Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Last night, Amy and I went to see Wicked at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta. What an incredible show! Totally blew me away. Amy and I have had the privilege to see many of the best Broadway shows, and Wicked ranks at or near the very top of the list!
If you have not seen this incredible show, you need to try and get some tickets. It's playing at the Fox until November 2, then - POOF - it's gone. Even if Ticketmaster doesn't have tickets available, check out Craig's List - you will find plenty of tickets for sale on there!
Anyway, so I was reading in our playbill last night about the story behind the story. The author of the novel (which was adapted into the Broadway production), Gregory Maguire, was intrigued by the subject of evil - how someone - or something - ends up being labeled as "evil" - or wicked. Maguire recalls a time back during the first Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein was compared to Adolf Hitler in a newspaper headline. And, based on the headline, he was already influenced to think about Hussein in a certain way - before he read a line of the article.
Maguire continued to ponder the nature of evil - what caused it, and the fact that behind every evil person or deed, is a story. In essence, there's more to who someone is than what appears on the surface.
He had been searching for a way to explore the questions he was raising, and wanted to find a universal figure with whom many people could identify. So, he determined that next to Adolf Hitler, the scariest person of his generation was the Wicked Witch of the West.
“The more I thought about it, the more I thought how perfect she was because everyone knows her, but no one knows anything about her. I mean, we know she’s a lean, green, flying machine, but we don’t know her history.”
And, although he was apprehensive about tackling such a predominant figure in literary and cinematic history, he forged ahead with the novel that would ultimately become Wicked.
“The story was appealing from the beginning,” Maguire says. “I would tell friends that I was writing a book that would tell Wizard of Oz from the witch’s point of view and they were very interested."
Interesting is an understatement. The story is fascinating. And completely unconventional. It stirs the soul in so many different ways - through humor, romance, anger, mystery, and the expression of freedom.
In the end, Wicked struck a chord within me. When confronted with evil - whether on TV, in the news, or with people around me, I will have a tough time simply chalking it up to "they're bad people." There's a story behind the story. There are factors involved that we don't see, and don't know.
And, I'll be reminded that what (or who) is wicked today, wasn't always.