This Stephen Schwartz musical is the 11th longest running in Broadway, and is now celebrating its tenth year anniversary. It has won a ton of awards, including Tonys for Best Musical and Best Actress. It is based on a novel by Gregory Maguire, “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”, which is the story of the Wizard of Oz but told from the perspective of the Frank L. Baum’s story’s antagonist. It’s a Rashomon-like experience, the juxtaposition of this new story against the background of the well-loved story we grew up with. In this retelling we realize that the story we know is a product of propaganda, and that the Wicked Witch of the West was a victim of a vicious smear campaign instigated by the that humbug, the Wizard himself.
But the plot twists, fascinating as they are, only serve as a framework for Schwartz’s genius. His music and his lyrics bear his trademark brilliance. It’s got dazzling numbers such as “One Short Day” as well as the heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl” and all its reprises, and the empowering “Defying Gravity” has become every girl’s anthem. But “For Good” is a poignant ode to friendship.
Of course there are other shows in New York or Manhattan to watch — lots of musicals and straight plays. “Cabaret” is on now, as is the more contemporary “Once”. Both of these, as well as “Wicked”, are wildly successful and you may need vein treatment on your legs from all the time you spent standing in line for tickets.