Just you and I defying gravity

Growing up, I listened to a lot of musicals. My parents are huge Andrew Lloyd Webber fans, and the tape (yes tape, not CD) of his greatest hits was the only music the three of us could agree on for road trips. (Well, that and Olivia Newton John, hahaha.) Plus every time I spent the night at Alex’s house, we would fall asleep to the soundtrack of whatever musical her father had just taken her to see in NYC — Les Mis, Fiddler on the Roof, Cats. I loved them all, but I hadn’t gone to see an actual musical in years. Not until Wicked last year.

Wicked was fabulous. Over a year later, I still have “Popular,” “For Good,” and my favorite, “Defying Gravity,” on my current iTunes playlist. For those of you who don’t know, it’s based on a “meta-fiction” novel that tells the story of the Wizard of Oz from the wicked witch’s point of view. I hadn’t read the novel before seeing the musical, nor have I since, but after this (9-minute) interview with author Gregory Maguire, I really, really want to.

[Edit: Sadly the video has been removed from CNN.com.]

After hearing in Gregory Maguire’s own words the deep, deliberate thought that he put into the story, it makes total sense to me that this would become a hit, in any form. And though it’s fiction — haha complete and utter fiction, obviously — it’s really interesting to see how certain themes parallel his own life.

I can’t wait to read the novel. Heck, the whole series!

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9 Comments

  1. Mary

    You know, I’ve heard a whole lot of people say they absolutely loved the musical “Wicked”…and were horribly, horribly, horribly disappointed when they read the book.

    In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they liked the book better than – or even as much as – the musical.

    I’ve also heard some of those same people say they didn’t care for his other books, either. I think what tends to get people is that his ideas are good, but his execution of said ideas leaves something to be desired.

    However, take all this with as much salt as you like. I’ve never seen the musical, or read any of this guy’s books. :)

  2. Wicked the musical is a fairy tale. I adore it. When I saw it I cried at four different occasions (the first being when the actress playing Elphaba started belting in “The Wizard and I” — I got goosebumps).

    Wicked the book is written in a style I have to label as Dickensian. It’s so straightforward and moralistic, though Maguire’s language has moments of lyricism, too. Also, where Dickens often painted characters white and black, Maguire’s are always nicely gray. (Something they explored nicely in the musical.) The themes are the same but they have very different details and plot points. I heard Maguire say, in reference to the book-to-musical adaptation, that it wasn’t his book but it was his story. I like thinking of it like that.

  3. Mary-
    Interesting! I wonder how people feel going the other way… I’ll still probably check out Wicked no matter what (eventually…) but I suppose if the writing isn’t that great, I won’t do the whole series.

    Erin-
    I cried too, haha. Not at the Wizard and I, though. I BALLED at Defying Gravity.

    Ooo, he mentions Dickens as a huge influence on him! And yes, the whole “gray” thing is what I love best in characters. So it sounds like you’ve read at least Wicked. Any others?

  4. Loved the book, loved the musical too. We saw Wicked summer ’07, when we went to NYC to celebrate daughter’s high school graduation.

    phhhst’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday #10

  5. Alex

    Don’t forget Phantom of the Opera! We used to sing ALL the parts! :-D

    And, PS, it was Mom who took me to see Fiddler on the Roof, I believe. In Houston. So there! :-P

    (Reposted, because apparently I AM that special as to get caught in the upgrade.)

  6. Alex-
    LOL oh yes you are, dearie. You and only you. One of a kind. ;)

  7. Wicked the musical was much more enjoyable than the book, but I think its mostly the high hitting notes and Kristan Chenowith that people love.

  8. I think Mitza really likes the books. I, too, have not read the books but to be honest never had the desire to. I did love the musical and thought the plot was genius. FYI, O absolutely loves Popular, and have belted that one out together, just like you and Alex :)

    Kristin Chenowith is the greatest, you should watch her on Pushing Daisies. I’m sad they’re cancelling it :(

    Angie’s last blog post..What’s better than a free meal?

  9. Margot-
    Yeah, KC has a HUGE following. (See Angie’s comment below, lol.) We didn’t get to see her b/c we went to the Chicago show, but still, the woman who played Glinda was great and true to KC’s spirit.

    Angie-
    Who WOULDN’T love Popular?! :P

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