Wicked, or, the Journey to Oz

At the beginning, we are presented with a map of Oz, Emerald City shining at its center like a sparkling green beacon – the dragon clock hangs above the stage, watching us, moving from time to time.

This is what I’ve been waiting for since 2005 – I have owned the CD and known all the words at least since then, have read the book, looked at all the pictures but I have never, ever, seen WICKED onstage. The music was more amazing than I previously thought it could be and I cried after nearly every song because it was so wonderful, so full of life and emotion. When Glinda said “But can’t you see he loves her?” Her own tears welling over the loss of her love, and the acceptance that he loved someone else, tears spilled over and I discreetly tried to wipe them away before anyone noticed.

I was deeply moved by this musical. I knew from the book that there were many political aspects to this piece – Animals being  a euphemism for people of a different race/gender, etc. The Animals are prosecuted in this play – they are told it is not in nature for them to speak and so gradually, as the Wizard captures and finds them all, the Animals forget how. They forget how to speak. How to learn. How to love.  It is a play about society and how we repress certain people – we take away their voices by shoving them into the inner city and then we pass legislation that says their schools cannot have new things if they aren’t good enough. We make it very difficult to ever be good enough.

It is a play about homosexual community too, how we tell them they are an abomination, how we say they are not allowed to do the things that normal people are, like marry and adopt. Like be in a hospital room with one’s partner when they are sick or dying. We tell them it is not within their nature for them to have these rights – just as the Wizard tells the Animals it is not in their true nature to speak.

Despite the glitz, sparkles, and huge set, this musical has so much heart. it has a lot to say. It has a lot to tell us about love, about prejudice, and about going after one’s dreams.

I highly recommend seeing this musical if it is ever in your city, or you are in New York. Pay the money. Save up. It’s worth it.

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