The Musical adaptation of Gregory Maguire's novel, based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.Wicked is the story of Elphaba, a girl who was born with green skin after her mother had an encounter with a traveling stranger. Soon after, her mother died giving birth to Elphaba's wheelchair-bound sister, Nessarose, and Elphaba grows up as The Unfavorite and full of survivor guilt.Once Elphaba and Nessarose are old enough to attend magical college at Shiz, Elphaba accidentally becomes roommates with the pretty, popular and entirely insufferable Galinda. The two girls instantly fall in loathing, but through a series of misunderstandings involving the rather shallow Prince Fiyero, they come to appreciate each other's perspectives. Slowly but surely, the two girls find common ground and end up becoming best friends.Things change, however, when Professor Dillamond, their Talking Animal teacher, is suddenly dismissed from his profession. Trying to discover where the nation's sudden bouts of racism stem from, Elphaba and Galinda — now going by Glinda — make the trip to Emerald City, to meet the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. However, thanks to a Love Dodecahedron involving Fiyero, Nessarose, and a timid young man named Boq, things become a lot more complicated than they had counted on. And as the two girls find themselves sucked into the plot of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, it becomes inevitable that one becomes the Good Witch Glinda — and the other, the Wicked Witch Of The West.
The Musical contains examples of the following tropes
Affably Evil: The Wizard. He never once directly says a single harsh word to either Elphaba or Glinda. Some performances of "Wonderful" even have he and Elphaba share a dance before it all goes to hell. All he ever wanted was to give people what they wanted and keep them happy.
All Love Is Unrequited: Nessarose loves Boq. Boq loves Glinda. Glinda loves Fiyero, but can tell he's not fully invested in the relationship. Fiyero loves Elphaba but is stuck in a relationship with Glinda. Elphaba loves Fiyero but doesn't think she stands a chance against Glinda. This has some disastrous results, especially for Nessa and Boq.
There has been a researcher that considered Popular a deconstruction of this trope; the Alpha Bitch is declawed here and becomes less threatening.
And There Was Much Rejoicing: The opening song of the musical, "No One Mourns the Wicked," where the citizens of Oz rejoice that the Wicked Witch of the West is finally dead. Of course the entire story that follows it is about how this is an entirely inappropriate response.
And I Must Scream: Dillamond's fear regarding the Animals in Oz, and his ultimate fate.
Beta Couple: A very unhappy version with Boq and Nessarose.
Betty and Veronica: Fiyero in between Elphaba (Betty) and Glinda (Veronica). Boq is with Nessa (Betty) but is in love with Glinda (Veronica), although Nessa and Glinda's roles switch once Nessa goes off the deep end.
Bittersweet Ending: Elphaba is forever remembered as a villain and the Wizard as a hero. However, Madame Morrible and The Wizard are disposed of, leaving Glinda in charge, who is actively working to right the wrongs in Oz and carry on Elphaba's cause. Elphaba and Fiyero survive and can live out their days happily, provided they never return to Oz or let the despairing Glinda know her best friends are actually alive.
Black and White Morality: The Wizard points out that this moral system is the one most people prefer to believe when given the opportunity.
There are precious few at ease With moral ambiguities So we act as though they don't exist
Bookends: The celebration of the Death of the Wicked Witch of the West opens and closes the show, from new angles and with slightly different moods each time.
The Caligula: What Nessarose becomes after she inherits the position of Governess of Munchkin Land, by enslaving their entire race out of Mad Love for Boq. It's heavily implied absolutely no one in Munchkinland likes her, if it wasn't obvious enough in the source material that they celebrate after she gets smashed by a house.
The Caretaker: Elphaba dutifully plays this role for her disabled sister during much of the first act. In fact, her father only allowed her to come to Shiz University so she could assist Nessarose. Boq later replaces her, if unwillingly.
Chekhov's Gun: We get a good look at the green bottle the Wizard offers Glinda a drink from, which observant viewers will recognize as the same one the man who seduced Elphaba's mother had. Madame Morrible casually mentions at some point that weather spells are her speciality, and later she uses this ability to create a cyclone that brings Dorothy to Oz and kills Nessarose.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Galinda is a toned down version. She did decide to get married to Fiyero on the day she met him and refused to give up on their broken relationship with a 'surprise' engagement. Nessa is a much more alarming version ...
Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Dr. Dillamond seems to believe that the Animals losing their powers of speech is the logical conclusion of the government keeping Animals from speaking out.
Cold-Blooded Torture: The Wizard's guards try to get Fiyero to give up Elphaba's location by taking him out to a field to be tortured. However, Elphaba tries to save him by casting a spell from the Grimmerie that ultimately turns him into the Scarecrow so it's unclear exactly how much/long Fiyero suffers from this attempt.
Comically Missing the Point: After Nessarose dies by Morrible dropping Dorothy's farm on her, Elphaba holds a major grudge against Dorothy, for obvious reasons. She constantly tries to get her shoes (as in the film). When G(a)linda shows up to confront Elphaba again, she yells "They're just shoes!"
This made a bit more sense in the novel; the shoes were actually magical, and carried major emotional baggage to boot.
Counterpoint Duet: The latter half of "What Is This Feeling," though there's more than two voices involved. Also, the final chorus of "For Good", although it's the same melody, just sung at different times.
Crapsaccharine World: Oz, especially the Emerald City. The whimsical fantasy sets fail to distract from the fact that all talking animals and other segments of the population are being oppressed by a manipulative government. Compare "Something Bad" to "One Short Day".
"Making Good" was replaced in the final cut by "The Wizard and I" - a recording of it is included on the 5 year anniversary album. The original song in place of "Dancing Through Life" was called "Which Way's The Party" (lyrics also at the same link); that one has not been released in any official form.
The song "Wicked Witch of the East" is in the musical, but not in any of the sound tracks. This is because the lyrics are interspersed with a lot of dialog. Still, you can find videos of the song on YouTube.
"I'm Not That Girl" and "A Sentimental Man" with their respective reprises would also qualify.
A variant: The "I Hope You're Happy" passage at the beginning of "Defying Gravity" starts darkly, as Elphaba and Glinda are sniping at each other. When they sing it again toward the end of the same song, it becomes a Sad Reprise, as the two friends genuinely wish each other happiness, no matter the roads they take in life.
In "Dancing Through Life" and "The Wicked Witch of the East", where Boq sings to Nessa. The first one is him trying to confess that he's only asked her out because he wants to impress Glinda. The reprise is when he tells her that he's leaving her, which makes her so mad she tries to remove his heart.
Listen, Nessa - Uh, Nessa
I've got something to confess A reason why, well, Why I asked you here tonight Now, I know it isn't fair...
And then in "The Wicked Witch of the East"
Nessa - Uh Nessa Surely now I'll matter less to you And you won't mind my leaving here tonight The ball that's being staged Announcing Glinda is engaged...
"March of the Witch Hunters" is an inversion - it's more light (musically) than its original, "March of the Winkies" (straight from the film and its various adaptations), but the lyrics graphically talk about killing.
"March of the Witch Hunters" is also a dark reprise for "No Good Deed".
"I'd be so happy I could melt" from "The Wizard and I". And "When people see me, they will scream..." And even more poignant: "Someday there'll be a celebration throughout Oz that's all to do... with me!" There is, but it's celebrating her death.
Subverted by Fiyero's incredulous, "Did you hear that? Water will melt her? People are so emptyheaded they'll believe anything." The audience thinks this is Dramatic Irony and that he's wrong, but at the end it turns out it really is just nonsense. (Morrible's earlier line "Don't get caught in the rain, dear!" to a lone Elphaba in the rain doesn't help matters.)
The show has a lot of this for itself. Watching it a second time can be a very different experience from watching it the first time. Mainly, "No One Mourns the Wicked", many of Fiyero's lines about being brainless, since he turns into the Scarecrow and every interaction between Elphaba and the Wizard, once it's revealed he's her father..
Eating Lunch Alone: Also discussed. Elphaba offers to share her lunch with her teacher, Dr. Dillamond, ostracized for being a Goat. She eats her sandwich; he eats the paper bag it came in. And the wrapper.
Evil Laugh: Depending on the production, Elphaba has either always had her distinctive cackle, only develops it after becoming Wicked, or never uses it. In most cases, it comes right after G(a)linda slaps her after Dorothy's arrival in Oz.
Fantastic Racism: The persecution of talking animals. Also, people disliking Elphaba for her green skin.
Fake Weakness: Fiyero (and, unwittingly, Morrible) propagates the idea that Elphaba's vulnerable to water in order to fake her death. Elphaba is clever enough to play along.
Fashionable Asymmetry: The guiding principle for the costumes of the ensemble in the musical production, which eventually won a Tony Award in this department.
Hate at First Sight: There's a song dedicated to the idea: Elphaba and Galinda get a song that almost sounds, and starts, like a love ballad, except they hate each other.
Heel Realization: Galinda gives Elphaba the trademark black hat and invites her to the Ozdust Ballroom with the gang because she thought she couldn't "think of anyone I hate that much" to foist it on them (to which some girls respond "Yes, you do!") But when Elphaba arrives and gets ridiculed as expected, Galinda realizes how awful she's been and stops the laughing by going up and dancing with her. They evolve into friends after that.
Heroic BSOD: "All right, enough! So be it!... so be it then." Elphaba loses it after Fiyero dies. In the musical, we have the "No Good Deed" song; in the book, she turns mute and enters a nunnery for some years.
Heroic Bastard: Elphaba's birth was the result of an encounter between the wizard (her biological father) and her mother- her green skin came from the green elixir the Wizard used to seduce her mother.
Hero with Bad Publicity: All Elphaba wanted to do was help save the Animals (and these are animals of human-level sentience). But by the end of the musical, she's considered a monster by most Ozians and has come to be known by them as the "Wicked Witch of the West" depicted in The Wizard of Oz.
If I Can't Have You: Nessarose decides that if Boq won't give her his heart, he might as well not have a heart to give, and reads a spell from the Grimmerie to do just that.
Incoming Ham: Young Galinda's high notes at the end of "Dear Old Shiz", as she is rolled onstage seated atop her piles of luggage, no less.
Informed Deformity: Any character seeing Elphaba for the first time tends to recoil in shock at her ugliness, simply because she's green. Even her lover only calls her beautiful because he's "looking at things another way". In actual fact, Elphaba is a young and beautiful woman (with none of the uglyness of the Wicked Witch of the West from the movie, no crooked nose or warts) who only looks unattractive at the beginning of the musical because she wears her hair in a boring braid, glasses, and conservative clothes (which is clearly not what people find ugly about her).
Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Invoked (cynically) by Galinda, in the number "Dancing Through Life." To get Boq out of her hair, she points him in Nessa's direction. He's eager to play the hero and impress Galinda, so he asks her out.
"See that tragically beautiful girl? The one... in the chair? It seems so unfair, we should go on a spree, and not she..."
Let all Oz be agreed I'm wicked through and through Since I can not succeed Fiyero, saving you I promise no good deed Will I attempt to do again Ever again No good deed Will I do again!
The argument can also be made for the Wizard. After being portrayed as misguided but with ultimately noble intentions for bulk of the second act, his moment comes when Elphaba is melted, or so everyone thinks, presumably on either his orders or orders he allowed Madame Morrible to make.
Karma Houdini Warranty: The moment the Wizard feels remorse for helping to (allegedly) kill his daughter Elphaba, Glinda uses this to push him out of office and overtake Oz.
Large Ham: Every Glinda seems to be required to try and top the previous actress in zaniness. Kristin Chenoweth was goofy, but relatively downplayed compared to, say, Natalie Daradich's. Kendra Kessenbaum turns "Popular" into borderline acrobatics at some points.
Laughing Mad: Depending on the actress playing her (as well as the one playing Glinda), Elphaba can have shades of this when she cackles after Glinda slaps her. Bonus points if it's the exact same cackle from the film.
Love Dodecahedron: Nessarose loves Boq who loves Galinda who loves Fiyero who loves Elphaba who loves him back. To put it in perspective: The Wicked Witch of the East loves The Tin Man who loves Glinda who loves The Scarecrow who loves The Wicked Witch of the West. Made ever so slightly more complicated by the fact that Elphaba and Fiyero both also platonically care about Glinda.
When Nessa tries to cast a love spell, or something like it, on the object of her affections... But unfortunately, she absolutely mangles the pronunciation. It certainly changed his heart alright, and almost killed him!
Elphaba does this in No Good Deed when casting an invulnerability spell on Fiyero, messing up the last part of the incantation and transforming him into The Scarecrow. The spell did exactly what she asked, but not quite the way she meant...
Let his flesh not be torn, let his blood leave no stain
Though they beat him, let him feel no pain
Let his bones never break, and however they try to destroy him
Let him never die, let him never die!
The Makeover: Glinda tries to give Elphaba one in "Popular", with mixed results.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Glinda, in her schoolgirl days; Elphaba describes it in detail with "I'm Not That Girl." Gets deconstructed a bit in Act Two, as Glinda starts to realize there's more to life than sparkles.
Nessa: What's in the punch? Boq: Lemons and melons and pears— Nessa: Oh my!
Another notable: Elphaba pays Nessa a visit.
Nessa: What are you doing here? Elphaba: Well ... there's no place like home.
Stephen Schwartz has stated that the whole joy of the show is these nods that allow us to see how the Oz we know and love came to be. Hence in Act 1, Elphaba gradually acquires her famous witch's outfit; and in Act 2, we learn the origin of the cyclone, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.
The first seven notes of the repeated "Unlimited" musical motif are the same (though their rhythm is very different) as those of "Over the Rainbow".
The performers at the Wizomania show are identical to the Hammerheads in Baum's original book, though here they appear to be caricatures of the Wizard himself.
Another nod to the original Baum novels: during "One Short Day", at one point, a street peddler gives Elphaba and Glinda glasses with green tinted lenses, which they wear briefly during the remainder of the number. In Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Wizard made everyone in the Emerald City (which wasn't actually all that green) wear green-tinted glasses so that everything would appear to be green.
In Act 2, when the Wizard agrees to free the winged monkeys from his servitude, Elphaba gleefully shouts, "Fly, monkeys, fly!"
The absolutely idiotic idea that a person would melt if splashed with water. They use the joke a few times. Good thing, too.
Nessa's shoes, which start out silver (as they are in Baum's book) and turn ruby red after Elphaba casts her spell on them.
Glinda once asks someone else to "wait just a tick-tock"; Tik-Tok is a clockwork character who first appeared in Ozma of Oz.
Named by the Adaptation: Elphaba and Nessa are nameless in the book and MGM movie, but got their names in the book, which the musical adapted. Fiyero could count too, as the Scarecrow had no name in the original book and movie. And since the "Wicked" book doesn't actualy portray Fiyero and the Scarecrow as the same person, the Scarecrow isn't named in the book either, only in the musical.
The Scapegoat: The Animals in Oz. Dr. Dillamond (who is literally a goat) even points this out to Elphaba.
She Who Must Not Be Seen: Dorothy, who is only present offstage twice and in silhouette once. Also the Cowardly Lion (as an adult), the only part of whom we see is his tail. According to the companion book The Grimerrie, Dorothy and the Lion were originally both in the opening, but were written out when the writers decided that having the two most memorable characters would conflict with the idea of the show.
Shout-Out: The stage is framed by a massive clockwork set, topped by a red-eyed animatronic dragon head that occasionally comes to life and writhes back and forth during important/dramatic moments. The popular theory is that this represents the Time Dragon Clock from the book.
Single Palette Town: The Emerald City, carried over from The Wizard of Oz. "It's all grand / And it's all green!" Stealth subversion? In the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book, it's revealed that the Emerald City is actually built of all white stone and people wear green shades so it all looks green. Guess what the Emerald City residents are wearing on stage.
Soundtrack Dissonance: Slight variation in that the soundtrack is dissonant with the lyrics and subject matter. What is This Feeling? is a happy, bouncy, upbeat song all about how much Galinda and Elphaba hate each other. "Loathing! Unadulterated loathing! For your face; your voice; your clothing! Let's just say I loathe it all."
The reprise of "No one mourns the wicked", whose lyrics once again emphasize how happy Oz is about Elphaba's death, has a slow and sad melody because the audience isn't happy about it.
Spiritual Successor: Frozen has been seen as this, with the Elsa character in particular being an Expy for Elphaba (helped by the fact their both played by Idina Menzel). It's been commented on that the two main characters and their relationship is extremely similar in both works, the main difference being if the Glinda-like character was Elphaba's sister instead of Nessa.
Take That: Some of the lyrics in "Popular" are: "When I see depressing creatures with unprepossessing features/I remind them on their own behalf/to think of celebrated heads of state or specially great communicators/Did they have brains or knowledge? Don't make me laugh!" Ronald Reagan was known as The Great Communicator.
Boq (in the musical) becoming the Tin Man. The way it's played once he realizes what he's been turned into is not too far from how Elizabeth reacts to awakening as a monster in the 1994 version of Frankenstein, minus the suicide.
Chistery and the other monkeys growing wings looked pretty painful as well.
The Unfavorite: The only reason Elphaba was brought to Shiz in the musical was so that she can care for Nessarose.
Villain Song: "Wonderful" for The Wizard, and "No Good Deed" for Elphaba. Also, not on the soundtrack "Wicked Witch of the East" for Nessarose. As detailed on the trope page, none of them are straight examples.
Villainous Breakdown: Elphaba's breaking point in "No Good Deed", thinking that her attempt to save Fiyero was in vain.
Villain with Good Publicity: The Wizard is adored by the citizens of Oz despite his role in the oppression of the perfectly innocent Animals and the lies he spread about himself and Elphaba.
The point of "Wonderful". Bonus points for quoting the "I Want" Song.
Elphaba offers Glinda a much less sinister version of this in the middle of "Defying Gravity".
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Unlike his book counterpart, the Wizard means well here, but is something of a bumbling oaf (albeit very accustomed to show business), and, depending on the play, is either easily manipulated by Madame Morrible, or was practically thrust into being the leader by the denizens of Oz, who wanted someone or something to blame and unite against. He cynically gave them one.
What Happened to the Mouse?: A major plot point is that animals are forced to stop speaking. At the end it is never mentioned if this Fantastic Racism has been wiped out or not. It doesn't look too good considering the cowardly Lion is the only Animal to speak in the movie.
However, the good part of the Bittersweet Ending is that Glinda is now in power and will most likely help the animals regain their rights.
Elphaba helps Doctor Dillamond escape in Act 2, followed by Fiyero and the guards entering. The scene continues and by the end on the show we never find out what became of Dillamond.
Whole Episode Flashback: The whole musical is a flashback, from Glinda's POV, to her and Elphaba's relationship. The first and last scenes, however, take place after the events of the original story.
Wicked Witch: While Elphaba has all the trappings of it, the best literal example of the trope is Madame Morrible.
Nessarose is also shown to be deserving of her title "The Wicked Witch of the East."
Wizarding School: To some extent, Shiz University-although sorcery is only one of the many subjects Shiz University students can pursue.
Woman in White: Glinda on the famous poster. However, Glinda never wears white as Glinda the Good, but rather when she is young schoolgirl Galinda.