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Defying the Odds and Defying Gravity: Why Wicked! is Such a Success

The+Clock+of+the+Time+Dragon
The Clock of the Time Dragon

The Clock of the Time Dragon

Sarah McReynolds

Sarah McReynolds

The Clock of the Time Dragon

Sarah McReynolds, Features Editor

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Until March 15th, Wicked! is gracing the Pantages stage. The current rendition starring Emma Hunton as Elphaba and Chandra Lee Schwartz as Glinda is, well, “unlimited”. The vocals, acting, and choreography were all “popular” with the crowd, as was the rest of the production.

The set features the Clock of the Time Dragon which is perhaps the most under-developed and under- explained part of the entire play. To clarify, in Gregory Maguire’s Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, the Time Dragon can supposedly tell everyone the secrets of their lives. Elphaba was also born inside the clock.

The wardrobe is an intriguing blend of Victorian-esque costumes with a complicated blend of glitter, ruffles, steampunk influences, and of course, a notorious black witch hat.

While all of these factors add to Wicked’s success, the play seems to have cracked the secret to timeless success that appears in modern media.

The production in itself is an unorthodox aberration to a popular children’s book, emulating the success of current plays, movies, and movies based on plays. Similar success stories include the recent Into the Woods, or even the less recent Tangled.  The stories apply a twist- or several twists- onto the classic stories everyone heard as children, such as Rapunzel whacking people with frying pans, and negotiating peace by helping everyone pursue their dreams of being pianists or collecting ceramic unicorns (if only the real world worked that way).

Additionally, the play focuses on a strong female protagonist who everyone labels as an antagonist, except for the select few- or perhaps one and a snowmen- that know her well. And thus, the Frozen comparisons begin.

  • Of course, both Frozen and Wicked! star Idina Menzel and her talented voice.
  • Both feature an introvert heroine with magical powers.
  • Both feature the heroine’s younger sister.
  • Both feature a dramatic escape (set to a catchy song) to an isolated castle.
  • And, as discussed previously, both are based on children’s stories.

However, no one is suing Wicked! for copying their life story (yet.)

As it would seem, a strong female character, magic, castles, fairytale twists, and music are the key components to the success of wicked! and various other popular productions.

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