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YMMV / Wicked

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For the books, see here.

Tropes applying to the musical:

  • Accidental Aesop: Two wrongs don't make a right, and don't involve innocent people within your petty feuds. Glinda is rightly furious at Elphaba for eloping with Fiyero behind her back, but it was her fault that the magic shoes end up on Dorothy's feet. When Elphaba confronts her for stealing shoes from a dead woman and her own sister, Glinda obliviously says, "they're just shoes!" and tries to justify it as revenge for Elphaba taking Fiyero. She realizes her mistake when Elphaba kidnaps Dorothy and is close to murdering her to get the shoes back — Glinda stuck them tightly with magic so Dorothy, who would be more than happy to surrender the shoes, can't get them off. Glinda doesn't exactly apologize, but she tells Elphaba that killing an innocent girl isn't like "Elphie" at all.
  • Accidental Innuendo: From "As Long As You're Mine": "If it turns out it's over too fast..." To the point where we're not sure it was accidental.
  • Actor Shipping: Thanks to the high amount of Homoerotic Subtext in the script, supplemented by their professed adoration of each other in interviews, many fans have shipped original Elphie and Glinda actress Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. Ironically, these rumours probably are matched only by the rumours that the two hated each other. The latter are Jossed and largely never heard of anymore. Both have confirmed they are friends.
  • Adaptation Displacement: Part of why fans of the book are so nervous about a movie version of the musical being made is that it will further cement into peoples minds that this is the official Wicked story, and people will continue to forget about and ignore the books.
  • Adorkable:
    • Elphaba in the first act of the musical. Oh, she's got a biting tongue alright, but she's also socially awkward and her attempts to interact with people, as well as her mannerisms when excited, come off as rather endearing.
    • Fiyero shows shades of this. Mostly once he starts falling in love with Elphaba. Even moreso in the book, where he's shyer and more soft-spoken.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Once you take in the Word of God that Glinda was in love with Elphaba, it puts quite a few scenes in a new light.
  • Award Snub: It lost the Best Musical Tony to Avenue Q, which didn't have as much longevitynote . Of course, while Wicked has undoubtedly eclipsed Avenue Q commercially, the Tony winner was far more acclaimed.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: More like Big Lipped Alligator Object. The Clock of the Time Dragon, which played an important role in the book, is completely cut from The Musical with the exception of its unexplained presence above the stage. All it does is look scary while audiences try to figure out what the hell it's supposed to be, then freak them out by coming to life at seemingly random intervals.
  • Broken Base: Which Elphaba is the best? Safe to say that the fandom is heavily divided on the subject.
  • Canon Defilement: Just like Wicked the book is to the original movie and Oz novels, so is this in turn to that book. Some don't like it while others prefer the changes.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Given all the times Fiyero makes explicit mentions of himself or others being brainless it's not much of a shock that he becomes The Scarecrow, especially since we already see the origins of Dorothy's other two companions by the time this is made clear.
  • Critical Dissonance: The musical received a lukewarm reception at best from critics, but has since gone on to become one of the most successful and beloved productions by theatergoers.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: "What Is This Feeling?", which has the added benefit of having lyrics that make it sound exactly like a Silly Love Song, except for the fact that it's about two people absolutely hating each other.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: "Popular" is about how Galinda plans to make Elphaba popular. Well Elphaba certainly became popular to fans of the play.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Thanks to Idina Menzel's later role as the voice of Queen Elsa in Frozen, quite a lot of things about Elphaba suddenly seem even more interesting.
      • In Wicked, Elphaba is a misunderstood older sibling, has magical powers, has a dramatic "I Am Becoming" Song ("Defying Gravity"), and stars alongside a blonde-haired actress whose first name is Kristin. In Frozen, Queen Elsa is a misunderstood older sibling, has magical powers, has a dramatic "I Am Becoming" Song ("Let it Go"), and starring alongside a blonde-haired actress whose first name is Kristen. Coincidence? Well, maybe, but that doesn't stop it from being both hilarious and awesome.
      • It's not just Idina Menzel, but also applies to Caissie Levy, the first actress to play Elsa in the Broadway musical adaptation, and Caroline Bowman, who originated the role of Elsa on the North American tour. Incidentally, Patti Murin, who plays Anna, was Glinda in the first national tour of Wicked.
      • When Glinda confronts Elphaba near the end and says "I mean they're just shoes... let it go!". Try to hear that now without mentally playing "Let It Go" in your head. In fact, Savannah Stevenson at one point sang a few seconds of "Let It Go" during that scene. It certainly helps bring some levity to an otherwise quite sad scene.
      • One part of "No Good Deed" goes, Is that all good deeds are/When looked at with an ice-cold eye.
      • Although definitely the more popular show, it lost the Best Musical Tony to Avenue Q... At least over a decade later, Idina Menzel ended up working with the composers of Avenue Q on Frozen, which has a hugely popular song that is what "Defying Gravity" has been for Wicked (and won Best Original Song at the Oscars to boot).
      • In "What Is This Feeling?", Elphaba pins Galinda's personality down to one word: "Blonde". What is Elsa? A blonde.
    • The German-language productions deliver some gems.
      • Fiyero swings into the scene on a vine in a cornfield. Two years prior to assuming the role for Wicked Oberhausen, Anton Zetterholm originated the titular role in Tarzan the musical in Hamburg. His predecessor in Wicked Stuttgart (2008), Mark Seibert, also auditioned for the role of Tarzan and lost.
      • Willemijn Verkaik (incidentally, the Dutch and German voice for Elsa, and has played Elphaba in the English, German, and Dutch-language productions) made her premiere as Elphaba alongside Mark Seibert's Fiyero in Stuttgart. Her last show in Oberhausen was played with Anton Zetterholm as Fiyero.
      • The German-language, and European in general, theatre scene is tiny, leading to Fiyeros going on to play either Elphabas' lover or son in Elisabeth. Just using the actors named above: Mark Seibert went on to play Death, and Anton Zetterholm Rudolf, opposite Roberta Valentini's Sisi. Willemijn Verkaik did play Sisi, but only in Switzerland.
  • Hollywood Homely: Green skin paint is far from enough to make most Elphaba actresses look bad. Even beyond the skin paint, the makeup for Elphaba plays this straight. In Act I, when Elphaba is a dowdy student, her face is made up to look plain and severe — the equivalent of "no-makeup makeup" on a normal skin tone. In Act II, her makeup is noticeably more glam.
  • Hype Backlash: Despite its enormous success, many have come out calling it underwhelming and cliche. The show has also been pointed to as a negative influence on the future of musical theatre, with it being argued it popularized the emphasis on belting over more intricate character driven songs, as well as the over reliance on making stories out of famous IPs rather than more original works.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • An ultimate subversion with Nessarose when Elphaba finally casts a spell allowing her to walk again, when she becomes an outright Ungrateful Bitch.
    • The Wizard, who never had a family and was never really loved on Earth, and just wants to make up for that in Oz, only for it to cost him an actual chance at a family, namely with his daughter Elphaba.
  • LGBT Fanbase: Elphaba and Glinda have both become lesbian/bisexual icons due to their subtext-heavy relationship. Even the official Twitter for the play gets in on it during Pride Month.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The Wizard in the musical adaptation serves as a figurehead and icon for the people of Oz. Being a genuinely paternal figure to Oz, he tries to unite them by presenting them with an enemy. He begins robbing the sentient animals of Oz of their voices and their sentience. When his to-be protege, the magical Elphaba, challenges him on what he does, he declares her an enemy of the state, and when she returns, nearly convinces her to join him again, explaining that his lies are for the good of his people. Using his charisma and resources, he convinces Dorothy and her party to kill Elphaba. With Elphaba driven out and forced to fake her own death, The Wizard finds himself successful, only to leave Oz upon realizing that, in fact, Elphaba was his own daughter.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • In the musical, Morrible crosses it by sending the cyclone after Nessarose.
    • Meanwhile, Nessarose crosses it by ripping out Boq's heart in an attempt to gain his love. She then crosses it further by acting like an Ungrateful Bastard when Elphaba manages to save him.
    • As for Boq, it's his riding out to kill "the witch" when he knows very well that if not for Elphaba he would be dead. His reaction is a stark contrast to Fiyero's gratitude, where he thanks Elphaba.
    • Subverted when Elphaba decides to no longer try to be good and captures Dorothy, intent on reclaiming her sister's shoes. Glinda arrives to talk her down, which buys enough time for Elphaba to get Fiyero's message.
  • Narm Charm: By themselves, the song's lyrics are rather cheesy, but in the context of the story, combined with the amazing vocals and score, not to mention the performance itself, they manage to become Awesome Music.
  • One True Threesome: In the musical, things would never have turned into quite the tragedy it did if only Elphaba/Fiyero/Glinda had been a thing. There's enough subtext on all ends for someone to make a case for it too.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • For a small but very vocal portion of the fanbase, Idina Menzel is the only Elphaba. The rest of us understand the need for replacements, due to the fact that the show's been running for a decade and counting as of this entry, and Idina's career is expanding.
    • Made especially ironic when a Carrie Underwood clip show was put on YouTube...set to Idina Menzel's studio recording of "Defying Gravity." The comments page exploded with Idina fans' rage over a mainstream singer covering the song. As with all musicals, everyone will have their favorite portrayal of a given character.
    • Some of Idina Menzel's successors in the role have their rabid, overly-defensive fans as well. Let's just say "Who's the best Elphaba?" is about as dangerous a question as "Mike or Joel?".
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: It exists within the book fandom but it's more common in the musical fandom. Gelphie (Glinda/Elphaba) vs Fiyeraba (Fiyero/Elphaba) is the most common by far.
  • Signature Song: "Defying Gravity."
  • Spiritual Adaptation: While there will be a forthcoming film adaptation of the book and the musical that will eventually be released, there have been at least three movies made by Disney in 2013 that some strong parallels to the story no less:
    • Maleficent is basically Wicked with the titular character and the Moors Kingdom as stand-ins for Elpehba and the Land of Oz.
    • Oz the Great and Powerful, just like Wicked, is also an origin story for an important character in the Oz mythos, in this case Oscar Diggs, though we do see the birth of the Wicked Witch of the West.
    • Frozen (2013) is a big-budget Animated Adaptation of Wicked with even Idina Menzel starring as an emotionally conflicted sorceress who lives alone in a castle.
  • Squick: As explained in the Stephen Schwartz biography book, Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz from Godspell to Wicked, in the song "For Good," the line "You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart" was originally written as "footprint on my heart" but changed because it was felt that the former would be this. His wife, Carole, was the first person he presented the song too and she said "It's just icky, it's like someone stepping on my heart."
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Elphaba apologizing to Nessarose's corpse and sobbing.
    • "As Long As You're Mine", especially considering what happens immediately after.
    • Pretty much everything in the finale qualifies: "For Good", the melting scene, Chistery's first time speaking, the Wizard finding out he was Elphaba's father, and the ending.
    • Kristin Chenoweth's last "For Good" is even sadder than most — she authentically breaks down. Her entire last performance basically consists of her voice breaking with every line.
    • The realization that Fiyero likely jumped into that cornfield not intending to come out alive.
  • Tear Dryer: The ending leads to the inevitable. Elphaba is melted after being doused by a bucket of water thrown by Dorothy. As Glinda sobs over the death of her best friend, the "Scarecrow" stumbles onto the scene, opens up a trap-door, and a very much alive Elphaba pops up and is reunited with Fiyero.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: While the two leading ladies both get a big showcase, it's been noted by some that their supporting cast are sidelined with fairly thankless roles.
    • Perhaps the worst case of this is The Wizard. His character is actually pretty interesting, what with his kind hearted nature causing him to do evil. Unfortunately, he's mostly Out of Focus throughout the show. And then there's his final scene, where he learns he's Elphaba's father, and mournfully allows himself to be exiled. On paper this sounds like a huge moment, but the sparse dialogue and use of music makes the moment fly by making this major development feel quite rushed.
  • Writer Cop Out: Somewhat. In the book, as in the original movie, Elphaba dies after Dorothy throws water on her. Apparently wanting a more family-friendly ending for the musical, it turns out that she was Faking the Dead. However, as mentioned on the main page, it's still a Bittersweet Ending in that she and Fiyero can never return to Oz nor tell Glinda that they're alive and well.