On March 4, 2014 I saw the musical Wicked with my parents. I must admit I’d known nothing about it save from the fact that it’s about a green witch and her pretty sister. After watching it, I realized it’s so much more than a great musical. Without giving so much away, here are the things that Wicked has taught me:
1. In the world of magic, as in the real world, people can feel like an outcast.
I’m no stranger to this concept. When you’re different from people around you, sooner or later you are bound to feel like an outcast. Elphaba struggles to accept her differentness. She is green, and apparently, even in a world where animals talk and have PhDs, if you’re green you’re weird.
2. Self-absorbed people can be good people too.
Glinda, the Good Witch, has proven this. She is self-absorbed and constantly seeks the approval of everyone around her. But despite her flaw, she still has a kind heart.
3. The idea of equality can be taught even to young children.
This musical deals with the very serious topic of inequality, despite its seemingly light treatment of it. Dr. Dillamond, a talking goat and a professor at Crage Hall where Elphaba goes, is treated differently because he can talk. The concept of animals talking and acting human is deemed absurd by some, believing animals should always behave like animals.
4. Love does not see with physical eyes.
Love is not blind, but is more perceptive than the physical eyes. The prettiest girl doesn’t always get the guy, and vice versa. Love is the product of a nurtured emotional connection between individuals. More often than not it is not electric, nor is it instantaneous. This is the reason why friends become lovers.
Fiyero, Glinda’s boyfriend, eventually falls in love with the green Elphaba, who in turn reciprocates his love, despite being initially repulsed by his narcissistic tendencies. They both realize that people, oftentimes, put on masks as a defense mechanism, too scared to bare it all. When the masks come off, they both see each other for who they really are.
5. Things aren’t always what they seem.
Elphaba’s reputation as the Wicked Witch of the East is not deserved. Because of her “meta-humanity”, she naturally goes against society’s widely-accepted norms. She is too good for her world and because of this goodness, she ends up demonized. We often ostracize people we don’t understand.
6. The “she’s not your real daughter” plot works every time.
One commonly used plot in soap operas, be it Filipino, Latino, or American, is the “she’s not your real daughter plot”. There’s always someone somewhere with a cloudy lineage. Some babies are left at people’s doorsteps, or some wives turn to the neighbor or the postman for “attention”. Infidelity is so rampant in our world that it has seeped through the world of magic as well. But in the story of Elphaba it is important. It explains who she is, and why she is the way she is. So with her story, it actually works.
Watching Wicked has whetted my appetite for Broadway musicals. Being transported to a different world is always an exhilarating experience. I’m definitely looking forward to watching more musicals in the future.
Catch Wicked at The Theater at Solaire until March 19, 2017.
By: Katy Concepcion-Wiggins