Need a break? Enjoy the Broadway musical Wicked in Tampa! This is not your childhood memory of Oz. Instead experience the Wonderful World of Oz from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West, a.k.a. Elphaba. She isn’t truly wicked. She is merely a misunderstood animal rights activist maligned by the government and press. She is green in more ways than one.
The musical explains the history of Oz from Elphaba’s birth to post-Dorothy. Wicked mostly focuses on Elphaba’s teenage years, but we also discover the origin of the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow as well as the flying Monkeys.
The book, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire provides the basis for the musical production. Winnie Holzmann wrote the stage version. For those of you who have read or heard about the sex in the book, the theater production does not contain these scenes. Consider this particular stage production a PG version of the book.
On the surface, Wicked tells a story of youth, love, growing up, and making difficult choices. Below the surface the story has a political theme. It asks the audience to think about civil rights, prejudices, and the environment. Although the big question is – what differentiates a freedom fighter from an outlaw?
From the previous paragraphs, you might think the story a dull political diatribe, but it contains humor and music to lighten and entertain. Puns and wordplay make the audience laugh and cut the tension. Glinda’s self-centeredness, ditzy blonde character, and I-am-perfect routine provides comic relief from Elphaba’s seriousness and save-the-world attitude.
The strong point of the production is the music. Stephen Schwartz wrote the music and lyrics. Donna Vivino as Elphaba and Chandra Lee Schwartz as Glinda perform the music delightfully, hitting their solos and duets perfectly.