Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My review of Wicked

I finally went to see Wicked. I happened to be in LA, and PH had been suggesting that I see the show while I was there. When I found out they are closing in December, I broke down and bought a ticket for the Sunday matinee. I didn't want to have any regrets years from now about not seeing the show.

Being such an Oz fan, you'd think I would have seen it a long time ago. The problem is that I just can't stomach the soundtrack. It's terrible, and I usually like Stephen Schwartz. Pippin, Pocahontas, and Hunchback are 3 of my favorite soundtracks ever. But he seems to have been rushed, or he ran out of ideas. There is a song in Wicked that is exactly like a song in Pocahontas. And there are several other Wicked songs that just leave me reaching for the tissues - in order to wipe the blood from my ears.

So I couldn't justify buying tickets, knowing how bad the music was. But I didn't want to miss it.

During the first act, I was bored for the majority of it, in spite of the fact that the LA cast were perfect in terms of acting and voice. There were just a few scenes where I found myself riveted by the story or the acting. But the rest of the time I was only mildly amused, and debating in my head whether I was going to grade the show as a C+ or B-. C+ when they had a scene with the witch standing in the rain (remember what happens when she gets wet?). B- whenever Glinda was on stage.

Part of what was so annoying about it, was that it seems the show can't decide if it wants to be a comedy or a drama. Also, there seemed to be no actual Oz literary or MGM references at all. But then something changed. It's approximately the second to last scene when the witches get to the Emerald City for the first time. From that point on, the story becomes the drama that you see advertised. I was on the edge of my seat, my eyes glued to the stage, except for the part where they were singing the song from Pocahontas. The costumes now were fantastic, obviously inspired by W.W. Denslow's original drawings, and very well done. Now there were references to other Oz stories. And to my surprise, they changed the end of the story from the way the book reads.

Music: C
Choreography: C
Costumes: A+
Acting: A+
Story: A
Sets: A

Overall: B

Although, my friend Heidi says that if I only liked 2/3 of the show, then that's actually a D. But I would see it again.

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