Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The story behind the story

Last week, I met my agent in New York City for a meeting with my young adult editors. While in the city, we went to see Wicked. I'd heard many good things about this Broadway production, and I came away wishing I could see it all over again.

I'm a fan of reimagined stories, so this depiction of Oz in the years prior to Dorothy's arrival was right up my alley. For those of you who don't know, Wicked is the story of when the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch were in school together. It's an imagined origin story in that we see how these two witches came to be who they were at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz. There's even a romantic story thread, which made my romance writer heart flutter.

What I found interesting was how the play showcased how no one is all good or all bad. Each of us has elements of each in us. Elphaba (the future Wicked Witch of the West) wasn't all bad, and Glinda wasn't all good. To me, they were much more three-dimensional in this play than in the original story. This is a good thing to keep in mind when we writers craft our characters, to not rely on two-dimensional stereotypes, to make each character as real and three-dimensional as possible.

In addition to the story, I really enjoyed the music in Wicked. My two favorite pieces are "Popular" and "Defying Gravity." I even bought a "Defying Gravity" T-shirt, but considering I drove through a snowstorm in Virginia today on my way home from Washington, D.C., it'll be a few months before I can wear it. Here are a couple of YouTube videos showcasing these songs from the play:

Have any of you seen Wicked? What did you think?


Anna Campbell said...

Trish, what a lucky girl you are, to visit fabulous NYC and see a Broadway show. I've never been to anything on Broadway although it's definitely something on my to-do list. I used to haunt the West End when I lived in London. I haven't seen Wicked - there's a very popular Australian production on in Melbourne right now that apparently is amazing. My most recent trip to a musical was My Fair Lady with the gorgeous Richard E. Grant as Higgins. He was fantastic! Made me decide I had to make an effort to see more theatre - since I moved to the sticks, I've got pretty slack with stuff like that!

Nancy said...

Hi, Trish--

We saw Wicked and loved it! I agree that the characters had more depth than in the original. I, too, bought a Defy Gravity shirt, but its short-short sleeves mean it spends much of the year in a drawer. It's a wonderful song, though.

Anna, I loved Richard E. Grant in The Scarlet Pimpernel. He was great. I haven't seen much of his other work, though.

Tawny said...

Wonderful post, Trish! I haven't seen Wicked, but my daughter did when she was in New York and raved about it. I'm looking forward to the next RWA conference in New York LOL - that's my only foreseeable shot at getting there and I will DEFINITELY be taking in a show.

Trish Milburn said...

I see the Banditas have shown up. :) Thanks, Anna, Nancy and Tawny, for your comments.

There's also a touring company for Wicked in the U.S., so if it comes near to where you live, I'd recommend seeing it. Marcie Dodd, who is playing the lead on Broadway right now, was in the touring company for awhile then in the L.A. productions.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Trish, so sorry I'm late. I've been Thanksgiving with the kiddies all day.

Thank you for telling us about WICKED. I never really knew the story line, but it sounds fabulous, just the kind of thing I'd like. If it ever comes to Sacramento or San Francisco, I'll be sure to see it.

And those songs were great!

My favorite musical of all time is Les Miserable, but I cut my musical teeth on West Side Story, which I still love to this day.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Trish Milburn said...

Jo, I've yet to see either of those musicals, but I want to.

Cathy McDavid said...

Hey Trish!

I took my daughter to see wicked almost most two years ago. I won't tell you what I paid for the tickets (5th row center) but will say the show was worth EVERY PENNY!! It's fantastic.

We're going to see Lion King in January, and taking my mom, too.

Cathy Mc - who wore out her cd of the soundtrack and needs to buy a new one