On March 25th, I saw the Broadway musical Wicked at the Landmark theater in Syracuse. People were packed into the theater like sardines in a can. The production was only in Syracuse for 12 days, so many scrambled to get tickets.
The show was a really cool twist on the classic good versus evil storyline. Not only was it that, but it was not only just an interesting take on a typical storyline, the entire story of Glinda and Elphaba was a prequel, if you will, to The Wizard of Oz which adds a completely new layer to this story. All throughout the play, there are quotes and scenes that allude to the creation of the plotline for The Wizard Of Oz and they are all quite clever, and for the most part make sense. The play takes place in the same setting as The Wizard of Oz, but just at different times. The pair of witches spend a lot of time in the Emerald city during the story. The costumes as well as the scenery for the emerald city are all undeniably emerald. The light up archway to the emerald city is so green and bright, when it comes on to the audience entire theater glows an emerald glow. The townsfolk were also green from head to toe in costumes that were as crazy as the idea of a real wizard. Their hats curled in ways that seemed to defy gravity, and their coats and pants looked like they were designed by a group of young children, but in the best way possible. Throughout the many set changes from school, to ballroom, to emerald city, one piece of the set seemed to stay put. A big clock always remained in the scene. This was to represent how important time was in the story. Time was of the essence in most of the scenes in this musical. Time was also a theme in many of the songs that were sung, including “Dancing through Life” and the emotional duet between the two witches, “For Good.” The musical tells a story of how time may go on, and some people change and some stay the same. Both characters change in very different ways.
There were a couple of places where the plot left me puzzled. For instance, one of the main reasons why Elphaba begins this journey to the Wizard is because she is frustrated with how the animals are being treated in Oz. She tells the Wizard what she is thinking, and he doesn’t feel the same way, and Elphaba takes matter into her own hands. She runs off with the Wizard’s spell book and hides away in Oz, hoping she can make things better for the animals herself. She later finds herself back with the Wizard who still is longing for Elphaba’s help in the kingdom. She still refuses. Then the Wizard offers to let the monkeys she accidentally cursed go if she decides to help him. She willingly accepts this compromise, and that is kind of all we hear of the animal controversy in Oz. What I didn’t understand was, if the entire reason why Elphaba began this journey was to help the animals gain equality in society in Oz, why was she just so willing to just let go of what she has been fighting for for the entire story right then and there. This confused me especially because after this moment in the show, there is not much other talk about the inequality in society that the animals have, and that was something that was in the back of my mind while watching this.
The production overall was spectacular. Despite the one plot aspect that was a little confusing, the entirety of the show was extremely well done. The songs were very clever and catchy, and the sets and costumes were breathtaking.