What is Wicked the Musical About?

For those that have not seen Wicked but would like a decent synopsis (without spoilers), we’ve put together this short guide.  If you already know about the show and just want to score some amazing tickets to wicked, you should go to our homepage.  Furthermore we have affordable tickets available as well.

If you’d like an even more comprehensive primer, consider picking up the Wicked Cast Album, which while also being an incredibly beautiful album, also provides some hints and small spoilers about the multitude of storylines (without revealing everything in the play itself).

Main Characters and Relationships

Elphaba and Glinda (complex friendship)

Elphaba, Dr. Dillamond, and the Wizard (political conflict)

Elphaba and Fiyero (romance/love interest)

Nessarose and Boq (an interesting subplot)

Synopsis: Acts, Songs and Character Development

Act 1

If you don’t know, Wicked is a prequel story to the Frank Baum classic “Wizard of Oz”, so it takes the “witches” characters and sets them early in their lives and proceeds through the story in surprising and subversive ways.

The first song of the play, “No One Mourns the Wicked” is performed by Glinda and myriad citizens of Oz.  It takes places towards the end of what would be in the Wizard of Oz movie, and sets the storyline by relaying this official story of the demise of the “Wicked Witch of the West”, Elphaba.  However, not everything is at it seems, as the play unravels some intriguing twists in the proceeding scenes and songs.

After this point the play jumps back to the stoyline of Elphaba’s birth and eventual move to college.  This transition is assisted by the song “Dear Old Shiz” (“Shiz” is the college that Elphaba and Galinda attend).  During this point it becomes apparent that while the students at Shiz seem to be accepting, there is prejudice against the green skinned Elphaba (in favor of the pristine white witch, Galinda).

Elphaba now gets to be center stage in the next number, “The Wizard and I”.  The song speaks to Elphaba’s conscious and unconcious desires, seeing the Wizard as a father figure and her real father, Frex, who actually prefers his other daughter Nessarose.  This song helps move the story forward towards eventual crucial bends in the plot and provides motivation for characters actions and background for their development.

The initial conflict and loathing between Elphaba and Galinda is expressed in the song “What is this feeling?”, which sets the stage for the tumultuous relationship between the two main characters.

The political conflict portion of the play is introduced at this point, as Dr. Dillamond, a talking Goat, who is a Professor at Shiz, is at risk of being oppressed by the authorities and possibly losing his voice.  Animals throughout Shiz are now being marginalized, and the musical piece “Something Bad” is a way to pivot the plot towards this portion of the story.

Moving back towards love interests and social relationships between the characters, Prince Fiyero is introduced through his musical piece “Dancing Through Life”.  Complex relationships including characters like Nessarose, Boq, Galinda, Fiyero and Elphaba are all developed through this portion, include Galinda and Elphaba’s (initially rocky) relationship, which now proceeds towards a friendship phase.

This friendly develops more through the song “Popular” sung by Galinda, which is a superficial look at what it takes to become popular at Shiz.  It sets the stage for Elphaba’s eventual rejection of this superficiality.  Shortly following this is the song “I’m not that girl”, which is a classic, yet sad, look at rejection that Elphaba suffers.

Elphaba eventually takes off to visit the Wizard, accomponied on a very “green” quest by Glinda (who has just changed her name, remove the “a”, in order to be in solidarity with the Animals of Shiz).  The musical number is “One Short Day”, and is a wonderful piece accompanies by the residents of the Emerald City.

The Wizard is introduced at this point and he has his own musical number “A Sentimental Man”.  It brings out the complexities of the character that will play a role later in the play.  Following some revalations about the reality of the Wizard, Elphaba is forced to face a change in heart and must follow her conscience.  This is brought about by the finale to Act I (and one of the most popular musical pieces in the play) “Defying Gravity”.

Act 2

Act two starts of with “Thank Goodness”, sung by Glinda, Morrible and the residents of Oz.  Elphaba is not present and Prince Fiyero is becoming interested in her, all the while purportedly involed with Glinda.  With “Wonderful”, sung by The Wizard and Elphaba, we see a gentler side of the Wizard, which is a relief to Elphaba, who still sees him as a fatherly figure.

In a reprise of “Im Not that Girl”, Glinda is now the rejected one, as Prince Fiyero is now interested in Elphaba.  The hurt from the rejection will come into play later as it motivates some of Glinda future actions.

Elphaba and Fiyero are finally united in an impossible love that is still in its infancy, so they sing about it all in “As Long As You’re Mine”.  As the plot twists “No Good Deed” shows Elphaba’s concern that Fiyero might not be all he’s cracked up to be and it might be affecting her reputation.

With “March of the Witch Hunters”, Elphaba is now vilified by the citizens of Oz, despite her attempts to save the Animals and stand up for their rights.  With “For Good”, both Elphaba and Glinda sing about their mutual love and interests.

In the Finale, song by all, the story comes full circle.  We don’t spoil everything here (you’ll just need to get tickets to see the show).