The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Broadway tour draws students to Des Moines

After experiencing phenomenal success on Broadway and gaining popularity across the United States, the musical “Wicked” is now touring the nation again—this time stopping in Des Moines.
“Wicked” tells the story of the famous film, The Wizard of Oz, and the Wicked Witch of the West, formerly known as Elphaba. The story moves from Elphaba’s journey through a difficult childhood as the only green-skinned member of her class to her college years, where she feels equally as ostracized. There, Elphaba struggles with a strange and uncontrollable sense of power until one of her teachers notices this power and judges it to be a gift. The teacher tells Elphaba that she will arrange a meeting with the famed Wizard of Oz, so that Elphaba can learn to use her power for good. The prospect of being considered ‘good,’ something she has never experienced, fills Elphaba with immeasurable joy. However, things don’t go quite the way she had envisioned them, and in time, Elphaba comes to be known—through no vice of her own—as the Wicked Witch of the West.
The original Broadway cast included Idina Menzel, who played the role of Maureen Johnson in the film version of Rent, along with a number of other highly respected performers. While perhaps not quite as star-studded, the touring cast did a wonderful job of drawing in the viewers, and the musical’s basis in the story of the Wizard of Oz provided common ground for nearly all audience members. Along with telling Elphaba’s story, “Wicked” also gave numerous insights into the Wizard of Oz as we know it. The audience learned how the Tin Man became tin, where the ruby slippers came from, and just how Glinda became the ‘Good Witch.’ Having never seen “Wicked” before, I was amazed at the depth of the performance. I was incredibly moved by the musical numbers, especially “The Wizard and I,” in which Elphaba’s character becomes truly evident as she expresses her vision for the future of Oz. Following such a fantastic performance, it was no surprise that the audience practically jumped to give a standing ovation at the end of the show.
“Wicked”’s songs and dialogue are not only inspiring, but relatable—people of all ages can take something away from the story. While young adults may empathize with Elphaba’s struggle for a sense of self as she enters college, other audience members may appreciate the difficult moral questions that “Wicked” brings to light—what makes someone good?
How do we, as members of a society, influence individuals’ behavior or paint them as a stereotype? Overall, “Wicked” leaves the audience feeling bittersweet, with the sense that while no magic can teach us compassion, we can learn it from each other.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *