I think I was in high school when everybody started getting Wicked fever. I always saw it as the edgier, snarkier version of The Wizard of Oz — a glamorized number that appealed to the rebels-without-a-cause and wannabe intellectuals. Being the closeted hipster I was back in the day, I avoided it like the plague and did so successfully during their first Philippine run.
Age, as you might say, has mellowed me out. Thanks to some musically (and theatrically) inclined friends, the musical has appeared and reappeared on my news feed, like some large neon sign beckoning me for a shot at redemption.
Pop culture, with all its self-aware allure, always seems to get it right when the real world doesn’t follow through. It’s an interesting thought in going through Wicked, and more so without the rose-colored glasses. After getting behind the edgy novelty, it’s not hard to see why this musical has endeared itself to many a generation throughout the years. You’ve got discussion of body issues, discrimination, family problems, and political discourse, all the while belting out number after catchy number. But more importantly, it talks about the strength of women friendship and empowerment; revolving around two characters that have long been the poster girls of a monochromatic view of good and evil.
With Wicked’s second run in Manila, we got to chat with two of the show’s stars — Carly Anderson, who plays Glinda the Good Witch, and Jacqueline Hughes, who plays Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West — about what makes Wicked pretty… well, wicked, all the while looking into the more nuanced characterizations of this reimagining, the relationship between Glinda and Elphaba, and an interesting look at the Fiyero character.