by Chrysa Smith

HeeHeeHee, my little pretty

Those words scared the bejesus out of me as a young girl.

Before cd’s and tevo, I’d wait each fall to watch Glinda and her evil counterpart, aka The Wicked Witch of the West, the flying monkeys, the munchkins and the Great Oz (although he was a cornball—like a tv game show host, don’t you think?). It was a tradition however, and somehow, even though it’s still a classic, being able to watch it when and where you want takes some of the ‘special’ quality out of it. And somehow, it’s dropped off my viewing list.

So it was with great pleasure that I saw Wicked last week. Part of the Broadway Across America series, those beloved childhood characters came to life again. Only this time, live on stage.

Wicked prequels the classic movie by detailing the life of the Wicked Witch—exactly how she came to be the woman she is. And it wasn’t exactly pretty. Like many stories these days, the topic of ‘bullying’ was brought to life, as the daily life of a ‘green’ girl was chronicled. But the teasing, alienating, cruelty came early and often. Elphaba was the ‘green’ sheep of the family. Her sister, of ordinary color sat in a wheel chair. And Elphaba was given charge to take care of her. Her luck began to change when Glinda, aka The Good Witch, became Elphaba’s room mate at school and took her under her wing. Glinda was determined to make Elphaba popular, by reinventing her. But Elphaba wasn’t having any of it. Her best luck came when the handsome boy, who Glinda fancied, took a shine to Elphaba and stuck with her through it all.

The story was an old (albeit light-hearted) one about good and evil. Does evil beget evil? Do good intentions really count? Or are results all that matter?

If Broadway Across America sings and dances its way into your town, be sure to take advantage of it. The talent level is quite high, leaving you with a performance every bit as good as you find on the west side of NYC. When you see it, take note. As Glinda might have said, prepared to be ‘moodified’—cast under a very bewitching spell. (hee, hee)

Broadway Across America can be seen at The Academy of Music in Philadelphia (Wicked runs through early August), and at major venues throughout the country.