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An Oz-some Show



In response to Scott Renshaw’s brief writeup of Wicked [More Essentials, April 1, City Weekly; see a more extensive writeup this week], reader “Okie” had this to say:

“I was a little dismayed to see you giving all the credit for Wicked to Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman. While it’s true that the story has changed from novel to stage, the original ‘spin-off’ was done by Gregory Maguire. Failing to mention his work seems a tremendous oversight. Again, I admit that Maguire’s book wasn’t a runaway hit per se, and its themes are more mature and satirical (not quite pugnacious) than those presented onstage—and yet, without his work, the stage production certainly wouldn’t have been what it is, and in fact may never have come to pass.” Okie has a point: Maguire’s novel seems to receive scant attention from theater critics (who are, after all, only there to review the show). It is a sprawling examination of the nature of good and evil and, having read it, one’s experience of the show might be enhanced. The show itself seems to be more about the power words have to shape reality.

On the other hand, most musical theater audiences couldn’t care less about philosophy—they just show up to see the singy, dancy people and tap their toes to the music.

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