What does it mean to be wicked?
We hear the word at church, in politics and now on the stage. It should
be obvious. A wicked witch is evil personified.
The musical Wicked takes up where The Wizard of Oz begins, with the
death of Elphaba, the wicked witch of the west. But then it looks back
to the story of the relationship between Elphaba and Glinda, the good
They meet in school, where they room together and love the same boy.
But Elphaba has green skin, wears black and does good. And Glinda is
blonde, wears pink and is thoughtlessly self-absorbed.
As they grow close, learn from each other, and reveal their true natures,
we learn what it really means to be wicked.
The musical, by Stephen Schwartz, is based on Gregory Maguire’s
1995 novel of the same name.
When I read the novel, I was surprised at how different is was from the
musical. The novel concentrates on politics and feminism, while the
musical questions our traditional concepts of morality, including the
equation of classical beauty with goodness.
Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth star as Elphaba and Glinda in the original Broadway
performance of Wicked.
Kendra Kassebaum and Stephanie J. Block
in a later performance of Wicked.