WICKED, STARRING KRISTIN CHENOWETH, IDINA MENZEL AND JOEL GREY. Decca Broadway proudly presents the original cast recording of WICKED, Broadway's most talked about new musical. The box office is already over $10 Million! With a score by Stephen Schwartz (Broadway's Pippin, Godspell), libretto by Winnie Holzman (TV's My So-Called Life) and based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire, the musical is a prequel to the legendary classic, THE WIZARD OF OZ. WICKED explores the early life of the witches of Oz: Glinda and Elphaba. One witch, born with emerald green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. WICKED stars Tony Award® winner Kristin Chenoweth (You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown) as Glinda, Idina Menzel (Rent) as Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Tony® and Oscar® Winner Joel Grey (Cabaret) as The Wizard. The Original Cast Recording -- featuring an essay by Wicked novelist Gregory Maguire, original color photos from the show and a complete libretto.
One of the most common complaints about musicals is that the books are flimsy pretexts from which to hang numbers. Wicked runs into the opposite problem: it has a great plot, but too often the songs just get in the way. Based on Gregory Maguire's novel of the same name, Wicked tells us what happened between Glinda the Good and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, before Dorothy showed up in Oz. And the show is lucky to boast a pair of ace leading women in the main roles. As Glinda, Kristin Chenoweth delivers a sensational star turn, displaying a crystal-pure voice and sharp comic timing; Idina Menzel lends her powerful pipes to the tricky role of Elphaba. Unfortunately, you wish they had better material to work with. Stephen Schwartz's pop score is often dragged down by overly synthetic orchestrations and sentimental lyrics (think Chicken Soup for the Witch). Still, at its best Wicked is a seductive slice of popular entertainment that could well give a younger audience a lasting taste for musical theater. --Elisabeth Vincentelli