This must be one of the most daunting blogs I have written, and to date I have seen this musical 3 times in three years, and planning to see it next month as well. Wicked, to all standards is a relatively new musical (started in 2004) that has taken Broadway and London West End by storm.
I first heard about this musical early in 2006 when there was a reference to it in Brothers and Sisters, being unfamiliar with the show I researched it as we were just about to go to London. Probably something that I will regret for a very long time. Not only did I put very little effort in my research but I also ended up watching Lion King (which came to South Africa less than a year later). Had I have more knowledge of this phenomenon, I would have seen Idina Menzel (the original Elphaba) in the cast.
On return I made some effort downloading some songs (No One Mourns the Wicked, Popular and Finale) which I listened to death and thought to be great. Only in 2007 Ugly Betty had an episode where they went to the play and they played snippets from other songs… and from that day there was no turning back. That evening I downloaded the album, written it to CD and ever since it has been in my car.
Another big regret was that when my sister was in London in November 2008. She phoned me to ask about what play it was I was always going on about, and she got to see it before me.
I have been planning ever since 2007 to go and see Wicked, and October 2009 marks my year of my Wicked tour. I flew to London to primarily to see this show. Even my Out of Office message stated: “I’m off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz”.
It is probably one of the longest awaited tours and shows in my life, and it did not disappoint! Wicked is based (very loosely) on a book called Wicked: The life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory McGuire. To a matter of fact the differences from the book and the play is different in such a way that the play actually makes more sense, and is more true to the movie of 1938 the Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland.
Anyone driving in my car had to endure hours of listening to the Wicked soundtrack, and I am not planning to remove it anytime soon. Wicked also has a storyline that teaches a few lessons through the songs and lyrics. Basic themes are: “No good deed goes unpunished”, “Don’t accept limits because someone tells you so” and “It’s all in which label is able to persist” to name but a few - but mainly about accepting people for who or what they are.
My sister took me to see this for my 25th birthday and was probably one of the best gifts ever! She however decided not to buy tickets upfront and ended up scouting tickets as we were only able to see it on 2 days, one of which was a weekend and tickets are not really available then. All and all it was absolutely brilliant. Much different than I expected and at that point “Defying Gravity” was my favourite in the musical and was much different from the one that is on the original soundtrack but still brilliant.
I must admit that I was extremely tired that night, so it was very hard for me to concentrate through the show, but I did not miss a thing. I knew I will be back…
A lot of people who had to endure my constant speaking about it, saw this show on my recommendation and I will recommend it to all family, friends and to random people I meet on the street.