My dear friend Katie first introduced me to Wicked in 2006. She had just come back from seeing the show in Chicago and was raving about it and telling me I’d love it.
I wasn’t convinced.
As a child, I had nightmares that the Wicked Witch of the West from the Judy Garland Wizard of Oz was out to get me and it also didn’t help that whenever I saw ads for Wicked all I could think of was Carmen Sandiego. But the next day, Katie came into art class with a copy of the Broadway cast recording and told me to listen to it when I got home. So I did—and I fell in love.
Soon after, I became a Wickedaficionado. I had Googled and YouTubed the crap out of the show and spent hours learning everything there was to know about it. It fostered my love for Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, and made my desire to see the show myself an intense need and desire. It’s only fitting then that the first time I saw it was with Katie when the touring production came to Michigan that summer.
Since then, I have seen the show a total of seven times, making tonight my eighth and my second on Broadway. It’ll be a unique eighth time because Wicked is celebrating its tenth year on Broadway, a magical event in its own right. I wasn’t originally planning on seeing tonight’s performance, but the more I thought about it, the more I knew I’d regret not going.
For me, Wicked is more than just a musical full of catchy songs. It’s a show that is deeply personal, something I can relate to more than I’ve related to anything else before. See, Elphaba—the Wicked Witch of the West—is different, an outsider. She’s green, bookish, and also extremely powerful and all she wants is to help others and do some good in Oz. But she quickly becomes a scapegoat and the citizens of Oz make her the very face of wickedness—and all because she’s different. As someone who has always belonged to more than one minority group, I can whole-heartedly relate to Elphaba’s struggles to fit in and find love and acceptance from others and from society as a whole.
But the show’s not just about the Wicked Witch, it’s about Glinda, the supposed Good Witch, too. And with Glinda, I can relate to her desire to achieve her goals and to have, what she thinks, is a perfect life. We all want a slice of perfection in some form or another. But it’s her loyalty, love, and friendship towards Elphaba that really hits home with me. Glinda sings lead on the iconic song “For Good”, and I am so fortunate to have many friends and family who have changed my life for the better, and hopefully I have done my part in making them feel loved and appreciated in return.
And then there’s Nessarose, who just wants to love and be loved in return, and not pitied for her disability. There’s Boq, a somewhat geeky Munchkin boy, who wants the same thing and is tired of being overlooked. He wants to be noticed. And Fiyero? Well, to be honest, I can’t relate to his character as much as the others, but don’t we all wish we could fall in love with a determined, passionate, and hot guy like him? I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to sing “As Long As You’re Mine” with a Fiyero?
It’s safe to say that Wickedhas changed my life. There will never be enough words or ways I can express my gratitude to Katie for introducing me to this magical show that has inspired me and freed me in more ways than I can count. So, many congratulations to the cast and crew of Wicked on 10 wonderful years on Broadway and for everything you all have accomplished in between!