Having just seen this a few weeks ago, "Wicked" blew me away. I wasn't expecting such a spectacular staging. Like any good Broadway musical, it taps into every emotion in the book, and with two masterful performances in the leads, the material is given every chance to shine. Even when the material is a tad weak.
The story, as the other 293 reviewers have stated, needs not to be reiterated. However, I was continually surprised at how clever and funny the whole thing was. It's ingenious, and like, oh, probably a million other persons, went out and bought the novel right away.
This recording is an excellent souvenir of the show. Like most excerpted cast albums, you're gonna miss a lot. Quite a bit happens between songs...
...the songs that floored me initially are all here. Idina Menzel is simply amazing. Having followed her career since "Rent" and her solo album, it's a joy to see other people finally discovering what the rest of us have known for quite some time.
Kristin Chenoweth is absolutely hysterical. Her phrasing and timing are impeccable. The two together are formidable...the closing "For Good" tugs at the heart strings both the first and the fiftieth time you hear it.
And yes, "The Wizard and I" and "Defying Gravity" are the two standouts, and rightly so. Yet I find the humor of "Popular" and "What is This Feeling" just as memorable.
I agree with one previous reviewer that the supposedly "weak" songs are only so out of context. Trust me...during the show, they're essential.
When you're dipping into this album for songs, yes you will skip to the big ones. But I implore you from time to time to "put the needle" at the beginning, and let it run. For this and many other musicals, it's an exhilarating experience.
on April 30, 2005
This CD is unbelievable!! i saw the show in Toronto a week ago and it was the most amazing thing i've ever seen! It made the CD a million times better. All of the vocals on this CD are amazing. Idina Menzel is the only person that can still give me goosebumps after hearing the songs a hundred times already. Here is my opinion of all the songs:
1. No One Mourns The Wicked-9/10- Awesome song by Kristin Chenoweth that shows off her opera training.
2. Dear Old Shiz-6/10- Not a very important song, but in the show it is our first glimpse of Elphaba. Still a good song, but can be skipped.
3. The Wizard And I-10/10- This is Idina's first song and she is amazing! I get goosebumps when i hear this.
4. What Is This Feeling?-9/10- I grew to like this song after a while. It is actually very funny and I liked it even more when i saw it.
5. Something Bad-7/10- Not my favorite song, its the only song William Youmans sings, and he does well (for having to sing like a goat!). Idina sings toward the end which makes it even better.
6. Dancing Through Life-10/10- This is a very fun song that Norbert Leo Butz sings. It gets the whole cast singing, including Michelle Federer who plays Nessarose (she sings another song that got cut from the CD that i will review at the end)
7. Popular-9/10- I grew to love this song after a while. Kristin Chenoweth is so funny, i was cracking up when i saw it live. A very funny typical musical number.
8. I'm Not That Girl-9/10- This is one of Idina's solo songs. it is fantastic, full of emotion.
9. One Short Day-8/10- A good song with upbeat music that involves the ensemble.
10. A Sentimental Man-6/10- Joel Grey is very good in this song, im just not a fan of this song.
11. Defying Gravity-11/10- The breathtaking act 1 finale that will leave you in awe every time you hear it. Idina and Kristin are amazing! (Its even more breathtaking live, especially when Elphaba defys gravity!)The end will give you goosebumps and leave you speechless.
12. Thank Goodness-8/10- Good song by the ensemble and Kristin Chenoweth who again shows off her opera training. Its a good act 2 opener.
13. Wonderful-7/10- Not my favorite song. Again Joel Grey is great, and Idina is great when she sings.
14. I'm Not That Girl (reprise)-7/10- Kristin Chenoweth sings this short reprise of I'm Not That Girl. Its a very smart song thrown in, and if youve seen the show, youll understand why. shes singing it.
15. As Long As You're Mine-10/10- Awesome duet between Idina and Norbert Leo Butz. This is a very sweet love song, and the singing and emotion is so powerful.
16. No Good Deed-10/10- One of my personal favorites! This is one of those songs where Idina shines. The song is full of emotion, and a sudden realization for Elphaba.
17. March of the Witch Hunters-7/10- Good song by the ensemble (and a main character, but i wont say who)
18. For Good-10/10- Idina and Kristin's powerful duet as they say goodbye to each other. This song will bring tears to your eyes (im tearing up thinking about it) because of the emotion both women put into the song.
19. Finale-10/10- This song is like a mix of No One Mourns the Wicked and For Good. It actually makes my cry more than For Good (only after i saw it live). This is the perfect end to the perfect musical.
(20.) The Wicked Witch of the East-10/10- This is Michelle Federer's (Nessarose's) song that was cut from the album. I was extremely disappointed because she has a beautiful voice that, in this song, can be as powerful as Idina at times. She is so full of emotion when she sings and speaks. This song was cut because it would give too much away and most of it is dialogue. It is still one of my favorites.
If you read this review and still dont believe the CD is amazing, take it from the 300+ other reviews that say it is. I listen to this constantly and it never gets old, and i dont think it ever will. "Wicked" is a musical full of so much heart, it will be a part of Broadway and our hearts for years to come.
on December 17, 2003
This show is remarkable, simply remarkable. I saw this show a month ago in NYC and have been waiting for the CD ever since. It's one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen, and everything about it is phenomenal. The story is intriguing, it's exciting, it's captivating, it's dark, it's hilarious, it's sad, and it's smart, very smart. The acting and depth and breadth of the characters is so good it makes you forget you're in the theater, you get invested in these people. And Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, I've never seen them in anything else, but I think they're some of the most talented performers I've ever seen in anything. That sounds weird, but they're just sincere and believable with their roles and blow you away. That's good theater for you!!!
I know we're talkin about a CD here though. Quite a bit, not all though, of the above comes through on the CD, even though, understandably, that's tough to do on a recording. Well, the score of this show hooked me from the beginning. It's beautiful, catchy, fun, emotional, intelligent, and it gets to you in many ways and on different levels. It's definitely one of my favorite musical scores ever. And can those girls sing or WHAT? They're here in their full glory. I can't even recommend a song, they're ALL great, but off the top of my head "Defying Gravity" , "For Good", "Thank Goodness", "What is this Feeling?", wow, there are too many. It's a fine, fine CD. It might be confusing for people though, because it doesn't have a summary (major huge spoilers in the show, that's why), and you won't have a clue what's going on otherwise, but I suppose that's OK.
It's cliche, but this show makes you laugh till you cry, it breaks your heart till it hurts, and it makes you think. It really makes you think. I'm never gonna be able to watch "Wizard of Oz" the same way again.
on February 3, 2004
Although I've been a huge admirer of both Kristin Chenowith and idina Menzel for a few years now, I was not sure what to expect upon first hearing this soundtrack. Actually, I ended up seeing the show on broadway, and buying the CD the day after because i couldn't get enough of this music! Stephen Schwartz has made a brilliant creation, and couldn't have gotten better voices to sing it. The vocal harmonies are beautiful throughout. Defying Gravity, the real showstopper (much thanks to Ms. Menzel's UNBELIEVABLE voice), gave me almost as big of a chill when hearing it on the soundtrack as it did in live performance. Ms. Chenowith's lovely voice carries songs as well, and the song Popular is cute and funny, while showing off her vocal talent. Aside from Defying Gravity, my favorite songs are I'm Not That Girl (sung by Ms. Menzel), and the love ballad As Long as You're Mine. It's a fun, entertaining musical more full of emotion than I had expected it would be. Between Norman Leo Butz, and the two leading women, I can hardly put into words the feeling that their voices produce- you have to hear it to know! This is definitely one of the best new broadway shows to come about since RENT, and I hope it has a long, successful run.
on October 9, 2004
In December 2003, I decided I would go and purchase the Broadway album of a show I had heard of called "Wicked"... it previewed in the summer of 2003 in San Francisco less than an hour away from me, and after listening to this CD, I'm still kicking myself for not seeing it's astounding premiere!
Since then, I have traveled from the West Coast to NYC to see the production (though I came 3 sad days after Kristin and Norbert Leo Butz departed from the roles they created as Glinda and Fiyero), and it was EVERYTHING I imagined it would be and SO MUCH MORE! Now, I'm traveling across the country once again this Christmas to see Idina Menzel before she leaves on january 9, 2005! I'm unbelievably excited!
On to this album: In the tradition of a few previous reviews, I am going to rate each song (my OPINION of each) on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best. Here goes:
Quick Overview (for those unfamiliar with the show)- Following the stories of OZ's two famous witches, Glinda the Good (played perfectly by the lovely Kristin Chenoweth) and Elphaba, the mis-understood Green Girl who becomes the infamous Wicked Witch of the West (created by the flawless Idina Menzel!)... this show explores the relationship between these two enemies wh become friends who become enemies... and so on... ALL "before Dorothy dropped in." Buy this album and go see the show! you will never regret it!
1. No One Mourns the Wicked - 8/10 Beautiful opening music, introduces the talented ensemble and features Glinda's unforgettable entrance! Also sets up some important back-story for Elphaba's character (very sad, in a way, once you know the ending)
2. Dear Old Shiz - 3/10 Kind of a pointless song, sung by students at Shiz University as they arrive to school... Interest in this song is only increased once you've seen the show (Elphaba enters for the first time at it's start)
3. The Wizard and I - 10/10 Idina's first song where she displays her range and BELTING power! The ending note will give you chills for days afterwards!
4. What Is This Feeling? - 9/10 Hilarious song, with funny lyrics that sets up for Glinda and Elphaba's "loathing" for each other. Very good!
5. Something Bad - 5/10 Boring song, very short (about 1:40), though Idina sings a few beautiful lines
6. Dancing Through Life - 8/10 Longest song on the album, with the most characters involved. Introduction of Fiyero (Norbert, whose voice is SO sexy), Nessarose (Elphaba's sister, who becomes the Wicked Witch of the East played by Michelle Federer), and the Munchkin Boq (Christopher Fitzgerald). Very FUN song, upbeat and thoroughly enjoyable.
7. Popular - 9/10 Glinda's most prominent solo (though a few lines of dialogue between she and Elphaba are included). HILARIOUS lyrics, very clever and fun, and it shows off Kristin Chenoweth's fun, pop-py voice!
8. I'm Not That Girl - 9/10 Beautiful song, Idina's only slow and low ballad... Heart-breaking lyrics and wonderful melody, it's a song that shouldn't be over-looked!
9. One Short Day - 7/10 FUN chorus number, cute and pretty, but not incredibly memorable. Just a fun, toe-tapping introduction to the Emerald City.
10. A Sentimental Man - 4/10 Short song, not incredibly well sung by Joel Grey, but not a BAD number. It's an appropriate setup for the NEXT song...
11. DEFYING GRAVITY - 10/10!! (like most people agree) This is the BEST song on the album by FAR! the Act One Finale, it is intense and spectular, and the GREATEST SONG Idina has ever belted her heart out to... (and she's belted to A LOT!) This song will leave a lasting impression with it's beautiful lyrics, music, and melody, and it is UNFORGETTABLE! (especially LIVE on stage!)
12. Thank Goodness - 8/10 Act Two opener... could be cut into almost two different songs -> the first being more of a chorus number, has interesting lyrics and is louder and more upbeat... the second being more of a solo for Glinda. Last section is incredible and heartbreaking, revealing a lot about the character!
13. Wonderful - 7/10 Not MY favorite number on the album, but it IS very good. Great lyrics and vocals by Joel Grey, though my favorite parts are Elphaba's occasional lines throughout and singing about 4:00 into the song (she's incredible)
14. I'm Not That Girl (reprise) - 7/10 Shortest song on the CD (about :50), very similar to the first one, now it's sung by Glinda... Kristin sings beautifully, but it's too short to leave an impression
15. As Long As You're Mine - 9/10 The ONLY actual LOVE duet on the album, it is incredible! heart-warming and beautiful, the vocals by Idina and Norbert blend perfectly! it's SO romantic
16. No Good Deed - 10/10 SOOOO intense and chilling, Idina gets ANOTHER well-deserved solo with a spectacular finish that leaves you reeling!
17. March of the Witch Hunters - 4/10 Eh. An alright number (that offers a few spoilers about the show), but other than to fill in some needed information, it's not too important. (Cool references to the Tin Man and Lion or included)
18. For Good - 10/10 Great finish for the shows two leading ladies... it is gaurenteed to rip you up inside and make you cry! The singing is wonderful once again and I consider it the REAL song finale for the show.
19. Finale - 6/10 An alright closing, and is actually MORE effective while watching the LIVE show, and it's a more somber mixture of the opening and the last song, FOR GOOD. Haunting and sad, it's a big finish!
~ So that is MY account of each song on the album! the entire CD is wonderful, and the vocal talents featured are DEFINITELY worth the price of the CD, especially Idina and Kristin.
Also, GO SEE THE SHOW BEFORE IDINA LEAVES!!! You won't regret it! (also, the show features a few other short songs, like "The Wizard and I (reprise)" and a FANTASTIC song [cut from the CD] called "The Wicked Witch of the East" sung by Nessarose, Boq and Elphaba... it's fantastic!) Trust me... GO SEE IT!
Side note: This particular Cast Recording does NOT include a plot summary inside so as to avoid spoiling parts of the show. The songs will NOT ruin the show for you, but only add to your curiousity. If necessary, summaries of the show are available online, but I recommend leaving parts a mystery until you see it Live.
on June 18, 2005
OK, time to sink my teeth into trying to put my love for WICKED into words. I first heard this amazing piece of Broadway during a school play rehearsal, waiting for my cue. I had the songs memorized in an hour flat and begged my friends to sing them with me in the dressing rooms. Since then I have made myself purchase both the CD and the book that inspired it. Now, I talk about this beautiful piece of history to anyone that will listen. My friends have taken to simply calling me Glinda, because of my perfection of Chenoweth's sweet funny style.
Idina Menzel, who originated her Bway career in Jonathan Larson's RENT, uses her strong powerhouse vocal capabilities to her well deserved advantage, particularly in the stunning "Defying Gravity." Another favorie graced by her presence is the wistful "The Wizard and I" After these two numbers, Chenoweth steals the scene with "Popular" and "Thank Goodness."
Chenoweth sparkles alongside Menzel in several well placed duets , such as "Defying Gravity", One Short Day", and the heartwerming "for Good." They work amazingly well together and are as sure and confident in their respective roles as if they were tailor made for them.
The characters of The Wizard (Joel Grey) and the brainless Fiyero (Norbert Leo Butz) are understated, but present as the icing to the melodious cake Menzel and Chenoweth have baked. The Wizard's numbers are endearingly scatterbrained and realistically human. Fiyero plays a stunningly well done part as the lover of both Galinda and Elphaba at one point or another. His "Dancing through Life" blew me away as he took shape as a disinterested schoolboy. And "As Long as Your Mine", showcases both Menzel and Butz at the top of their form.
This album has only strength and absolutely NO bad songs or sloppy vocal performances. I find myself humming it as I go down a street and the only time it leaves my discman is if I'm in my room.
The orchestrations are "Wonderful" and the vocals, particularly the two leads, "Defy Gravity".
Now stop reading my review and go spend "one Short Day" in the Emerald City.
on June 16, 2005
Needless to say, I was very skeptical to hear that Gregory Maguire's brilliant novel, "Wicked," was going to become a Broadway musical. I couldn't think of many novels less suited for it. Put simply, "Wicked" tells the life story of the Wicked Witch of the West from L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" -- all the way from the moment she's born until the moment Dorothy throws that bucket of water. In his book, Maguire took this premise and created a dark masterpiece of fantasy where the "wonderful" land of Oz was revealed as an angry and unsettling place rife with bigotry, religious persecution, and social unrest -- in short, a world not unlike our own. It was not a book for children, but it did have some serious things to say about good and evil, namely, are they merely illusions? Does evil come from who we are, or what we do, or neither? Do we need wickedness just as much as we need goodness?
A Broadway musical, of course, must have a straightforward story, broad characters, and be family-friendly. Stephen Schwartz's adaptation of "Wicked" leaves much out and smoothes over the R-rated aspects of the story. The basic plot is still there: this is the tale of Elphaba, born with unnaturally green skin, shunned by her parents and the world. Sent off to a private academy, she meets Galinda, a spoiled and shallow upper-class girl who at first hates Elphaba, then becomes her unlikely best friend. The plot reveals how the duo are drawn in by the seductive power of the Wizard, and how their paths split: Galinda becomes Glinda, the beloved Good Witch of the North, and Elphaba is shaped by ambition, tragedy, and bitterness into the Wicked Witch we all know and fear.
I can forgive the plot changes, just because the music is so good. Schwartz's songs are seminal Broadway: powerful, moving, funny, sad, and bold. Kristen Chenoweth makes Galinda wonderfully funny and obnoxious without turning her into a stereotype, and Idina Menzel gives the performance of her life as Elphaba. Joel "Cabaret" Grey is pitch-perfect as the dotty Wizard, and the other supporting actors hit all the right notes (my one complaint: the character of Fiyero, the love interest, is way too changed from the book. They should've resisted the urge to turn him into a generic Broadway hunk). And the songs? Well, there's the towering overture, followed by the equally towering opening number, "No One Mourns the Wicked." Then there's the hilarious "What Is This Feeling?" which sends up all those clichéd "eternal friendship" songs in a duet of total and complete hatred. "Dancing Through Life" is one of those great seize-the-moment numbers that make you feel young again. There's the goofy "Popular," the Vaudevillian "One Short Day," and the stellar Act I closer, "Defying Gravity," which is worth the price of the CD (Menzel's final high note blew me out of my seat). Grey gets his moment in the spotlight with the Wizard's song, "Wonderful." Menzel and Norbert Leo Butz have an erotically-charged love duet with "As Long as You're Mine." Chenoweth and Menzel reveal the true depths of friendship in "For Good," and then comes the surprisingly sad finale. If Elphaba's story reminds people of Anakin Skywalker, well, the debate about what makes evil has been going on for ages. "Wicked" may not end the debate, but at least it shows that "good" and "wicked" are just words, labels, and everything is more complicated than it seems.
I'm glad "Wicked" won the Tony, because it's a triumph. The plot is simplified, but the spirit of the book is still there, and I only hope it will make people a little wiser. And did I mention that Idina Menzel is AWESOME??? "Wicked" gets top marks.
on July 21, 2005
The cast recording of Wicked is truly a great broadway soundtrack that I'm really happy I ended up buying. It is one of the better soundtracks I have listened to -- and I have been listening to that and the RENT soundtrack constantly within the past couple days.
Let's so through the tracks first.
"No One Mourns the Wicked" -- this has one of the best overture/intros I have ever heard. It's so fun and all of Schwartz's songs seem to mesh together wonderfully in this opening medley. I love whenever an entire crowd of singers get together in this CD, becuase the harmonies are always interesting and they mesh together really well. Kristen shows her first talent: great, nearly operatic talent as a wonderful soprano. Plus, this song has a wonderful middle section featuring Elphaba's mother, father, midwife, and the "mysterious lover". Wonderful section. Overall -- a great great song.
"Dear Old Shiz" -- Great, if only for the harmoies. It's interesting enough, and though it doesn't actually give us much of anything, the harmonies are good and it's short enough not to want to skip.
"The Wizard and I" -- I love this song. It's our first chance to hear Menzel shine, as she does several times throughout this CD. It's got a really catchy melody, interesting lyrics, and gives us our first glimpse at the little "unlimited" diddy that is featured wonderfully throughout several songs of the CD.
"What Is This Feeling?" -- This is one of my favorite songs on the soundtrack. Again, the chorus is excellent, and Chenoworth and Menzel blend EXCELLENTLY together. It's a fun song that is very re-listenable. I find myself repeating this song the most.
"Something Bad" -- the tune is interseting enough, and again, the trouble with Broadway soundtracks is that not every song is going to be a show stopper, so some songs seem to be forgotten because they aren't necessarily amazing, but there is nothing that makes this song anything "bad", or something bad.
"Dancing Through Life" -- possibly the only song that gets a bit tedious. Fiyero has a beautiful voice and I love listening to parts of this song, but overall, it's one that I don't listen to that much. The melody isn't anything special, but it's not too bad. Plus, in the show, it adds for some good advancements, so I don't mind it.
"Popular" -- Chenoworth shows us her second major talent: being hilarious, in both her comedic voice and in her mannerisms. This is a great song, very catch, and Chenoworth shows that she will give Menzel a run for her money, as far as talent goes (both women are infinately talented.)
"I'm Not That Girl" -- a mellow moment in that soundtrack. We get to see how controlled Menzel's voice can be, rather than simply being a powerhouse. It's sweet enough.
"One Short Day" -- again, I am impressed with the choir. And the music. Those are the best parts of this song.
"A Sentimental Man" -- I fear that Joel Grey's talents were not put to the best use in Wicked. His songs rarely seem to lift off their feet, and besides a rather silly/fun melody, neither of his featured songs offer too much. If anything, they are a nice sequey into something usually much darker in the show.
"Defying Gravity" -- the first song I heard, and the song that made me go "I NEED TO BUY THIS SOUNDTRACK!" Wow, if I ever DIDN'T have a reason to think Menzel was amazing, all I needed to listen to this song. One of the best on the CD. The ending -- it sends chills up and down my spine and all over my body everytime I listen to it.
"Thank Goodness" -- I love the chorus again, and Chenoworth impresses, though it's a shame that she was mostly given the cutesy songs to sing, though I suppose that goes with G(a)linda's character.
"Wonderful" -- RE: what I said about "Sentimental Man." This song has a slightly more catchy medley.
"I'm Not That Girl (Reprise)" -- not much to say about this less-than-a-minute song, except Chenoworth sounds good again.
"As Long As Your Mind" -- Becuase of the talents of Menzel and Butz this song is a lot better than it probobly would be sung by two others. It seems a bit misplaced, but I love how this love song has a very dark undertow.
"No Good Deed" -- Undoubtably the best song on the soundtrack to me. It's got a great, dark theme to it, with Menzel perhaps being her most amazing (if there is ever a time that she is LESS than amazing).
"March of the Witch Hunters" -- a fun and dark song, and it's good to hear from The Tin Man!
"For Good" -- What a beautiful way to pretty much cap off the entire show. It's such a sentimental and really touching song. I loved it. Both of them sound great.
"Finale B" -- a great way to cap it off. Loved hearing some of those famliar medleys again. I loved this.
Perhaps the ONLY compplaint I have with the soundtrack is that some of the songs are VERY confusing to understand what is going on unless you have seen the show. Songs like "Defying Gravity," "Thank Goodness," "No Good Deed," and "For Good" are much clearer when seeing it in the show.
PS -- you have to see this show.
This is a great score, but the talent that surrounds this soundtrack is almost too good for words!
on October 25, 2004
I don't usually do things like this, but after reading through several of the reviews left for "Wicked" I felt it my duty as a trained musician and actor to set the record straight.
Like most of the other reviews I am giving it 5 stars, but that's about where the similarities end. I was appalled to see how many reviewers gave songs like "Dear Old Shiz" and "Something Bad" low ratings because they deemed them "boring and unimportant". I agree that these are not the most moving songs in the show, and they are not the ones that the audience or listener will walk away remembering, but they are ESSENTIAL to the formation of the plot and the progress of the show. If you are just learning a musical you should NEVER skip over a track because it is "boring" more than likely it is boring so that the complexity of the piece doesn't distract from the important information being presented to you. Telling a fellow listener to skip a track because it is boring is like telling a reader to skip a prologue that provides valuable background information or a chapter in the middle of the book because it ceased to hold your attention!
Musicals go through dozens of re-writes before opening night and if the song was not important to the plot it would have been removed. "Dear Old Shiz" sets up so many things important to the plot...
1. This where Elphaba makes her first entrance, obviously an important moment.
2. It sets up the hierarchy at the school. We see where Galinda sits (literally), socially compared, to the rest of the students.
3. It provides us with the feeling of the school, this song, is in essence, their alma mater.
This is VALUABLE exposition information!
I can say the same thing about "Something Bad". True, not the most moving piece in the show but again, but invaluable because of the information and relationship status it displays to the audience member. I can't say it enough... "short and sweet" doesn't mean "boring and pointless". You have to understand that the writers have compressed 400+ pages of a very complex novel into a 2 hour 45 minute musical; this information needs to get to us somehow.
Which brings up another topic, some people have given the show a bad review because it varied too much from the book, but these people either don't know or forget that Gregory Maguire was involved in the creative process of the musical and approved of the changes stating he understood they needed to be done in order for the show to work on the stage.
Also to those who are upset because it was much more lighthearted and happy than the book and deem this because Broadway is trying to sell tickets and appeal to the masses, all I can say is, exactly. Broadway is a business, and when they create a show they are trying to create something that will run for years; if that means "dumbing down" the story as some of you put it to attract more people, then that is an artistic sacrifice most are willing to take. Wicked cost $14 million to create, if they had written a show that didn't draw an audience, especially in a theatre as large as the Gershwin the show would have lost millions of dollars.
There is no reason a person can't enjoy the book and musical as two separate entities. I do it, my sister does, and so does my boyfriend. The show is based on the book, and albeit loosely, it is not intended to be the same story.
But back to the CD, I'm not going to lie, when I decide to not listen to the whole CD I do skip over these less intense songs, but in my own defense I've seen the show 12 times, owned the CD since before it was available in stores, and have read the book twice, so I am well aware of the background information and at this point I am simply playing the music to sing along, rev me up for a rehearsal, audition, or a day of work.
My favorite song on the album is "The Wizard and I" because I think it's a song all young people can relate to, we all have our own "Wizard" that we aspire to meet one day or become, and being fresh out of college, when Idina sings that song I can taste Elphaba's desire to become "something". In same mind frame comes "Defying Gravity" because this is the point where Elphie decides it's time to make that dream come true and that she is going to embrace who she is and make her life her own despite what others around her say.
I agree with fellow reviewers who state that "The Wicked Witch of the East" should have been on the CD, and I told Michelle so myself after it first came out, but I understand that it would have been difficult to include it due to the amount of plot information revealed in that song.
I also love "The March of the Witch Hunters", as Norbert said in a backstage interview I had with him "Elphaba is the Osama bin Laden of Oz" and this song really shows it. Although reminiscent of "Kill the Beast" in "Beauty and the Beast" it shows us how much the people of Oz have grown to hate her, and all based on lies, a VERY important piece to the show, and very chilling.
Overall, my opinion is that one should never apply numbers to an individual song within a show because while it may be only a 4 or 5 to the ear, it is probably a 9 or 10 to the brain and plot.
All this being said, read the book for another mind blowing experience and a new perspective (beware it is vastly different from the musical plot)... just promise me you won't skip any chapters because they are boring!
on June 5, 2005
I've had the opportunity to see this show twice (once with Idina Menzel & Kristin Chenoweth, the original witches) and it is truly powerful! The actors, music & sets are all terrific and the audiences are justifiably enthusiastic about this production!
"Avenue Q" was a fun show, but "Wicked" should have won the Best Musical Tony! In ten years, "Wicked" will likely remain on Broadway ... but will many remember "Avenue Q"?
Mr. Schwartz's score is filled with so many great songs, but standouts include:
The Wizard And I
What Is This Feeling
Popular [Chenoweth's big song]
I'm Not That Girl
Defying Gravity [Menzel's powerful end to Act I & the classic of the show]
As Long As You're Mine
Mr. Schwartz should have won for Best Score as these songs have real staying-power. At least he got the Grammy for Best Cast Album!
A truly great listen!!!