Movies like Mean Girls and Heathers show how girls sometimes treat each other badly, but the musical Wicked reveals why friendship and kindness are simply better alternatives to cruelty.
As a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, Wicked is adapted from Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel. It’s about the school days of Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West.
“At school, our characters both take turns being good or bad,” says Chanda Lee Schwartz, who plays Glinda. “My character is very rich and popular; she doesn’t even understand what ‘No’ means, so it’s hard for her to understand what effect she has on others.”
“Elphaba has it tough,” says Jackie Burns, who plays the wicked one. “She has green skin and her parents don’t love her. Plus, she’s very unlucky, so she’s awkward and overflowing with emotion. But she’s smart and still tries incredibly hard.”
These girls share nothing except a school and some skills that set them apart from the rest of the crowd. Glinda doesn’t know how to work, because her life has been so easy. Combining the grace of Glinda with the tenacity of Elphaba, the two girls start to realize their potential. They become friends even though Glinda’s high social position at school creates pressure not to befriend the green skinned girl.
Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz continues at Canon Theatre