The last couple weekends for us were bookended with Fairy Tale retellings…
The first was Into the Woods. We saw this at the local performing arts theater. Long before the Shrek movies mashed up all the popular children’s story characters, Sondheim’s stage play satirically did it right. Cleverly, the “happy ever after” comes to the three parties (the baker husband and his barren wife, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and his mom) at the end of the first act. Then, it all goes south thereafter.
Last weekend, we capped off the twisted fairy tale venture with Wicked. Wow, what an amazing musical! For those who don’t know, Wicked tells the sympathetic tale of the Wicked Witch of the West from her perspective. Dorothy and her dog (misnamed “Dodo” by the Good Witch) turn out to be veritable grave robbers, stealing the Wicked Witch of the East’s shoes. And there are juicy backstory surprises with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion.
I really didn’t know quite what to expect, but had heard many high praises. And sure enough, they were all warranted. Technically, it was very creative and huge in scale. The set design was an amazing clock-like machine with spinning gears. The witches, both “good” and “bad”, took flight in creative ways. Seeing the flying monkeys fly for the first time was quite a sight.