10 Reasons to Celebrate 10 Years of Wicked

Wicked- Musical- LogoTen years ago tonight, Wicked the musical opened on Broadway. In honor of this achievement, here are ten good reasons you should be celebrating this musical:

10. Who doesn’t love The Wizard of Oz?

Seriously, if you’re an Oz fan (as so many people are), Wicked is more than worth your while. I wouldn’t say that it’s something every fan will enjoy, since it plays a little fast and loose with the canon, but if you’re not too staunch a purist, it makes for a really enjoyable experience. The musical sticks primarily to the MGM film for its inspiration, as one can instantly tell just because the witch is green, but it also throws in a few references to elements of the book which are not present in the movie, so it’s clear that an effort was made on the part of the creative team to educate themselves on the source.

9. It’s a perfect show for beginning musical theatre fans.

Wicked has so much going for it as an introduction to the world of musical theatre. The pacing is very quick and flows smoothly, the songs are catchy as well as dramatic; the spectacle of the show offers a real wow factor, and the characters are so relatable that it’s easy to be swept up in their stories. The spectacular Act I finale should be more than enough to keep many a newbie planted firmly in their seat anticipating Act II.

8. There’s enough story and stagecraft to keep veteran fans entertained.

This musical has a lot on the surface which will impress new fans, but so much thought has gone into its production that more informed, critical theatre fans can also be impressed. The character arcs of the two main witches can be played so many different ways and have so many levels of meaning that the discerning audience member can really engage with their portrayals. Also, the incredible amount of thought that went into creating costumes, sets, lighting, choreography, etc. for a world that is unique yet familiar is nothing short of awe-inspiring:

7. Even productions which haven’t utilized this excellent design are pretty impressive.

So far there have been two licensed non-replica productions of Wicked. They played in Finland and Denmark and had very unique aesthetics to them. While I find it hard to believe that the synergy found by the original creative team will ever be matched, both of these productions looked fantastically interesting. The Danish production went a very steampunk route, while the Finnish one I can only describe as a Postmodern Industrial aesthetic:

6. The show has been translated into six languages and has captured audiences in each.

If I can remember the order correctly, the first non-English production was Japanese, followed shortly by German. Perhaps a year or two later, the non-replica productions opened in Finnish and Danish. Next came the Dutch translation and most recently (as in, a few weeks ago) the first Spanish translation debuted in Mexico. While the show hasn’t always been the lasting hit in these languages as it has been in English, they’ve all been successes.

5. The songs are simply fantastic.

If you can listen to a song like “No One Mourns the Wicked” and tell me that those harmonies are not glorious, or refrain from laughing and bobbing your head to “What is this Feeling?” then I think there may be something wrong with your ability to feel joy. If you can say that you don’t relate to “I’m Not That Girl” or act like you don’t want a friendship like the one discussed in “For Good”, then I truly don’t know what happened to your ability to experience emotion.

4. The political and social commentary are right on the money.

While admittedly a little ham-fisted at times, the show’s points about media bias, prejudice, and ignorance are all valid. The way Elphaba is warped into the Wicked Witch of the West despite her best intentions while Glinda is praised as the Good Witch of the North despite her self-serving nature show that behind every title, good or bad, there is a multifaceted story. A story which shows that the truth is often ignored because it is more difficult to process than a simple moniker.

3. It’s American-made.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Phantom and Les Mis, but I think it’s high time for the longest-running musical on Broadway to actually be a Broadway-born musical and not an import. We’ve got a long way to go, with Phantom still going strong at twenty-five years old, but we can do it! For America!



2. It’s really helped NYC stay green.

Over the years, Wicked has made efforts to lessen its impact by using recycled paper for its programs, trading plastic bags for paper ones at its merchandise stands, and replacing all of its incandescent bulbs with LEDs. The musical has become a leader in environmentally friendly practices on Broadway and has adopted the catchphrase “Green for Good” for its conservation efforts.

1. The story of these two friends needs to continue to be told.

In a world where the Bechdel Test a) needs to exist and b) cannot be passed by the majority of movies and TV shows in popular media, a story that focuses on two women and their relationship with each other is important, and not only because it’s feminist. This story needs to be told because it’s a good story of great friendship. It shows how two people can go through incredible trials together and put their relationship through the ringer and come out stronger for it. It’s a good story on its own and the fact that these two characters are women when such stories are usually about men doesn’t necessarily make it better, but it does make it more important.

ForGood-Kendra Kassebaum and Teal Wicks

2 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Celebrate 10 Years of Wicked

    • Thanks! I’m glad the show is still doing well in London!

      And I hope I didn’t come across too strong in #3, I was *mostly* joking and am thrilled with our West End imports.

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