For me, last Saturday had all the makings of an event worth remembering for a lifetime. I went to see Wicked after a friend was kind enough to offer me an extra ticket. Allowing me entry into NYC’s Gershwin Theater, this extra ticket was a magical one, and whether I walked up the emerald colored carpets, or ordered food or drink at the emerald bar, I truly felt like I’d entered the land of Oz. The care and attention to detail with which the theater was decorated only added to the overall entertainment that the show offered. In addition to the theater itself, the sets, costumes, and makeup were expertly thought out, and I was in awe of their beauty and intricacy. If you are like me, you will love the sequined gown that Glinda, the good witch, wears towards the end of the show. The spotlight, aimed at this gown, lit up the entire stage. Similarly, special effects were notable and added to the show.
Wicked is the winner of fifty major awards, including Grammy and Tony Awards, and after watching the musical myself, I understood why Variety calls it a “cultural phenomenon.” Wicked is also observant and speaks to larger questions of difference, otherness, and mutual need. There were a few different reasons why I, personally, loved Wicked as much as I did. What I liked best about the show was that it delivered on its promise of telling the real “story of the witches of Oz.”
The actors are effective at showing the interaction between the characters. Christine Dwyer (playing Elphaba, the wicked witch) and Jenni Barber (playing Glinda the good) give amazing performances. The relationship between the witches is presented as an extremely complex one. Talented, brilliant, and pragmatic, the wicked witch is completely different than Glinda, the good witch, who is beautiful, trusting, and popular. As the show progresses, we see that the supposed hatred between these two characters, who were so different from each other, wasn’t hatred at all, but mutual admiration. The evolution of this friendship, and its eventual dissolution due to uncontrollable circumstances was what was most compelling to me.
By watching Wicked, we come to understand that differences are not always a bad thing. Oftentimes, people can gravitate towards others who are very different from themselves. In these instances, we so admire the other that we are forced to find common ground, and in a sense, actually make peace. This is the beauty we find in forming relationships with people that are so different than us, and this is the beauty which Wicked captures so well.