That is the main question that is asked in the fantastic Broadway musical, “Wicked.” The play describes the events that take place in the land of Oz prior to Dorothy’s arrival in the film “The Wizard of Oz.” However, what makes the story so interesting is that it’s told completely from the Witch’s point of view and we, the audience, find out that everything in Oz may not be quite as happy and magical as it appears.
The play introduces us to Elphaba, a misunderstood young woman who comes from a troubled family background and is considered an outcast by most because of her green colored skin. She is forced to attend school only to look after her disabled sister. While she’s there, not only does she begin to discover her own magical talent, she also forms an unlikely friendship with Glinda, the popular girl at school who will later become Glinda the “Good Witch.” As she gets closer to achieving her lifelong goal of working with the Wizard of Oz, Elphaba also begins to realize that the Wizard himself may not be as good, or as powerful, as he appears to be and may in fact be responsible for the growing unrest that’s spreading throughout the land of Oz. But when she vows to fight these injustices and stand up for the people of Oz, her deeds are instead thought to be “wicked” and she becomes known as the Wicked Witch of the West.
In addition to presenting the back-stories of Elphaba and Glinda, the play also reveals the origins of the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and even the flying monkeys.
I was lucky enough to get to see the show in Boston, along with my wife and sister-in-law. The musical numbers in this show were fantastic. I’ve had the chance to see several plays over the years, but this one is by far my favorite.
The show is currently playing at the Opera House in Boston until mid October. If you are a fan of “The Wizard of Oz”, I would definitely encourage you to go see it if you have a chance. You will never watch the film the same way again.
Here’s a little taste of some of the music: