Wicked: Celebrating its 10th anniversary of melting audiences’ faces


Wicked the Musical: Winner of 3 of its 10 Tony Award nominations, winner of 6 of its 11 Drama Desk nominations, opened 24 different productions across the globe since 2004, 9 of which are still running, the first Broadway musical to gross over $3 million in one week, and its most recent accomplishment, being open on Broadway for 10 years, opening at the Gershwin Theatre on October 30th, 2004, where the production still runs.

Forget everything you thought you knew about the curious Land of Oz, for Wicked will throw curveball after curveball your way.

The musical, Wicked: the Untold Story of the Witches of Oz (full title), is based on the 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. The musical tells the story of Elphaba, more commonly known as the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda, formerly Galinda (“with a ‘ga’”), more commonly known as the Good Witch of the North. The musical spans their relationship from the time they meet at Shiz University to just after Elphaba fakes her death from bucket of water via Dorothy, and includes a cast of entertaining and interesting characters, flying monkeys and all.

Elphaba and Glinda
Elphaba and Glinda

The core themes of Wicked include friendship, forgiveness, and self-realization: themes which are extremely relatable to audiences all over the globe, and which are probably the reason it has been such a hit for 10 years.

This past Christmas, I was fortunate enough to receive tickets to see this juggernaut in action.

A friend and me in the lobby of the Aronoff Center to see Wicked
A friend and me in the lobby of the Aronoff Center to see Wicked

I was incredibly excited to experience Wicked live, as I have been a huge fan of the show ever since the first time I heard the chilling score around the age of 10, the highlight of which is the hair-raising, emotionally charged, high flying anthem: Defying Gravity.

Elphaba soars above the cast and audience during “Defying Gravity”

There are currently 2 different tours of Wicked across the U.S. right now. The one that just finished up here in Cincinnati was the “Emerald City Tour”.

I went into the Aronoff Center, where Wicked played while it was here, expecting what I had pictured the show to be in my head from listening to the soundtrack for years and years. Coming out of the Aronoff, those expectations didn’t match up 100%, but I am not complaining!

The production was a spectacularly “thrillifying” experience which reminded me why I love musical theatre so much. Very few things are as invigorating as seeing a cast of performers do a show justice, and this cast did just that!

The "witch hunters", commissioned to find and kill the misnomer-ed Wicked Elphaba
The “witch hunters”, commissioned to find and kill the misnomer-ed Wicked Elphaba

The lead performers were all stellar. My only quibble is that Glinda’s belt wasn’t as strong as I would have liked, but that is just me being incredibly nitpicky.

Elphaba, the lean mean green belting machine absolutely stole the show. From the moment the quirky green girl with glasses runs out onto the stage, to when she was “flying high, defying gravity”, and finally when she and her lover, Fiyero, exit the stage to pursue their destinies, Elphaba proved that she is one of the best characters in all of musical theatre. This is quite a claim, I am aware, but trust me on this one.

When Wicked stopped here in Cincinnati this time round, it seemed that more people than ever took advantage to see this spellbinding show. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitters were all boasting pictures of people having the opportunity to see this masterpiece. I spoke to a few of those people about their personal experiences with the production.

Olivia Wall, a senior at Seton High School, said “I love how Wicked is a feel good show, yet it also questions morality and the ethicality of certain decisions. I especially love the song “No Good Deed”; I feel that it is really the turning point in the show where Elphaba decides to embrace the title of “Wicked Witch of the West” stating “I’m Wicked through and through”. Overall the show provides the entertainment people are looking for while still having a deeper meaning.”
Avid Wicked fan, as evidenced by her ownership of the “Wicked: The Grimmerie, a Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hit Broadway Musical” coffee table book, Lindsey Ackerman offered, “with this being my fourth time seeing wicked, I am very familiar with the show, but each year, the casts bring something new to the table and make the show their own. Wicked never fails to make me laugh, sob uncontrollably, and everything in-between.” She jokingly added “Also Elphie just rip killed the club, mad props to the most underrated character ever, Chistery, and Glinda was eeeeeehhhhhhhhhh”

Senior Jay Quitter added “it rocked; simple as that.”

If you have never had any exposure to Wicked, I highly recommend that you check out this show, whether by listening to the soundtrack or seeing the show itself. It is incredibly intelligent and strikes chords you never knew you had. I warn you, though, the soundtrack is highly addictive; I have been listening to Wicked almost non-stop since September.

Enjoy this virtual tour of Wicked’s home on Broadway, the Gershwin Theater, in New York City. Keep an eye out for cast members in costume!