Principal cast includes: Kristin Chenowith (Galinda, Glinda); Sean McCourt (Witch's Father); Cristy Canlder (Witch's Mother); Jan Neuberger (Midwife); Idina Menzel (Elphaba); Michelle Federer (Nessarose); Christopher Fitzgerald (Boq); Carole Shelley (Madame Morrible); William Youmans (Doctor Dillamond); Norbert Leo Butz (Fiyero); Sean McCourt (Ozian Official); Joel Grey (The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz); Manuel Herrera (Chistery).
Recorded at Right Track Studios, New York, New York.
Personnel: Greg Skaff (guitar); Laura Sherman (harp); Maura Giannini, Ann Labin, Victor Heifets, Suzanne Ornstein, Victor Schultz (violin); Kevin Roy, Ronald Carbone (viola); Jeanne LeBlanc (cello); Helen Campo (flute); John Campo (clarinet, bassoon, baritone saxophone); John Moses (clarinet, soprano saxophone); Tom Hoyt, Jon Owens (trumpet); Kelly Dent (French horn); Douglas Purviance, Dale Kirkland (trombone); Alex Lacamoire (piano, synthesizer); Dr. David Evans (keyboards).
Audio Mixers: Frank Filipetti; Jason Stasium.
Recording information: Right Track Studios, New York, NY (11/10/2003).
Director: Stephen Oremus.
Photographer: Joan Marcus.
Arrangers: Stephen Oremus; James Lynn Abbott; Alex Lacamoire.
Although best remembered for the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum's series of early 20th century novels about the fairyland Oz have inspired a number of theatrical and cinematic adaptations, beginning with a Broadway musical version of The Wizard of Oz for which Baum himself provided the libretto and lyrics that opened in 1903, only three years after the first publication of the initial book, and including the 1975 all-black Broadway musical The Wiz. In an era rife with sequels and "prequels" to successful properties that has reached back retroactively to include authorized and unauthorized re-imaginings of works such as Gone with the Wind, Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West purported to depict the back story of the villainess of The Wizard of Oz and her counterpart, Glinda the Good. Of course, Maguire's retelling was a revisionist interpretation in which the Wicked Witch turned out to be a misunderstood character with lots of justifications for turning "bad" (one of them being prejudiced reactions to her green skin color), while Glinda was made into more of a goody-goody than actually good, not to mention being something of a dumb-blonde cheerleader type. Theatrical composer Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin) saw the obvious stage possibilities, and his musical version, Wicked, opened on Broadway on October 30, 2003. In the adaptation, Glinda's role has been beefed up, the better to employ the talents of Tony-winning Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth, though the story still primarily concerns the young Wicked Witch (Idina Menzel), with Broadway veteran Joel Grey as the Wizard, and the story line has been softened, the better to attract a young audience conditioned by the Disney hits Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. On disc, the score will have a familiar sound to anyone who knows previous Schwartz efforts and their combination of traditional show music with '70s-style soft rock music and choral music. Soprano Chenoweth and alto Menzel are given very different kinds of songs to sing; Chenoweth gets the Broadway belting material, Menzel the more adult contemporary-type ballads. This is appropriate to the their characters. Glinda is superficial and showy, Elphaba (the Witch) so earnest that she is eventually embittered. The score is tuneful and the lyrics often witty. This is not great music, but it is craftsmanlike and certainly efficient for this somewhat questionable project. ~ William Ruhlmann
Elphie and Glinda, the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch. Based on the book by Gregory Maguire, the new musical creating a storm on Broadway, Wicked, explores the relationship between the two, cleaverly linking in other features of The Wizard of Oz such as the flying monkeys, the creation of the Tin Man and the Scarecrow and the REAL reasons behind the plot of the movie. This CD is one to make the blood pump a little harder through your veins, packed as it is with powerful 'belting bits', tender love songs and catchy tunes that are bound to be stuck in your head. YOU MUST BUY THIS NOW -you won't regret it.
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 Sentimental Man - Joel Grey
11. Defying Gravity - Idina Menzel
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
The Wizard of Oz gets an extreme makeover in Wicked, which purports that the young, green witch was not evil as previously believed, but misunderstood. The lyrics are hilarious, and standout performances from both leads (Glinda and the Wicked Witched). Definitely a recording to brighten your day, and with serious overtones about how we recognize good from evil.
Having never heard of this musical or the CD before spotting it on fishpond I thought I would "give it a go" based on the other reviews I read here. All I can say is "I'm glad I did"!.
Being a big fan of musicals this recording did not disappoint and I think there will be something here for everyone. Great to sing-along to (lyrics included) and the songs themselves are fantastic. My personal favourites are "Popular", "Defying Gravity" and "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished".
I am hooked and would definitely recommend it to all those who enjoy this genre. Now I just have to save up to see the show! :)
The best new musical of modern times. A brilliantly imaginative story, show stopping music and clever lyrics make this a joy to listen to from beginning to end. Highlights include "Popular", "The Wizard And I", "For Good" and the powerful, "Defying Gravity".
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