This afternoon we went to see the musical Wicked in San Francisco’s Orpheum theater. I kept hearing how great it was and as soon as I heard it was coming to San Francisco I signed up for SHN’s e-mail updates so I could find out when tickets were going on sale. And so, I was able to get Orchestra seats (not as close at it sounds) for today’s matinee.
Written by Winnie Holzman and based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, Wicked, stars Kendra Kassebaum as Glinda and Teal Wicks as Elphaba, and tells the story of rivalry and then friendship between the two women who become Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West in the land of Oz. We learn about Elphaba’s childhood and meet the incredibly popular Glinda who first ridicules but then comes to love the misunderstood Elphaba.
Supporting characters include Carol Kane as Madame Morrible, the college headmistress, David Garrison as the Wizard of Oz, Deedee Mano Hall as Nessarose, Elphaba’s younger sister (who famously grows up to be crushed by a house), and Nicolas Dromard, as Fiyero, the love interest of both Elphaba and Glinda.
The play opens with the citizens of Oz celebrating the death of the Wicked Witch of the West, confirmed by Glinda the Good. When one of the Ozians asks Glinda if it’s true that she knew the Wicked Witch of the West and was actually friends with her, the story backtracks to Elpheba’s birth, her arrival at Shiz college where she meets the beautiful and popular Galinda, and the road from hatred to friendship that they travel.
When Elphaba fulfills her dream and meets the Wizard of Oz she is disappointed and stands by her convictions which turns her into a hunted outcast. Do she and Glinda remain friends till the bitter end? Who winds up with the handsome Fiyero? What is the truth behind Elphaba’s death at the hands of that farm girl? For those answers you’ll just have to go see Wicked for yourself.
I thought the music was great (though sometimes it’s hard to hear/understand the lyrics) and the costumes were wonderful but then green is my favorite color, and as you can imagine, it features prominently in the Emerald City. I also think the story idea is brilliant – it fills in the unanswered questions you might have about the Wizard of Oz and it’s wonderful to think about the women behind the personas of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.
I asked Arthur and Maor who they liked better – Glinda or Elphaba. Arthur was undecided and Maor liked Glinda. I preferred Elphaba, the difficult, misunderstood outcast. Hm.
I have to say that the highlight of the day was the kiss I got from Maor at the end. She has a science fair project due this week and was upset that I got tickets for this Sunday (to my defense, I got them before I knew when the science fair is). She was angry at me and said she didn’t want to go to some stupid play. I told her that it was supposed to be great and I expected her afterwards to tell me I was right and give me a kiss and a hug. And to my incredible surprise – she did! Really made my day.