I’ve never been a fan of The Wizard of Oz but Wicked is not only a clever re-imagination of the L. Frank Baum classic, but it also very funny and entertaining. There are, of course, plenty of references to the original, and they are done in such a way that if you are a fan of Oz you will view them as an homage, and if you’re not a fan, they work equally well as satire.
I can see why this musical has become so popular — the characters are already familiar to most, but they appear in new and parallel scenes to the original story, with imaginative sets and catchy but witty songs. And where the original told a morally ambiguous tale fit for consumption by children, Wicked tells the familiar tale of a misfit’s (the Wicked Witch of the West) quest to fit in with her childhood peers and the consequences as an adult when she does not.
Wicked is currently playing here in St. Louis at the Fabulous Fox through Jan 6.