I have fallen in love with this musical! Wicked is a stunning prequel to the Wizard of Oz, concentrating on the story of the witches. Due to hit the West End in September it comes straight from a very successful run on Broadway.
Composer Stephen Schwartz although a name you may not immediately recognise, has an impressive production list behind him, Godspell, Prince of Egypt, Children of Eden, and lyricist for Pocohontas and Berstein's Mass. There is no doubt whatsoever that this musical is phenomenal, with highly original, passionate and intelligent writing. Having listened to the soundtrack repeatedly, buying the music and singing and playing through it, I am truly convinced that this will be huge in this country and take its place alongside the classic greats of musical theatre. I will be doing my utmost to go and see this show, and hopefully before Christmas in order to see Idina Menzel (the lead in the Broadway production and the voice on the official recording) and so would most definitely heartily encourage others to do so! However, as enthusiastic I may be about the music and production of this stunner, there is something more that intrigues me about this show and its storyline.
Basically, (and not wanting to give too much away, you can find a full synopsis here) this story centres on the captivating, surprising tale of how a misunderstood, green girl named Elphaba becomes 'wicked' but her unlikely friend, Glinda, becomes 'good'. Evangelistically, this show is rich with themes and topics that are begging to be explored. There are issues of self image and social ostracism that run through the plot, but there is so much more than this. As Elphaba sings the song No Good Deed she uses the phrase, "no good deed goes unpunished", as everything she does for the good of others seems to backfire, adding to the public despising of her. Surely there are so many people who have turned their back on 'doing the right thing' for fear that things may turn sour, that they will be unappreciated. There is such a witch hunt mentality, The March of Witch Hunters reminds me so much of the scene of the crowds turning on Jesus.
On his own website Stephen Schwartz says this: "I am on record as saying I do not discuss my own religious background or views. This is because I don't want people's reactions to my shows to be filtered through anything but their own personal beliefs and philosophies. I don't want audiences to react based even partly on the extent to which their own beliefs and backgrounds correspond to my own. This is a long-winded way of saying that I think the work speaks for itself, and the fact that each person brings his or her own point-of-view to it is precisely my goal."
I truly believe that God works through such talented people as this in bringing new ways through which we can explore the realities of society and then relate them to our own faith. The stunning music will simply ensure that many more people will see and talk about this show, and maybe Christians will snap up these opportunities to open conversations, to utilise this wonderful music and lyrics in the sharing of the gospel.
Hmmm...there's s much more I want to say about this show, but think I'm going to have to see it first!