Oz Citizen: Glinda, why does wickedness happen?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-user 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 Doctor 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.A film adaptation is slated for 2019.
Glinda: Well that's a good question, one that many find confusifying. Are people born wicked, or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?
Glinda: Well that's a good question, one that many find confusifying. Are people born wicked, or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?
The Musical contains examples of the following tropes
- Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: A small gag in "Popular" to fit a deliberately awkward rhyme:Galinda: And with an assist from me,
To be who you'll be,
Instead of dreary who-you-were (well, are)!
There's nothing that can stop you,
From becoming populer!... lar!
- Accidental Misnaming: Galinda can't remember Boq's name, so she calls him "Biq."Boq: Well, maybe, I could invite her!Galinda: Oh, Biq, really, you would do that for me?Boq: I would do anything for you, Miss Galinda.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Elphaba is younger and more beautiful◊ than the wicked witch that we're used to◊. When compared to the original Frank L. Baum books◊, Nessarose/The Wicked Witch of the East certainly qualifies as well.
- Adaptational Villainy: Just like in the novel, the Wizard is a major antagonist, quite different from his portrayal in the original stories, wherein he was a conman who used clever sleight of hand to gain prestige. He is, however, presented in a slightly more sympathetic fashion here than in the novel.
- Adaptation Distillation: This play takes the basics of the book of Wicked and removes most of the Darker and Edgier stuff.
- Elphaba during her years at Shiz.
- Boq, until he is turned into the Tin Man.
- Glinda. She's so quirky and ditzy, it's adorable.
- 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.
- All Musicals Are Adaptations
- Alpha Bitch: Young Galinda, prior to befriending Elphaba. Once they bond, she becomes kinder. There has been a researcher that considered Popular a deconstruction of this trope; the Alpha Bitch is declawed here and becomes less threatening.
- Alternate Universe: The story's entire premise, that the Wicked Witch of the West was actually a well-meaning but ineffective rebel against the speciesist policies of the Wizard who is her illegitimate father, cannot be reconciled with the original novels because the first Oz novel clearly stated that the Wicked Witch conquered the West before the Wizard ever arrived in Oz.
- 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. 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.
- Angry Mob Song: "March of the Witch Hunters".
- Anti-Love Song: "What Is This Feeling" is a cheery tune sung by the two protagonists in which they profess their "unadulterated loathing" for each other.
- Anti-Villain: Elphaba, Nessarose, the Wizard, and even Fiyero display aspects of this. The only clear-cut villain in the whole play is Madam Morrible.
- Arc Words:
- Replete with them. "I'm/We're/You're (un)limited" stands out. "(You/we) deserve each other" is also used quite frequently. "A celebration throughout Oz / That's all to do with (me/you)".
- The words "wicked" and "good" themselves.
- No one mourns the wicked.
- Bastard Angst: The reason for Elphaba's terrible home life: her father favors her younger siblings because he's pretty sure she isn't his daughter.
- Beautiful All Along: Elphaba, once she lets her hair down and takes off her glasses.
- 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.
- Big "NO!": Madame Morrible gets one once Glinda announces she is being arrested.
- Big Sister Instinct: Elphaba for Nessarose, big time.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Madame Morrible, at least until the second act, where she just becomes a bitch.
- 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.
- Brainless Beauty: Both Glinda and Fiyero start out as this, and retain some aspects of it even after a good bit of Character Development.
- Break the Cutie: Elphaba starts off as a wide-eyed, idealistic believer in the plans and abilities of The Wizard. The climax of Act I shows how the revelations of his fraudulent character cause Elphaba to start opposing him.
- Also for "No Good Deed", in which Elphaba decides to embrace her wickedness after she believes she was unable to save Fiyero.
- B.S.O.D. Song: "No Good Deed". Eden Espinosa's rendition of Elphaba in particular has Elphaba going off the rails, shouting rather than singing in parts.
- Burn the Witch!: "March of the Witch Hunters."
- 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.
- Call-and-Response Song: Certain segments of "What Is This Feeling?"
- 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.
- Catfight: Elphaba and Glinda get into one after arguing over Fiyero. When guards come to arrest Elphaba, they break the two apart, and Glinda complains that she almost had her.
- 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.
- Child of Two Worlds: Elphaba Thropp is word-for-word called this near the end of the show when it's discovered that while she was born in Oz to an Ozian mother, her biological father is the Wizard, who is from earth, which is why she great magical powers (her skin color was because of the green elixir her mom drank during the affair).
- 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.
- 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, using the position she inherits from her father to constrain Boq (and incidentally the rest of the Munchkins).
- 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 grimoire that ultimately turns him into the Scarecrow so it's unclear exactly how much/long Fiyero suffers from this attempt.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Galinda doesn't get why her history teacher keeps talking about the past.
- 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.
- Composite Character:
- The musical makes it so that Fiyero is also The Scarecrow, and Boq becomes The Tin Man. In all the source material (including both Baum's and Maguire's novels), they are four distinct and unrelated characters.
- Fiyero's initial characterisation as an Upper-Class Twit is actually far closer to the novel's characterisation of Avaric, Fiyero's roommate and best friend, than it is of Fiyero himself - who, in Maguire's original, was always quiet and thoughtful (not to mention covered in tribal tattoos). Avaric himself, always a minor character, is relegated in the musical to Fiyero's servant who appears only in his first scene and has barely any lines, not to mention a completely different role and personality from his book counterpart.
- Corpsing: Quite frequent during "Popular". Whoever is playing Elphaba will more than likely crack up at Galinda's antics. But either one is likely to lose it when the other does "Toss, toss!".
- Costume Porn: Galinda gets the fanciest dresses, but a majority of the costumes overall are highly detailed. Even Elphaba's dress in the second act is highly detailed, to give the appearance of being patchwork.
- Counterpoint Duet: The latter half of "What Is This Feeling," though there's more than two voices involved. 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".
- Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle: The German production changed the name of the city Shiz to "Glizz", since it sounds similar to the word "Schiss", which is a form of the German word "Scheiße", meaning "shit". Similarly, Boq became "Moq", since "Bock" is German for "billy goat."
- Cry Cute: Glinda's version of "I'm Not That Girl" can be seen as this in song form.
- Dark is Not Evil: Elphaba, who never truly does become a villain.
- Dark Magical Girl: Elphaba.
- Dark Reprise:
- "No One Mourns the Wicked" and the finale.
- "I'm Not That Girl", in which Elphaba mourns that she doesn't have a chance with Fiyero, gets a reprise from Glinda after Fiyero chooses Elphaba, though the reprise is not that march darker since the song wasn't very cheery to begin with.
- "A Sentimental Man", in which the Wizard talks about what he wants for himself and his subjects, has a dark reprise after he realizes the outcome of his actions.
- 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, NessaI've got something to confess
A reason why, well,
Why I asked you here tonight
Now, I know it isn't fair...
Nessa - Uh Nessa
- And then in "The Wicked Witch of the East"
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...
- The same songs used in the one above are used for Nessa's last part in the song. In the original bit, Nessa sings about being happy about being able to have a fun night with Boq at the Ozdust party. The second one is her singing about never wanting Boq to leave her and for Elphaba to save him so it won't happen.
- "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 an even darker reprise for the already fairly dark "No Good Deed".
No good deed goes unpunished
- The latter is a Sanity Slippage Song about Elphaba finally giving up on trying to be good:
No act of charity goes unresented!
No good deed goes unpunished
That's my new creed!
Wickedness must be punished
- The former is an Angry Mob Song about graphically hunting down and killing Elphaba:
Evil effectively eliminated!
Wickedness must be punished
Kill the witch!
- Deadpan Snarker: Elphaba is this right from the start, and gets even moreso as the story progresses.
- Delusions of Eloquence: G(a)linda and Madame Morrible (and, to a lesser extent, most Ozians).Congratulotions!Oh hallowed halls and vine-draped walls/the proudliest sight there is...
Poor Galinda, forced to resideWith someone so disgusticified
- During "What is This Feeling"
- Department of Redundancy Department: "Something has changed within me, something is not the same."
- Disney Death: Both Elphaba and Fiyero.
- Distant Duet: Elphaba and Glinda's final reprise of "For Good" at the end.
- Doting Parent: Frex to Nessarose and definitely not to Elphaba. It's hinted that Galinda's parents are this to her.
- Dramatic Irony:
- "I'd be so happy I could melt" from "The Wizard and I". And "When people see me, they will scream..." 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. Although, on this last one, she does admit that "True, the vision's hazy."
- Subverted by Fiyero's incredulous, "Did you hear that? Water will melt her? People are so empty-headed 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..
- Dropped A House On Her: Nessarose.
- Dumb Blonde:
- At first played straight with Glinda, but then downplayed significantly when she turns out to have Hidden Depths.
- Discussed by Elphaba in "What Is This Feeling." While Galinda gives a lengthy explanation of why she hates Elphaba in her own letter home, Elphaba sums up her loathing for Galinda in one word: Blonde.
- Dying Alone: Said as much in the opening ("And goodness knows, the wicked die alone...") about Elphaba.
- Eating Lunch Alone: 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.
- Emergency Transformation: Turns Boq into the Tin Man, and Fiyero into The Scarecrow.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Flying Monkeys. They play a significant role as part of Elphaba's motivation for turning against the Wizard. Chistery, the "leader" monkey, acts as Elphaba's assistant after she frees him and his kin from imprisonment.
- Everyone Went to School Together: Glinda even lampshades this in Act 2.
- 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.
- Exact Words: During the last conversation between Elphaba and Glinda, Elphaba receives news of Fiyero's fate, and tells Glinda that "we've seen his face for the last time". It is subsequently revealed that Fiyero is not dead, but was dramatically transformed by the spell Elphaba used to save him.
- Extreme Omni Goat: When she's trying to cheer up Dr. Dillamond, Elphaba offers to share her lunch with him. She eats the sandwich; he eats the paper it was wrapped in.
- Fantastic Racism:
- The persecution of talking Animals.
- 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.
- Foreshadowing: If you're familiar with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at all, many lines stand out."I'd be so happy I could...melt!"
- Friendless Background: Elphaba.Dr. Dillamond: Miss Elphaba, don't worry about me, go along and enjoy your friends.Elphaba: Oh, that's all right, I have no friends.
- Genghis Gambit: When Elphaba meets the architects of the oppression of the Animals, they explain that they're motivated by a belief that Oz needs something or someone to unite against. When Elphaba tries to go public with the truth, they arrange for Oz to unite against her.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Doubly subverted: When Galinda takes it upon herself to give Elphaba a makeover (in "Popular"), the first thing she does is remove Elphaba's glasses. The second thing she does is put them back on. All the same, Elphaba stops wearing glasses after that song.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Anything Elphaba does to do good.
- She saves the lion, but he grows up being a coward.
- She grants her sister Nessa the ability to walk, but Boq dumps her as soon as he realizes that she doesn't need him anymore, and she becomes the Wicked Witch of the East as a result.
- She saves Boq in time, but he automatically hates her for giving him his tin form.
- Granted, part of this is Nessa blatantly throwing Elphaba under the bus, as when she's fleeing the scene, Nessa is screaming that it's all her fault in some crazed attempt to push Boc's loathing off of her and onto Elphaba.
- She saves Fiyero before the guards kill him, but he's now at risk of burning up more easily.
- Gorgeous Garment Generation: Galinda tries to do this for Elphaba with her wand, but nothing happens (this was well before she learned any magic)."And now I shall transform your frock into a magnificent ballgown!"
- Hair Flip: "And this is how you toss your hair!" (Beat) "Toss-toss."
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Glinda vs. Elphaba in Munchkinland.
- 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 B.S.O.D.: "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.
- Heroic Bastard: Elphaba's birth was the result of an affair 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.
- Homosocial Heterosexuality: A rare female version between Elphaba and Glinda. The two are fighting over Fiyero but the situation is much more about their friendship than their love for Fiyero.
- "I Am Becoming" Song:
- "Defying Gravity". An I Am What I Am song, as she finally embraces her true nature as a witch.
- "No Good Deed" is this as well as a Sanity Slippage Song, and a Villain Song, as it is Elphaba's Villainous Breakdown because she believes Fiyero is dead and that she'll only ever cause harm to anything and everyone she even dares to care about.
- "I Am" Song: "Popular" and later "I'm Not that Girl" for G(a)linda, "Dancing Through Life" for Fiyero (before his Character Development), and "I'm Not That Girl" for Elphaba before Fiyero gets his Character Development and is Promoted to Love Interest.
- I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me:Elphaba: My wildest dreaming could not forsee
Lying beside you... with you wanting me...
- 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 grimoire to do just that. Say "hi" to our Tin Man.
- 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 supposed ugliness, simply because she's green. Even her best friend only calls her beuatiful after a gaudy "makeover", and her lover 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 or the book the musical adapted from, 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..."
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: The Clock of the Time Dragon is pretty awesome. It doesn't play a direct role in the story (it's mostly a Shout-Out to the book), but it has become an iconic feature of the production. The Time Dragon above the stage occasionally comes to life, flailing its head and wings around as smoke pours from its nostrils.
- Ironic Echo:
- "I hope you prove me wrong! I doubt you will!"
- "Everyone deserves a chance to fly!"
- "You deserve each other!" used maaany times:
- Used by Galinda in Dancing Through Life as she gives Elphaba her iconic hat, but also when she finds out Elphie's in love with Fiyero, and vice versa.
- Used by Nessa, in a song cut from the Cast Recording. "Alone and loveless here, with just the girl in the mirror. Just her and me, the Wicked Witch of the East...and we deserve each other."
- Nessa also uses this in Dancing through Life when she tells her about her feelings for Boq: Elphaba see?/We deserve each other.
- "I hope you're happy", used first in an argument that separates Elphaba and Galinda for years over their disapproval of each other's actions, and then as they wish each other well in the finale, knowing they will never see each other again.
- It Has Been an Honor: "For Good" is mostly this in its lyrics.
- "I Want" Song: "The Wizard and I".
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Fiyero tries to remain aloof and entirely self-centered and succeeds for a little while, but ultimately when the chips are down he fails.
- Glinda comes across as an airheaded bitch at first, but she gradually becomes a better person, and eventually drops the "Jerk" aspect entirely.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Elphaba's personal Villain Song, called No Good Deed plays this very straight before it becomes subverted.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
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.
- Nessarose goes from sweet, doting girl concerned about her sister to the Wicked Witch of the East who is responsible for turning Boq into the Tin Man out of murderous jealousy and heartbreak.
- Boq goes from an adorable, if slightly confused and naive, young Munchkin to the Tin Man, who's murderously vengeful and borderline psychotic.
- 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 or Alli Mauzey'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.
- Lighter and Softer: While it would be hard to get away with putting many of the book's events in a Broadway musical, these events are also important enough that omitting them would cause Adaptation Induced Plothole. The musical, rather than being an actual direct adaption of the book, takes the basic general premise and characters of the book and completely reworks the plot. This has the unfortunate consequence of making adults think the book is for kids, too.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: Most of the Animals in Oz interact with the human Ozians in a fairly normal way. That is, until the plot progresses and the Animals are rounded up and lose the ability to speak due to Fantastic Racism and Malicious Slander.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Galinda/Glinda, after a dose of character development
- 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, and Elphaba and Nessarose are sisters.
- Love Triangle: Elphaba/Fiyero/Glinda and Glinda/Boq/Nessarose.
- Love Makes You Crazy/Love Makes You Evil: Nessarose.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Somewhat inverted, only the father ever finds out (but he gets a good shock at the news).
- Lyrical Dissonance:
- "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!
- 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 meant to be happy about it, and we can see how sad Glinda is.
- "What is This Feeling?" is a happy, bouncy, upbeat song all about how much Galinda and Elphaba hate each other.
- Magic A Is Magic A: You can't undo one of the grimoire's spells once it's cast, you'll have to use a different spell that MIGHT get what you're after.
- Magical Gesture: Madame Morrible's weather magic appears to operate via these
- Magical Incantation: The spells of the grimoire.
- Magic Misfire: Nearly every spell from the grimoire. This is mostly because the grimoire tells you what the results of the spell is, but you don't know how it achieves it until you cast it.
- 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 stainThough they beat him, let him feel no painLet his bones never break, and however they try to destroy himLet him never die, let him never die!
- Also, when she casts the flight spell on the monkey, it grants him wings, but in an extremely painful manner.
- The Makeover: Glinda tries to give Elphaba one in "Popular", with mixed results.
- Malicious Slander: Both Elphaba and the Animals becomes victim to this thanks to the Wizard's Propaganda Machine.
- 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.
- Maternal Death? Blame the Child: In the musical. Mother dies giving birth to Nessarose. Father blames Elphaba, because if she hadn't been green, he wouldn't have had his wife consume a ton of stuff he superstitiously thought would make Nessarose white, but in reality it caused childbirth complications that left Nessa a cripple as well as killing the mother.
- Meaningful Echo: "It's not lying, it's... looking at things another way."
- Meaningful Name: Blur the pronunciation a bit, and there's not much difference between "Madam Morrible" and "Madam Horrible".
- The German translation gives her the name "Madame Akaber" which sounds like "Madame Makaber", where 'makaber' is German for 'macabre' which means ghoulish or ghastly.
- Midword Rhyme:
- In "A Sentimental Man":And helping you with your ascent al--lows me to feel so parental
- Frequently in "Defying Gravity":It's time to trydefy-ing gravity.
- In "Popular":Don't be offended by my frank analysisThink of it as personality dialysisNow that I've chosen to become a pal a sis-ter and adviser, there's nobody wiser
- In "A Sentimental Man":
- Mood Whiplash:
- The beginning of Act II. The people are singing about the terror spread by the Wicked Witch... and then Glinda distracts them with news of her (very public) engagement. It's a stellar propaganda job.
- The entire post-cyclone scene constantly bounds between hilarious and heartbreaking.
- The Movie: In Development Hell.
- According to producers of the musical, they're "waiting for the show's sales to taper off" before making a film.
- With the success of Les Miserables, it's been said now that the movie will happen "sooner rather than later".
- The idea of a movie has been floating around for so long with no follow up that Idina Menzel herself has commented half-jokingly that she and Kristen Chenoweth will either be too old to reprise their roles by the time a movie actually starts getting produced, or that the staff will have to resort to using CG to make them both look younger.
- As of March 2014 it's been officially confirmed that a Wicked movie really is in the works, but as of yet there are no staff members or actors attached to it.
- The Musical Musical: When Glinda and Elphaba visit the Emerald City in "One Short Day", they go to watch (and somewhat participate in) Wizomania.
- Mythology Gag:
- Not within the show itself, but several to The Wizard of Oz.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.
- The Wizard at one point tells Elphaba, "Where I'm from we believe all sorts of things that aren't true... we call it history." The Wizard made similar comments to the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion in the MGM movie.
- Not within the show itself, but several to The Wizard of Oz.
- Named by the Adaptation: Elphaba and Nessa are nameless in Baum's book and the MGM movie. They got their names in Maguire's 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.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: This is an ongoing feature of Elphaba's life story. So much so that the Villain Song accompanying her Heroic B.S.O.D. is called "No Good Deed."One question haunts and hurts -too much, too much to mention.Was I really seeking good?Or just seeking attention?Is that all good deeds arewhen looked at with an ice-cold eye?If that's all good deeds are,maybe that's the reason why -no good deed goes unpunished!
- No Sense of Direction: By her own admission, Glinda.
- Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: The Wicked Witch of the West was pretty damn misunderstood.
- Pair the Spares: Galinda attempts to do this, with disastrous results.
- Parental Favoritism: Nessarose is clearly preferred over Elphaba by their father.
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: Madame Morrible is fond of these.
- Politically Motivated Teacher: Doctor Dillamond is extremely passionate about his beliefs about the prejudice against talking animals in the school system and his fears about what is happening to them, fears which turn out to be correct.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Fiyero for Glinda, Boq for Nessarose. Jarring considering in the books none of these characters seemed to even speak to each other that often if at all.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Some fans are of the opinion that a direct translation of the book to the stage wouldn't have done nearly as well as the Lighter and Softer version.
- Propaganda Machine: First used by the Wizard and his mooks against the animals of Oz to convince the human citizens that the animals were causing trouble and were better kept caged up, where they would lose the ability to speak. Later used by both the Wizard and Madame Morrible in a smear campaign against Elphaba.
- Prophecy Twist:
- In-story, anyway. Elphaba sees that everyone in Oz will have a celebration "that's all to do...with me!" Everyone celebrates that the Wicked Witch is gone.
- From the same song, "I'll be so happy, I could melt!" and "When people see me, they will scream [for the Wizard and I]".
- Fiyero's "Maybe I'm brainless" in As Long As You're Mine as well.
- "Life's more painless/For the brainless."
- Puppet King: It's heavily implied that the Wizard is to Madame Morrible who acts as The Man Behind the Man (well woman in this case).
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Nessarose, for Boq. Resulting in an If I Can't Have You... that ends... well... strangely.
- Race Lift: Fiyero. He's described in the book as having dark skin, ochre colored skin, and said by another character "skin the color of shit." He's usually played by a white male in the musical, although there have been a few exceptions.
- Renamed the Same: Galinda changes her name to Glinda.
- Rich Bitch:
- Galinda, prior to Character Development.
- Nessarose, but only after Elphaba is declared the Wicked Witch. She has all of Munchkinland in slavery.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship
- Rouge Angles of Satin: An in-universe example with the "Congratulotions!" banner made by the Ozians to celebrate Glinda's engagement to Fiyero.
- Safety in Indifference: Fiyero uses a more positive version of this trope, cultivating his image as a Brainless Beauty as a way of avoiding commitment.Fiyero: "...Life is painless, for the brainless..." Dancing Through Life
- Satellite Love Interest: Subverted with Fiyero. He does play an active role in the plot, but it's mainly how he affects the two main characters of Elphaba and Glinda. Similarly, he actually does get Character Development and an arc as he outgrows his shallow prince persona and falls for Elphaba over Glinda. He also seems to have no bearing on what later becomes the wizard of Oz until it's clear he's the Scarecrow, which is a deviation from the novels.
- Say My Name: Leading into the song, "No Good Deed," as Fiyero is dragged off to be tortured, Elphaba cries, "FIYEROOOOOOO!"
- The Scapegoat: The Animals in Oz. Dr. Dillamond (who is 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. 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.
- 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.
- In Act II, when Glinda has become the Wizard's propaganda mouthpiece, she's wearing a powder-blue business suit and speaking into a old-fashioned microphone, making her look very much like Eva Perón.
- Show Stopper: "Defying Gravity" generally has this effect.
- Show Within a Show: The "Wizomania" musical in the Emerald City.
- 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.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Not nearly as cynical as the book.
- Smurfing: The citizens of Oz sure do love to use the word 'Oz' in every aspect of their language — from exclamations like "Sweet Oz!" and "What in Oz's name?", to using adjectives such as 'ozmopolitan'. The Wizard's guards respond to his commands with "Yes, Your Ozness!"
- Spared by the Adaptation:
- Elphaba and Fiyero only fake their deaths in the musical—they actually do die in the novel.
- Played with in regards to Madame Morrible; she doesn't die like she does in the novel, but she does get Laser-Guided Karma inflicted upon her by Glinda, who sends her to prison for all her misdeeds.
- Spoiled Brat: Galinda at the start, before Character Development. Nessarose, due to the Doting Parent Parental Favoritism of her father, straddles the line between this and Spoiled Sweet before firmly turning into a brat.
- Spoiled Sweet: What Glinda turns out to be. Nessarose has moments of this but ends up becoming a full on Spoiled Brat / Rich Bitch.
- Start of Darkness: For the Wicked Witch of the West
- As well as the Wicked Witch of the East's.
- Steam Punk: The set design, with its rusty gears and cast-iron trusses.
- Taken Up to Eleven in the Danish production, which vastly revamped the sets, and even the costumes, to contain even more steampunk elements than there already were.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Nessarose and Fiyero - or so we think.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: The opening song, "No One Mourns the Wicked," has this:Midwife and Father: I see a nose / I see a curl / It's a healthy, perfect, lovely, little...Father: (seeing that Elphaba is green) Sweet Oz!Mother: What is it? What's wrong?
- Suit-Up of Destiny: Elphaba gradually accumulates the elements of her Iconic Outfit over the course of the first act, with them all finally coming together just in time for the act finale, "Defying Gravity", when she foresakes her old life and commits to the course that will make her (in)famous.
- 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.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Elphaba declares this during "No Good Deed".
- The Power of Legacy: Inverted. Elphaba implores Glinda not to clear her name and instead let Oz remember her as the Wicked Witch of the West. Glinda acquiesces.
- Title Drop: Often at the beginning and end of the first act, and even more so in the second act.
- Token Minority: The Goat professor Doctor Dillamond is clearly this in-universe; it's even Lampshaded by him when he tells his class he's the "only Animal on the (Shiz U) faculty...the "token goat".
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Elphaba and Glinda.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Nessarose goes from shy girl who appreciates her sister to selfish dictator of Munchkinland.
- Torches and Pitchforks: During "March of the Witch Hunters".
- Transformation Trauma:
- 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.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "What is This Feeling?" has one in the middle of the final chorus.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: While she never truly does become an outright villain, the musical follows Elphaba's beginnings as a friendly, sensitive girl, and how she came to be known as the notorious Wicked Witch of the West.
- Villain Song: "Wonderful" for The Wizard, and "No Good Deed" for Elphaba. 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.
- We Can Rule Together:
- 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.
- What the Hell, Hero??
- At the start of "Defying Gravity," Elphaba and Glinda call out on their own respective ambitions but ultimately try to come to an understanding.
- Glinda briefly calls out on Elphaba, who's gone mad trying to get back her late sister's shoes, for subjecting Dorothy and Toto to her wrath.
- 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: No straight examples; there's at least one very wicked witch — perhaps more, depending how one judges Glinda's and Nessarose's actions — none of whom have any of the stereotypical trappings, and Elphaba of course has all the trappings without being wicked. As part of this, it's made clear that none of the trappings actually signify wicked witchiness in-story: the black dress and cloak are just a dress and a cloak, the worst anyone has to say about the pointy hat is that it's an unfashionable style and color, and the only reason she has a flying broom is that she needed something to levitate in a hurry and the broom happened to be what was lying around.
- 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.
- Written by the Winners: The wizard all but quotes this trope directly in "Wonderful", instead he says "Where I'm from we believe all sorts of things that aren't true... we call it history."A man's called a traitor
A rich man's a thief or philanthropist
Is one a crusader
Or ruthless invader?
It's all in which label
Is able to persist