The award-winning musical is based on the 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire and prequel to the infamous ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Since debuting on Broadway 2003, it has competed with top theatre productions to become one of the longest-running and highest-earning musicals to hit New York. Equally on the West End, Wicked has racked up revenue and been seen by audiences in their millions. So why have so many people gone to see Wicked? What is it about the musical that keeps people coming to London’s theatre district to see the tale of two witches? Find out below…
1) The music
This show has really amazing songs written by the wonderful Stephen Schwartz. You might have heard one or two; Defying Gravity, For Good and No Good Deed for example. These are performed each show by an amazing live orchestra (and of course the amazing actors) and they really give you goose bumps –especially Defying Gravity – you will be blown away.
2) The actors
Willemijn Verkaik (Elphaba) and Suzie Mathers (Glinda) are amazing performers (as are their understudies if you get to see them). The show also has a fantastic supporting cast – Oliver Savile (Fiyero), Sue Kelvin (Madame Morrible), Mark Curry (The Wizard), Sarah Nicholas (Nessarose) and all members of the ensemble and swing are marvellous and continually astound audiences eight times a week.
3) The choreography
Like any good musical, the choreography is just important as the music itself, and the choreography in Wicked is wonderful, particularly in the song ‘Dancing Through Life’. Through the whole show the choreography is so precise and smooth that the audience almost wants to get up and join in.
4) The costumes
Wicked contains some of the most impressive costumes anywhere in the West End – including the most beautiful green pointe shoes. It took the costume designer Susan Hilferty two years in total to design all of the costumes, and Elphaba’s dress for the second act alone took 40-60 hours to be stitched (it’s amazing though, totally worth it). Despite Elphaba’s dark, intricate dress and Glinda’s contrasting light and floaty dress, both actually weigh the same!
5) The message
We all know the story of The Wizard of Oz; Glinda is the good witch who saves the day, and the Wicked Witch of the West is the bad guy who just wants those magic shoes – but what if that’s not who they actually are? We believe what we are told to believe because we aren’t ever told any different. Wicked changes this view on many levels; there are two sides to every story, and Wicked gives us Elphaba’s. She is not the bad witch we all know, she actually means very well and has a heart of gold, but because she doesn’t share the opinion of those in power she is made out to be the wicked witch. As the story progresses, Elphaba knows that deep down she is a good person, but because everyone treats her differently she begins to believe that she is in fact, Wicked. This show teaches us that what we perceive to be true isn’t always correct – green witches can be good – it’s all about looking at things in a different way. It’s a story of friendship, of love and of betrayal, and it is perfect.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why people are flocking to theatre to see Wicked. Whether you think it’s ‘your thing’ or not, it might just surprise you…tickets are available now.
This post was written by guest writer, Lauren Philpott.