Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wicked on Broadway in New York

Playbill for the Wicked musical

When the musical Wicked  premiered on Broadway in 2003, I did not pay too much attention to it. Over the years, the show had won Tony awards and played to full house audiences. Friends who had attended the performances raved about the musical. Hence I decided to put it on my "to watch" list.

 Hoping to score a discount ticket for Wicked seemed to be an exercise in futility. You  would never see it offered on any of the Broadway discount code web sites. Neither  had it been featured at the Manhattan Times Square discount ticket booth. The only  times I've seen it discounted was during the Kids Night On Broadway promotion and  those tickets were sold out instantly.

 Fortune smiled upon us recently when Wicked was one of the shows offered during  the September Broadway Week promotion where you could purchase two tickets for  the price of one. I managed to score some tickets saving at least $75 per piece.

The author of Wicked took the liberty to wax poetic about the formative years of the two witches featured in the iconic The Wizard Of Oz story. There was Galinda, later known as Glinda, the good and beautiful witch in contrast to Elphaba, the emerald-toned "wicked" witch. The story focused on how these two characters met in school and became friends in confidence. Along the way, one learn how Elphaba evolved to be "wicked" while Glinda fit into the good witch role.

Elphaba, fiery and misunderstood, was ostracized by her society based on on her outward appearances. However, she was strong willed and steadfast to her ideals of justice and stood up for the oppressed citizens in her world. Glinda on the other hand, was rather shallow although she had good intentions in her undertakings. Basically, what was alluded to was that what you see around you sometimes was just "smoke and mirrors" obscuring the harsh realities.

Attending Broadway shows has always been a special treat. These live shows have never failed to capture me with  their brilliant and dazzling stage sets. I sat there spellbound as usual by the powerful vocals and live energy channeled by these world class performers.

To my untrained ears, the actress who portrayed Elphaba sounded quite a bit like the performer Idina Menzel's powerful vocals who had originated the Elphaba role on Broadway and had won a leading actress Tony award for it. Last season, Idina had played Rachel's mother in the TV show, Glee. These world class performers were honored with  a rousing standing ovation from the full house audiences at the end of the night. A very well deserved honor indeed.

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