater greats. As a bit (okay, more than a bit) of a Sondheim snob, I nitpick some of the lyrics (If you start thinking about it, "For Good" is either self-contradictory or insulting, and "Defying Gravity" has perhaps the most redundant opening lyric in modern musical history), but there's a lot of fun material in there.

One warning, though: if seeing the musical makes you seek out the Gregoroy Maguire novel of the same name, be aware that the latter is MUCH darker and more convoluted than the former.

Lon: I can think of two contemporary musicals which feature a final couple unevenly matched in beauty: Passion and Violet. Never heard of 'em? Now you know why those kinds of shows aren't written too often :).

G6 said...

BrooklynWolf -
When I heard this awesome quote:

"A man's called a traitor--or liberator
A rich man's a thief--or philanthropist
Is one a crusader--or ruthless invader
It's all in which label
Is able to persist.
There are precious few at ease
With moral ambiguities
So we act as though they don't exist."

I couldn't stop thinking of your post on Dan L'kaf Zechus.... ;)

confused mom said...

would you recommend it as appropriate for a sixteen year old bais yakov girl whose parents like to shelter her from innuendo, immorality, and decadence? (but love going to broadway shows...)

G6 said...

Confused Mom -

email me off-blog.

Melissa said...

I've never seen it. Sounds fantastic.

Lon said...

confused mom - just cover her eyes during the first scene and you should be okay.

Lon said...

efrex - gone over the lyrics and can't figure out what you mean about either song. Not that all the songs are perfect (I still can't figure out why the wizard has to croak out his little song), but I don't get what you're saying about those two.

I also don't think it would have ruined the audience appeal if Fiyero hadn't been a scarecrow at the end. Reading the Wiki entries, I can think of other reasons why those musicals might not have been as popular.

G6 - this reminds me that there's another problem with an amateur troupe putting on Wicked - how many amateurs can belt out those songs? You need a set of iron lungs.

G6 said...

Lon -

I agree with you about the caliber of the singing, but hey - we've butchered others before it! (though I don't actually recall considering putting Wicked on the "small stage"... did I? I wanted 1776!! Just imagine it.... the entire Continental Congress made of of women, lol!!!)

And while Fiero didn't need to be the scarecrow from an audience appeal standpoint, SOMEBODY needed to be in order to make everything fall in to place at the end....

Frankly, I was too busy comparing and contrasting our society and our gedolim and our scapegoats and our heroes .....

efrex said...

To head off the followup comments at the pass: Yes, I think too much about these things.


Redundancy: "Something has changed within me/Something is not the same" (It's really not that terrible in the show, but at the 30th listen it grates)

"Who can tell if I've been changed for the better/ because I knew you I have been changed for good." The last two words are a very cute triple entendre, but no meaning really works:

1) "For good"="permanently," which really doesn't sound all that complimentary (try telling your friend "you've changed me permanently, I'm not sure for the better" and see what kind of reaction you get.)

2) "For good" = "For the better" which contradicts the previous verse.

3) "For good" = "I now do good things thanks to you" - not true of Elphaba at all.

Passion is definitely a tough show to sell, but Violet actually gets done pretty frequently by adventurous small companies.

I can actually envision "Wicked" working quite well in a small company setting; if memory serves, Elphaba's songs are the only ones that require serious belting pipes (granted, they require them every 10 minutes).

G6: 1776 was turned down? Dangnabit; I was wondering how Franklin would be bowdlerized.

ProfK said...

We have tickets for next month and now you're making me salivate in anticipation.

G6 said...

ProfK -
Enjoy it!
I know you will.
When you've seen it, please come back here and tell me your thoughts. I am very interested.

Lon said...

efrex -

Thinking too much about these things is what makes them fun!

I always thought it meant option 1. It could be insulting... or it could be about shades of gray, which is really what this play is based on, isn't it? What seems evil might not be, likewise for what's good. So, you've changed me, but I'm too grown up at this point to assign moral value to the change.

I checked and found that the soundtrack starts "Defying Gravity" with "I hope you're happy," which is even more repetitiously redundant, though it sounds an awful lot like some teenagers I know. :-D

G6 - that was another part that didn't make much sense... the tin woodman and scarecrow were geographically misplaced. (Sorry ProfK, we're ruining it! Don't read!) If Fiyero were turned into a scarecrow in the field *after* Dorothy had wandered down the Yellow Brick Road, how did she come upon him? But it's okay... I give leeway to good shows with clever writing.

Society... gedolim... scapegoats... heroes... I didn't even think of that one. But the idolization of the outlaw is an ancient American rite. I believe de Tocqueville commented about it.

...Someone suggested Wicked and you said it would be a problem due to legal thingummies and getting scripts. But I think finding someone who could pull off Elphaba's songs would also be difficult.