(A warning: this article contains minor spoilers – though whether they truly constitute spoilers given that almost everyone knows the details of The Wizard of Oz, the story that provides the inspiration for Wicked, is a question only you can answer.)
I just wanted to pass along a recommendation to my nonexistent readers: if you get the chance to see the musical Wicked, I would encourage you to do so.
Yes, I realize that theater reviews are a little outside the norm for a political blog, but then, Wicked is a little outside the norm for a musical that is based on a children’s story. For a play that is about the witches of Oz, Wicked has a surprising political relevance in this wonderful age we’re living in. The Wizard has consolidated his political power by uniting the people of Oz against a common “enemy” (talking animals), and proceeds to demonize Elphaba, his only real opposition, in the public eye by calling her a wicked witch. Any resemblance to current political events is purely intentional – as evidenced by a joke about a regime change when a house lands on Elphaba’s sister.
The play has a heavy dose of social commentary as well. Elphaba, intelligent and socially conscious as perhaps only one who has been an outcast can be, suffers ridicule from her classmates, her family, and indeed most of society, because she is born with emerald green skin. Glinda is loved by one and all in spite of being a shallow and sometimes spiteful airhead because she is beautiful and blond. The people of Oz are easily manipulated by the powerful and the beautiful. Again, any resemblance to modern society is purely intentional.
I am reluctant to say more about the play, because I don’t want to spoil any specifics for those who have not yet seen it. Want to know more? Go see the play. Really.