When it comes to going out to shows I find I am a snob. Being a snob allows me to avoid any more nights of watching or hearing dreck and wanting my time back. We’ve all had these evenings and thought about them when invited out for what feels like another such outing. I don’t feel bad about making such a statement because art is inclusive. It hurts when it’s bad. It takes something out of you. A movie can be dismissed if it’s awful, but live theatre is much more interactive, a dreadful play infects your psyche. So, I protect myself where I can. I have always maintained that we are all allowed and supposed to be critics of art. That's what makes it art and not cement.
Musicals are often like that for me. Mind you, A Chorus Line changed me as an artist and as a person, so I’m aware of the power of a great musical. Maybe A Chorus Line ruined me for the nights when the show felt like an excuse for people to belt out songs strung together by the thinnest of stories with characters phoned in by performers who use the dialog as a stall tactic for costume changes.
When I decided to buy seats to Wicked as a surprise for my daughter to celebrate her “graduation” from 5th grade, I resigned myself to the idea that I would endure the musical because she loved the show. She’d done an abbreviated version of the show in chorus at school and loved it. So Goldstar sent me an email and they had seats for our night and we went.
The opening note of the show shot her full of sizzles of excitement. The live orchestra came to life, a huge dragon on the roof roared, lights flashed and Galinda descended to stage in a bubble. My daughter sang along with gusto, it was the perfect graduation present.
But here’s the best part…man oh man, did I love this show.
Glinda, Elphaba, the story, the songs…flat out great. The actresses that played the leads were all so devoted and so funny and so earnest. It was pure fun, pure entertainment and done by pure artists. Gosh how does all that sound come from such small women? I didn’t see it coming but when a musical is done right, it’s intoxicating. You can simply elevate an audience into a frenzy over something as silly as trying to make a green person “popular.”
After the show we waited at the stage door, the actors walked out, sharpie in hand, autographed her program and stood for photos with my daughter. I told them all they were just dynamite, and I was totally jealous of their job. How great it must be to go into a theatre every night and elevate a crowd using pure Wickness.