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Buy Wicked: Original Broadway Cast Album

Various Artists
Wicked: Orginal Broadway Cast Album

label: Decca
released: 12.16.03
our score: 3.0 out of 5.0
buy it: here

download Wicked lyrics and sheet music
Great, as Far as it Goes
by: matt cibula

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this record, but I cannot really recommend it to you. I guess it’s okay if you’ve actually seen Wicked on Broadway, because then it’ll be a nice keepsake, a memento if you will. But as far as an actual record you can understand and follow…uh-uh.

Let’s talk about the actual performances, though: they’re lovely. Wicked is a new musical by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, a bunch of other stuff) based on the novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire; it takes a sympathetic look at the backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West, here named Elphaba, how she got to be the way she was, and her complicated relationship with both Glinda the Good Witch and the Wizard. Not a bad idea for a musical, especially when you hear the opening number, “No One Mourns the Wicked.” Kristin Chenoweth, who plays Glinda, has a beautiful voice, and makes her role flighty and fun. But when someone asks if she knew Elphaba, we go into flashback mode…

It turns out that Elphaba, played by Idina Menzel, wasn’t always wicked. In fact, she was just a shy girl with special powers whose green skin freaked everybody out. After a whirlwind trip through their relationship, which includes the great song about how the two girls feel about each other at first called “Loathing,” we see that they were actually quite good friends, and that there was some drama between them over a boy, and then there’s something about mistreated animals and an evil schoolteacher…

Well, that’s where this album falls down. I love Schwartz’ melodies and little jokes (he keeps making up words like “braverism” and “clandestinedly”), I love Menzel and Chenoweth and even Joel Grey as the Wizard…and that’s all. Because there is nothing to follow here. Too much of this musical relied on Winnie Holzman’s (probably very witty) book, and there is no explanation in the CD booklet about how we go from song to song. No explanation, no hints, nothing.

So it’s jarring as hell when Elphaba suddenly runs off to the woods with the boy Fiyero—why is she running away? What has she done that’s so awful that everyone hates her? What’s the deal with Madame Morrible? Why are Glinda and Elphaba singing about how much they’ve learned from each other, when we just have seen them stabbing each other in the back? You want answers, you have to read this stuff on the Internet, because you’re not going to get it in this CD.

So I guess this is okay if you want some highly amped show tunes, and if you want to hear what Mrs. Taye Diggs sings like. (That would be the beauteous Idina Menzel.) But if you actually want to understand what the hell is going on…this album will not be your friend.
26-Feb-2004 12:08 PM

Download Wicked Sheet Music, Guitar Tabs, or Lyrics at musicnotes.com!

If you liked Wicked...


1. No One Mourns the Wicked - Cristy Candler
2. Dear Old Shiz
3. The Wizard and I - Idina Menzel
4. What is This Feeling? - Kristin Chenoweth
5. Something Bad - William Youmans
6. Dancing Through Life - Michelle Federer
7. Popular - Kristin Chenoweth
8. I'm Not that Girl - Idina Menzel
9. One Short Day - Kristin Chenoweth
10. A Sentinmental Man - Joel Grey
11. Defying Gravity - Kristin Chenoweth
12. Thank Goodness - Kristin Chenoweth
13. Wonderful - Idina Menzel
14. I'm Not That Girl (Reprise) - Kristin Chenoweth
15. As Long as You're Mine - Norbert Leo Butz
16. No Good Deed - Idina Menzel
17. March of the Witch Hunters
18. For Good - Kristin Chenoweth
19. Finale - Kristin Chenoweth