Wickedly Good – Why West End’s Wicked is a Must-Watch
Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz has its roots in the 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire. Maguire’s novel is a spin-off that is based in the same world that Frank L. Baum created many years ago in 1900. The Land of Oz has captured imaginations for a long time with the 1939 flick, as well as, a more recent re-adaptation starring James Franco.
That alone would have made the novel interesting. What makes it truly intriguing is that it presents the audiences with a point of view that they never experienced before. We have all heard Dorothy’s account of how badly the witches treated her. However, the poor witches were never even given a chance to tell their side of the story!
The musical’s plot begins before Dorothy arrived in Oz and what happened afterwards. The unlikely friendship of Galinda the Good and Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) is what forms the base of the play.
The West End production of Wicked has been nominated no less than 5 times for a Laurence Olivier Award and has also won the Audience Award for Most Popular Show (2010). A vast majority of critics have lauded its lavishness and "powerhouse" performances of the two witches, with the current West End production showcasing the talents of Savannah Stevenson and Emma Hatton in these roles.
Wicked also claims the record for being the highest grossing musical in a week (in 2006), earning £761,000! Two years later, the musical boasted being viewed by over 1.4 million people in London with earnings topping £50 million. In 2010, it made West End history when it became the highest single-week grossing musical when it earned £1,002,885. In fact, more than 20,000 theatregoers attended nine performances that were held that week.
Stephen Schwartz is the heart and soul of the music and lyrics in the play. With an iconic score of songs, such as Popular, The Wizard And I, For Good and Defying Gravity, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and sing along to.
This refers to the end of the first act, where Elphaba embraces her wickedness, singing ‘Defying Gravity’. Floating up on her broom, the Wicked Witch of the West keeps singing as her black cape envelops the stage completely. Accentuated by the dark cape, her green skin inevitably draws your eyes to her. Lights dance and smoke rises in the dramatic yet pivotal scene engaging the audience. That scene, if nothing else, is the reason why Wicked is a must-watch!