Schedule Your Chance to See Witches On Stage
Witches and hysteria have come together on more than one occasion,
creating an example of historical coalescing that brings out the masses. Two of the most recognizable instances are the Salem
Witch Trials and the Broadway musical Wicked: The Untold Stories of the Witches of Oz. Although, the hysteria surrounding
the witches who can now be seen in the musical Wicked: The Untold Stories of the Witches of Oz in Little Rock is much different
than the mass hysteria in Salem during the seventeenth century witch hunts. That is, audiences throughout North America and
across the pond have been raving about the performances of both the "Good" and "Bad" witches since Wicked's Broadway debut
and the excitement continues at the current tour's stop in Little Rock. It is no time better than now for Little Rock to pay
homage to the witches of Oz in the current showing of Wicked at the Robinson Center Music Hall from September 25-26 and on
October 1 at 7:30 P.M.. The musical is based off a novel called Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,
written by Gregory Maguire in 1995. Maguire is known for his clever writing of revisionist tales that inspire others. His
story inspired this musical, which is written by Winnie Holzman with lyrics and music by Stephen Schwartz. Little Rock, you
will never rewrite your own history well enough to justify missing a showing of Wicked: The Untold Stories of the Witches
of Oz. Not to mention, you don't want to be the only one who doesn't know what happened in Oz before Dorothy arrived in the
story the well-known story The Wizard of Oz.
A Plot to Revise "Good" and "Bad"
In the original novel written
by Maguire, there is a character by the name of Elphaba who was born with emerald green skin and felt horrendous pain at the
drop of water touching her skin. Elphaba's mom was concerned that her next child would be born green too. In an effort to
avoid giving birth to another child of such color, her mother takes preventative medicine that leads to a baby by the name
of Nessarose being born as an armless pink child that requires care at all times. After fast-forwarding a few years, Elphaba
meets a young girl by the name of Galinda (she later changes her name to Glinda and is also known as the Good Witch of the
North) while attending university. The two are unwelcoming dormitory roommates who eventually become friends. During her time
at University, Elphaba becomes an Animal rights activist. This political stance puts her at odds with the Wizard of Oz. As
it turns out, the Wizard is not the person he portrays in his musical number, "A Sentimental Man." All of this takes place
before Dorothy arrives. Dorothy's arrival to Oz is associated with the death Elphaba's sister, who is killed when a house
falls from the sky. The unexpected death of Nessarose leads to a falling out between the former college roommates. In order
to protect Dorothy during her journey throughout Oz, she was told by Glinda to take Nessarose's "silver shoes." This advice
upsets Elphaba, who is mourning the loss of her sister. After meeting the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is sent to kill his Animal-loving
nemesis Elphaba, who has now been demonized by the Wizard and is referred to "Wicked Witch of the West." Instead of killing
Elphaba, Dorothy attempts to apologize for taking the shoes of her deceased sibling. Not knowing how to respond to someone
being kind after so many years, Elphaba becomes upsets and inadvertently sets fire to herself. Dorothy unwittingly kills Elphaba
by throwing water on her to put out the fire.
Inspired by Maguire's novel, the musical is told from the perspective
of Elphaba and Glinda. In order to make the complicated story into a workable script, Schwartz and Holzman collaborated and
successfully condensed it. As one would expect, there are elements of the script that stray from the original story. That
is, the musical spends more time focusing primarily on the development of the "witches" friendship. Also, it looks at how
the development of their individual characters leads them down two different paths. There are additional differences that
distinguish the stage production from Maguire's work. For example, Nessarose is in a wheelchair instead of being born armless
and the story ends differently.
Wicked Musical Trivia
The musical score of Wicked: The Untold Stories
of the Witches of Oz has been compared to a film score more than its counterparts in musical theater. What is interesting
is that Universal Pictures had initially envisioned a film adaptation before it was agreed to become a musical. There are
two musical themes that Schwartz utilizes in the production. Schwartz selected different instruments for the two different
themes to affect the mood. Such a dichotomous musical!
Another cool aspect of the score is that it found a lot more
popularity in its recording. That is, the cast recording of the original production won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show
Album in 2005. In 2006, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) confirmed that it had reached platinum record
status and even went double platinum in 2010.
It is true, only great casting (and an amazing
Creative Team) can ensure longstanding success. Wicked: The Untold Stories of the Witches of Oz is the 11th longest running
Broadway show. Of course, the stellar casting does not end there. The North American and International tours have maintained
a steady stream of impressive talent.
A Wickedly Creative Team
It is not a trick! Audiences are definitely
in for a treat thanks to the Wicked creative team, as indicated by the numerous accolades it has received. Wicked was nominated
for 10 Tony Awards in 2004. It won two awards for Best Scenic Design and Best Costume Design. It is also the recipient of
6 Drama Desk Awards when it was nominated for 10. The North American and international tours continue to receive accolades.
The musical has continued to gain popularity and hysteria over the years, as fans come out in mass to find out what they did
not get to see in the Wizard of Oz. It is your turn now, Little Rock, don't stay at home sweeping the floor with a broom,
when you can get your tickets now to see a witch ride one!