Witches and wands and roommates! Oh, my! Wicked is playing at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre this Halloween weekend and will be leaving the Fox stage with a final performance on Sunday evening. Dealing with the magic of witches, Wicked is a wonderful way to celebrate the conviviality of this holiday and visit the majestic Fox Theatre before it is too late.
Wicked is based on the Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, setting itself in the land of Oz from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz before young Dorothy dropped in. This musical theatrically reshapes Maguire’s tale of green-skinned Elpheba, the future Wicked Witch of the West, and her past. Elpheba’s life is given a wonderful score by Stephen Schwartz as she transitions from school outcast and strong-willed activist revolutionary to public enemy number one. Ironically enough, she always tries her hardest to do right. Wicked is delightful because it puts Elpheba’s perspective center to the story and carries the lesson not to judge a book by its cover with it.
Having grown up enjoying the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, introduction to the new characters of Wicked felt familiar and made sweeter by the magic of Broadway. Every time a player appeared on stage, new tales of the denizens of Oz flooded my mind. Although not a true prequel, Wicked takes the realm of Oz and presents it well. The talking animals, witches, munchkins and sorcery are given bright new flare. Phenomenal production of the play made grand all these things with spectacular music and amazing acting.
Through good times and bad, the music keeps playing, carrying the show along on heavenly solos. Stephen Schwartz’s lyrics and music are stirring and make the spirit soar. In 2004, one year after Wicked opened on Broadway, the album remained one of the most purchased Broadway albums. Any fan of musical theatre will enjoy the show’s wonderful score and continue to enjoy it as it runs blissfully though the mind for days, weeks or even years after the players take their bows.
The play does cause confusion when compared to the novel Wicked. The book is of a much more serious nature and contains more details which are never mentioned in this adaptation. Many of the characters are changed for the production and some are omitted. This drastically changes the plot from Maguire’s novel at some points. In essence, Wicked is similar in manner to The Wizard of Oz, as it loses many details from its inspiration, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Such trifles may be forgiven for sake of the astounding performance of Wicked, but be warned that Wicked has very limited ties to any precedents and should be viewed as it is.
Fortunately, time is still available for those that have not seen Wicked to find their way to the seats of the Fox Theatre this weekend. Also, as a tip for those interested enough to read this article’s conclusion, the Fox Theatre has been generous enough to raffle off tickets two and one-half hours before each show-time—an easy way to procure a lucky pair of tickets, which only requires verification of identity and $25. However, it is always wise to bring extra cash for souvenirs.