After years of wanting to see the Broadway show “Wicked,” we finally got tickets thanks to AARP! They offered half priced tickets for two weeks, bringing the price down from $300 a seat to $150. I couldn’t resist. It’s been ages since we have seen a Broadway show, and my husband wanted to take me on my birthday last month, but I could not see spending $600 for two seats for three hours of entertainment. That’s why, when this offer popped up, I couldn’t resist. And I loved the show! I think it was worth every penny of the half priced orchestra seats. It was nothing short of spectacular.
Now for the story…so if you plan to read the books or see the play there will be only spoilers coming. Of course, the play is much better than my synopsis!
So after years of watching the Wizard of Oz we have a prequel to explain the history of the witches, Glinda (the Good Witch) and Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West). The “girls” meet at a private boarding school and are as different as night and day. Glinda is shallow, popular, obsessed with her gorgeous looks and Elphaba is green, plain looking and intelligent. They loathe each other. But, through Glinda’s self absorbed need for attention, she manages to unknowingly “volunteer” become roommates with Elphaba, much to both of their disgust. When everyone begins teasing Elphaba, the make her angry and a great wind blows through the school. The head mistress realizes that she has special powers and offers to privately tutor her in sorcery so that one day she can work with the Wizard. Glinda had aspirations of learning sorcery too, but she did not demonstrate the same potential. She has a hissy fit for not getting her way.
A little background. Elphaba’s mother had an affair with a man who gave her a green potion to drink. She becomes pregnant and the baby is born green. Her “father,” the mayor of Oz, hates her and she is mistreated and abused by all who know her. Her mother has a second daughter who is confined to a wheelchair and Elphaba takes care of her because their mother died in childbirth. The only reason Elphaba is being sent to the private school is to look after her younger sister, Nessarose. However, the head mistress says she will care for Nessarose in her own quarters and Elphaba will room with Glinda.
A big dance is coming up at the school. Glinda already zeroes in on the school hunk, Fiyero, a prince. Elphaba knows she will not get a date because everyone finds her repulsive. However, one of the munchkins has fallen head over heels in love with Glinda. To get rid of this pest, she tells him she needs a “hero” to ask Nessarose to the dance, and of course, he jumps this chance to score points with Glinda. Nessarose is thrilled and tells Elphaba not to say any more unkind things about Glinda. Elphaba, seeing her sister so happy, tells the head mistress she will not take the sorcery course unless Glinda is also allowed to do so. Reluctantly the head mistress goes to Glinda and presents her with a wand, telling her Elphaba insisted she be included.
When the girls meet back in their room, Glinda is touched at Elphaba’s generosity and decides to give her a makeover. There is only so much she can do. She loosens the braids in her hair and adds a little hair clip. She put’s lipstick on her lips and teaches her how to coyly toss her hair. Of course she can’t change the color of her skin. From that point on the two become close friends. So that when the head mistress tells Elphaba she is going to see the Wizard, Elphaba takes Glinda along with her.
At the castle, the mild mannered wizard appears. He wants Elphaba to try a spell from his book. He tells her his monkey loves birds and wants him to fly. He doesn’t tell her he has dozens of monkeys behind the curtain. Elphaba casts the spell and the monkey grows wings. The wizard then shows her all the other monkeys have wings. However, he is keeping them in captivity and that makes Elphaba angry. She is very pro animal rights. She leaves with the book of spells by casting a spell on the broom and defying gravity. Glinda remains with the wizard and Elphaba is declared the Wicked Witch because she knows too much.
Meanwhile, Glinda proclaims herself engaged to Fiyero, who is secretly in love with Elphaba. He has never stopped searching for Elphaba, who finally shows up seeking help from her Father. Nessarose tells her he has died and she is now the Governor of Oz. Nessarose is very unhappy. She accuses Elphaba of helping everyone but her with her new powers. Elphaba opens the book and casts a spell which allows Nessarose to walk. Nessarose is still unhappy and Elphaba realizes she could never please her. Elphaba goes to the wizard’s castle to release all the winged monkeys. She runs into Fiyero there and they runaway together. After a supposed night of love making, Elphaba gets a strange feeling that her sister is in serious trouble and she must go to her. She discovers her sister is dead because a house fell on her. And, what’s worse, her shoes (the ruby slippers) are gone! She is very upset. Little does she know the head mistress and wizard had something to do with the demise of her sister in order to lure her back to OZ. And rumors have been circulating that she is so wicked would melt if she comes in contact with water.
Elphaba returns to the castle and is holding Dorothy captive in order to get her sister’s slippers. Glinda goes to her to try to talk her into releasing her. They realize how each of them has helped the other grow and become a better person. They say good bye. Elphaba gives Glinda the book of spells. Dorothy throws water on the Wicked Witch, who appears to melt. However, she doesn’t really melt. She escapes to a prearranged destination, Fiyero’s castle, where they live happily ever after and no one knows where they’ve gone.
I loved the play and have left out many, many things. I hope you get to see it one day as a play or movie, or even read the books. I am planning to read the books now myself because I am sure so much had to be left out of the play!
Song from finale: