Everyone has seen the “The Wizard of Oz” at some point in their lives and holds a special connection to the timeless film. The film (1939) was based on a series of books created by Lyman Frank Baum. In 1995, decades after the movie was made, Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory McGregor was published.
There aren’t any rainbows to fly over in “Wicked the Musical” which has deliciously composed music which leaves its flavors lingering on your tounge for days. I still can’t get those songs out of my head. In this spin off of “The Wizard of Oz,” we learn how society forced Elphaba to become the Wicked Witch of the West.
This show pulled out all the stops as far as costumes were concerned. In an interview, the Costume Designer Susan Hilferty (“Spring Awakening,” “Into the Woods,” “Lestat,” “Jitney”) mentioned that she couldn’t find as many shades of green as she would have liked to use for the production which has over 20 numbers performed by a large cast and with an even larger ensemble.
One of Elphaba’s costumes cost as much as $20,000. Idina Menzel, who won a Tony Award for her portrayel of Elphaba, fell through a trap door during a performance and injured her leg. The costume was so expensive that hospital workers carefully undress her instead of cutting her clothes off as they would have done to anyone else.
In the musical’s most famous numbers “Defying Gravity,” oceans of fabric swing down from lofts and out from the wings, which all seem to connect to The Wicked witch’s dress. Together, it creates the allusion that she is flying! There is no wonder why Hilferty won a Tony Award for her awe inspiring designs.