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Wicked The Play - Wicked: A Play of Modern Success

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Unless you’ve been under a large rock recently, you’ve heard of the play “Wicked” making its rounds around the country. The play centers around the lives of the witches of the Land of Oz, with the tagline “So much happened before Dorothy dropped in”. The play somewhat seeks to humanize, and almost transform Oz into a gossip venue, making references to social popularity, skin color-discrimination, and family problems.

To this day, Wicked has remained both one of the longest running musicals on Broadway and longest running shows in the history of theater. The Broadway play opened to the public on October 30, 2003, with its lead actresses garnering much praise. Reviews from critics, however, have been mixed, although slightly leaning toward the positive-end of the spectrum. Many critics believe that the play was more a product of the new Broadway industry rather than something that was genuinely deep. Yet, Wicked has gone on to become a huge success, while earning a whopping $56 million in its first year of production and already performing 1,000 shows by March 23, 2006.

Wicked has continued to gain support from the theatrical community, being nominated for ten 2004 Tony Awards (including best musical), eleven Drama Desk Awards, and four 2007 Laurence Oliver Awards. The initial investment of the play was earned back by December 21, 2004, due to the high volume of viewers it receives at nearly every Broadway show. The London troop production of Wicked holds the record for highest one-week earnings, at £761,000 (the week of December 30, 2006).

Adhering to the popular trend reported for Wicked the play, this reviewer will have to side with an “excellent” rating for the Broadway troop. The professional nature and passion the actors devote to what they are doing makes you sympathize with Elphaba’s struggle to fit in. Sometimes the problems in the play Wicked connects the viewer with real life problems within society, such as racism and corruption within government. Truly, you will understand just how the Wicked Witch of the West became so “Wicked”.

Regardless of the often subtle connections with modern-day culture and its deficits, the play reaches kids just as well. Children who have seen the Wizard of Oz (although not as big in number as they used to be) will love to see this comedic drama in person, and learn a little about the theatrical culture afterward. Overall, Wicked is one superb piece of modern Broadway that the average viewer can connect to, and is a great “first play” for those who have yet to see true, live theater. If the financial successes, noteworthy praise from critics, and record-setting shows don’t woo you, then perhaps its time to visit the Wizard and ask from a heart for Wicked.

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