Everyone knows the classic story of the Wizard of Oz, but few know the story behind the story. Now we do. On October 10, a group of 15 students from Southeast High School visited Music Hall in Kansas City for a matinee performance of one of Broadway’s most popular musicals: Wicked. And what a wicked experience it was!
Based on the novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire, Wicked the musical tells the story of how two girls—one beautiful and popular, the other green and misunderstood—become Glinda the Good and Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West. Glinda and Elphaba meet at school where they are assigned as roommates. After an initial period of loathing one another for (among other reasons) being green and being blonde, the odd couple form a friendship that is put to the test when Elphaba uncovers the Wizard is actually a fraud who is perpetrating a crime against the animals of Oz. Fearing Elphaba knows too much, the Wizard turns the people of Oz against her and hatches a plan for her demise. To draw Elphaba out of hiding, the Wizard has a cyclone drop a house on Elphaba’s sister. Already mourning the loss of her younger sister, Elphaba is outraged that some young girl would actually steal the ruby slippers from her dead sister. But the die had been cast. Elphaba is captured leading to a powerful scene where we learn the true identity of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, and Elphaba meets her “demise.” (You didn’t think I would actually give away everything, did you?)
When asked for their favorite part of the musical, seniors Jessica Markley and Jonie Chapman screamed in unison, “Defying Gravity.” In a theatrical masterpiece, “Defying Gravity” delivers the musical’s most stunning moment as Elphaba literally flies above the stage. Other students were impressed with the how the playwright weaved references from Wizard of Oz into the musical. Everyone was blown away seeing one of the most popular musical’s in one of Kansas City’s most spectacular venues.
It was fun watching the students’ excitement build as the day of the trip got closer, and it was absolutely heart-warming to see them all sitting on the edge of their seats, totally enraptured as the current rose. If the experience meant as much to them as it did me, then this will be an experience they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. What a wicked experience!