Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Wicked Awesome

Actually, not. I went to see "Wicked," the Broadway musical adaptation of the book "Wicked," which is based on a previous book called "The Wizard of Oz," last night, and it was decidedly not awesome. There's a number of factors I want to mention here, before I go any further:

1) I work at a place called the "Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program," which is exactly as it sounds. As of this week, I've officially become totally sick of hearing people sing. In retrospect, its surprising that it's taken me almost four years to reach that point.

2) We were sitting REALLY close to the stage, so could easily see any wires, rods, and harnesses being used.

3) It was a 7pm show on a Tuesday, maybe not guaranteeing the most kick-ass night out at the theater.

That being said, it was kind of lame.

The production values were great, very good lighting, and set design, and especially the costume design. The flying monkeys, in particular, looked so gross I was totally creeped out for most of the show.

Also, the actors seemed to be very into the show, and that's also good.

There's also a number of good quips, and the general theme of friendship being one of the most important things in your life is really nice.

However... The songs are a little bland. And I literally slapped my forehead everytime there was a moment like, "Stop torturing that lion, you'll make him a... coward!" And there were a lot of those.

Prequel moments aside, the general plot is more dictated by the source material, so you can't blame them there (especially when some of the character developments make no sense in the scheme of the original "Wizard of Oz"). So actually getting out some nice themes from there is not badly done.

My biggest problem, I think, is that the actors seemed to be doing imitations of other actors. In particular, the original stars of the show. This isn't just my biggest problem, either, this is the biggest problem on Broadway today... The shows could be played by robots.

Except... They can't. The actress playing Glinda was clearly doing a Kristen Chenoweth (the original star) imitation, and it felt like that. An Imitation. The worst was George Hearn, playing the Wizard, doing a part that was clearly written and blocked for Joel Grey. If you know Joel Grey's work at all, you'd know he has a VERY specific style of movement, song, and speech rhythm. This part was written for him. George Hearn is NOT Joel Grey.

Ah well. All in all, it was a fine night out at the theater... I think I've just been ruined by more modern style musicals (Urinetown, Bat Boy), and this is a definite throwback.

Full Disclosure: Winnie Holzman, who wrote the book of the show (and created "My So-Called Life..." Sigh...) actually went to the GMTWP where I work. And a bunch of the students'alumni here worked on the show as well. Which makes any criticism I have EXTRA awkward. Hooray!

By the way, the picture below, which was a scene that lasted about a minute, and didn't fit in anywhere in the show, was CRAZY:


christopher said...

What the hell is going on in that picture?

Anonymous said...

i blame holzman, the original concept was good when it dealt more with the more squeamish idea of nazi concentration camps, our concepts of good and evil, and the sense of a false idea of "history."

sometimes adaptations should not be done unless they can actually capture the true theme of the book (i bet if you read it, you'll like it, if you don't, i'll give you five bucks...if i was a betting kind of person or if i had five bucks)