Sunday, December 23, 2007

Literary Incarnations

I saw Wicked. Brilliant. The musical (loosely) based on Gregory Macquire's novel "Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West," inspired from L. Frank Baum's "Oz" stories. I read Maguire's book and thought it, for lack of a better word, enchanting. It took some obscure mind to imagine the life of the Wicked Witch of the West. I found myself watching the musical thinking, that's not how it happened in the novel. However, I did find Maguire's endorsement of the musical comforting. The first act closed with a true showstopper. This video from the Tony awards doesn't capture the breadth of seeing it live.

I gotta say that Wicked is now up there with another favorite musical "Into the Woods." What both of these stories offer is the retelling of children's classics. There's something appealing to me about the darker sides of stories, a truly post-modern undertaking. In this video, you'll recognize some familiar characters.

What I loved about these stories was the beautiful handling of intense themes like oppression. Afterall, the Wicked Witch dealt with prejudice due to the color of her skin. This inspires her to become an animal rights advocate, freeing caged flying monkeys and a scared lion cub (who eventually becomes the Cowardly Lion). The song "Children Will Listen" from "Into the Woods" discusses the spreading of ideas and how they're passed onto generations.

I'm still not too sure if I'm going to see Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp. There are some versions of stories that I'm satisfied with. (I saw the movie Hairspray, then the musical Hairspary. I don't have the time or money to see the movie of the musical Hairspray.) I was satisfied with the version of Sweeney Todd that I'd seen on PBS and on stage. In my mind, Sweeney Todd is a middle aged guy, kinda hefty. Not Johnny Depp in a fright wig.

I'm looking forward to seeing the musical version of The Color Purple. I'm curious. I saw the movie, loved the book, and wonder how the musical will do. I'm telling you right now: If there is a movie made of this musical, I'm not going to go see it. I'm not going to see the movie musical when I'd read the book, saw the movie and the live stage musical. That's too many incarnations for one lifetime.


Angelo said...

Augh! I'm so envious! I LOVE Wicked! I have the soundtrack, and I have to already find contentment in that. I did get to watch the Idina Menzel/Kristin Chenoweth "Defying Gravity" performance on TV for the Oscars a couple of years ago. I wanted to be transported to NY just to watch Wicked and all the other musicals. Haha! One of my OGTs - love for showtunes.

Cheryl said...

I loooove Into the Woods and Wicked. You have good taste, Noel. If you write a musical, I'll come see the movie version and the stage version.