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I’ve Never Seen Wicked (And My Father is Concerned)

While the spring shows get ready to open, and we get psyched about seeing some faves on stage again, it seemed high time for me to purge some of my theater demons.  To confess, as it were, to you, our readers.  So, here we go.

I’ve never seen Wicked.  I know, I know.  But you love theater!  And cute boys like Aaron Tveit and Kyle Dean Massey!  And it’s been open for as long as you’ve been alive!

I just… haven’t seen it.  What’s more? I don’t really have any interest in, or intention of doing so.  Ever.  (Okay, I can envision one solitary circumstance which involves a much loved, muuuuch younger cousin who adores musical theater.)

This in itself probably isn’t all that interesting.  Lots of people haven’t seen Wicked.  Lots of people don’t care to see Wicked.  No, the amusing thing about this is that it drives my father absolutely crazy.  I shit you not.

Most people argue with their father about important things: relationship status, money, whether or not it is acceptable to leave the house in pants that look like that.  Me?  I argue with mine about Wicked.

My father’s ability to embrace things most grown men would never dare confess to loving—Sweet Home Alabama, crying at movies—is one of my favorite things about him.  But man, does he love Wicked (he’s even seen it on tour) and it seems to trouble him deeply that I outright refuse to see it myself.  Lately, when I’m home, the subject comes up just about as often as the number of items in my old bedroom he’d like me to dispose of.  The arguments haven’t involved shouting yet, but I mean…with the two of us, you never know.

I suspect our disagreement stems from a belief that I’m being a judgmental cultural snob by refusing to see a show that got bad reviews and has flying monkeys.  But I don’t look down on my dad for loving Wicked.  Honestly.  It’s just not my bag, baby.  Not my kind of show.

But there is the outside possibility that this disagreement is directly related to the fact that everyone (everyone) in my extended family—well, maybe excepting my mother and some genetically unrelated aunts—has to be right all the time.  And we constantly have to try and prove to each other just exactly how right we are.  So my dad needs to be right about how great Wicked is and how much I’d love it.  And I have to be right about…well, the exact opposite.

It remains to be seen if this argument will ever die, or at least cease to surface so frequently.    I’m probably stoking the fire just writing this.  But you never know.  In a moment of weakness I might go see Wicked some day, too.  Though, let’s be real, I’d never give anyone the satisfaction of admitting if I enjoyed it.

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Paul Di Ciccio February 21, 2011, 2:21 pm

    I’ve seen it once and it was entertaining, but I don’t think I’d ever pay to see it again. It was good but it wasn’t anything special.

  • Elizabeth February 21, 2011, 2:27 pm

    I’ve seen Wicked twice. The first time, I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it. The second time, I liked it even less. I really don’t understand the hype around this musical. I also don’t understand how anybody could love Cats, but maybe it’s my predisposed hatred towards the actual animal.

  • Kate F February 22, 2011, 7:51 am

    Yeah, it’s horrible. Saw it w my aunt and theater-obsessed cousin when said cousin was about 13. Cringed through the entire thing. We went because Shoshana Bean was understudying Ephelba at the time and was performing that week, and they knew her from PDX or something. Saw her in Hairspray, too. She’s very good, but I didn’t love Hairspray, either–am I just cynical?

  • Fred M February 23, 2011, 2:30 pm

    I enjoyed reading the commentary and would agree that I have strong opinions, much like my daughter. I did enjoy Wicked, even the second time in Boston. I was entertained and loved the take on the Wizard of Oz.

    I believe I even cried at the end (real men do cry at the theater).

    Now about the room, we will have to talk about that at another time.

    The Mick’s Dad

  • Aunbt Kathy andf Uncle Philly February 23, 2011, 7:24 pm

    Make your father happy…see Wicked…and wear one of your prom dresses!

  • Abby March 1, 2011, 7:02 am

    The fact that your father posted on this IS AMAZING. Love you (and Fred by proxy).

  • Stellla March 16, 2011, 6:00 am

    Dear Mick,

    I’d never seen the show until last week. But Wicked celebrated its SEVEN year anniversary in October 2010, has won 35 major awards, including a Grammy® and three Tony Awards®, and is currently the 17th longest-running Broadway show in history. So, excuse me, dear, but with that pedigree–or should I say verdigris–you should give in and see it with pops.

    I don’t know why you’re being stubborn, but you and Elphaba have a lot in common. Let me put it to you frankly–barring all these other morons’ negative comments–Wicked is definitely worth seeing.

    The narrative of The Wizard of Oz is something inherent to our youth–we grew up with it. It was our first encounter, via MGM spectacle, with the story of good vs. evil. Take what you learned from that, flip it on its axis, and the story of discrimination becomes increasingly clear: superficial judgement is still appallingly prevalent in society.

    Elphaba, the protagonist, cares for her sister’s welfare to her own detriment, she supports animal rights, she cares about the politics of what’s happening in the environment, and finally takes a stand–at a very high cost. She loses her reputation, and ultimately her life, but NEVER loses her dignity. Would you risk that?

    I doubt any of these nay-sayers can think beyond their own immediate gratification. They belong in the “Glinda” category: self-absorbed, mindless, shallow yes-men. If I’m wrong, please submit your essays below.

    If I seem a bit effusive, it’s because I recognized the value of the story and its pertinence, even now. There are so many different tracks to follow–that have extreme relevance to society–and each through-line reveals an underbelly that most musicals don’t, and can’t, ever hope to achieve in the body of a script.

    Stephen Schwartz’ music is exceptional. He finds a unique rhythm and cadence for each character, and moves the story forward. Many musicals fail in that category.

    Bottom line: you can continue to be stubborn, but you can’t have an “experience” and hope to discuss it rationally, until you see the performance. And hey, out of the millions of people who’ve seen Wicked, only three people supported you.

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