Favorite Stephen Schwartz Musical

There are a number of famous composers and lyricists in musical theatre. One of which is Stephen Schwartz, who is most famous for Godspell, Pippin, and Wicked. Those three are musicals I love. Now, which of his musicals is my favorite?

Wicked

This was obvious. I have loved Wicked since August 2006- my first visit being at The Gershwin Theater. That was also my first memory of seeing a musical; my mom and I in NYC seeing Wicked. At the time, “Popular” would become my favorite song from the musical. That is all I can remember. The musical developed a LOT over the years- emotions deepened due to stronger understanding of characters and stories. The other four times I saw Wicked were by the US Tour.

My 5th Time

Wicked was how I started to understand emotional connection. It was how I started to understand the emotional and complex side of musicals. I also started to understand love triangles. I only am emotionally connected to three characters in this musical- Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero. True, each time I see Wicked, I only pay attention to the powerful and beautiful friendship and the complex and strong love triangle. By the way, Elphaba is my favorite musical character and the love triangle in Wicked is my favorite of musical theatre. Wicked is a spectacular musical- feels Ozian in every way. One of my top two favorite musicals.

What is your favorite Stephen Schwartz musical?

Favorite Love Triangles in the Musical Theatre World

Romance does show up in two forms in musicals. Either they show up through an individual couple or happen by a love triangle. A love triangle forms when three people are involved—-so someone gets unrequited love, a heartbreaking situation to end up in. Some of those love triangles are weak whiles others are strong. So, what are some of my favorite love triangles?

MAJOR SPOILERS

Phantom-Christine-Raoul

This love triangle in found in the musical, Phantom of the Opera. It actually is the prime focus of the musical. Christine and Raoul are the couple while The Phantom has the unrequited love. The Phantom responds poorly to unrequited love- acts in revenge and doesn’t accept it. At least Raoul treats Christine better- they deserve to be together.

It is a mysterious and angelic love triangle. “All I Ask of You” is one of the most beautiful love songs in musical theatre.

Eponine-Marius-Cosette

This trio is found in Les Misérables, and one of my favorite subplots. Marius and Cosette are such an adorable couple and bring hope to the story—-by the way, Marius is actually my favorite survivor in Les Mis. Cosette is supposed to represent hope and light, and Marius is kind, compassionate, and loving. By the way, he is a good friend to Eponine and is worried about (I think that was why he sent her away from the barricade and why he asked why she came back).

Eponine is meant to have the unrequited love, and Marius is the light of her life. She has one of the BEST stories of unrequited love in musical theatre. The way she responds to it is incredible- she accepts it, and risks her life several times for Marius. That explains why she even goes to the barricades- to make sure he is safe- she doesn’t mind sacrificing her life her him. True, her death is heartbreaking in more ways than one- first she is dying and he is devastated, but at least she is happy due to being in the arms of Marius (“A Little Fall of Rain” is such a touching and moving scene).

Elphaba-Fiyero-Glinda

These three make up my favorite love triangle, which is found in Wicked. First, it is the first one I emotionally bonded to—meaning I first became aware of the concept due to it. Second- my favorite musical theatre character is a part of it. Third- the level of complexity it is. Of ALL love triangles in musical theatre I have come across, Wicked has the most complex one.

Explain the unrequited love situation——-not easy to do. Elphaba originally has unrequited love for Fiyero (“I’m Not That Girl”). But there were clues prior to the scene that maybe Fiyero has a crush on her- look carefully at the Lion Cub Scene and the scenes that follow “I’m Not That Girl”. This love triangle seems to develop in the same way the characters do- the love triangle truly matures when the characters do. In act II, there is an unrequited love switch- now Glinda is dealing with it (“I’m Not That Girl (Reprise)”).

In my opinion, the love triangle strengthens the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. How far will they go to keep friendship alive. Look how they BOTH responded to unrequited love—–they didn’t try to steal Fiyero away. So they wouldn’t let a boy get in between them. So, it really tests their loyalty if you think about it.

Wicked- 2006 to 2021

It is amazing to think of a musical’s journey in your life. Wicked really has changed a lot throughout the years. What is crazy to think is that is has always been the same story, characters, and songs.

The pictures below are from 2006 and 2013, as in the first and third time I saw the musical. During the first two times I saw the musicals, I was able to understand emotional connection along with the emotional and complex side to musicals. Wicked was also the musical where I first picked up on the concept of love triangle. During those two times- there were four core emotions: excitement, love, joy, and sad.

Then during the second and third time, I knew there were still answers to discover about the love triangle- I thought the only thing I still didn’t understand was the plot twist. During high school, there came a point where sad just stopped developing. So sad wasn’t able to turn into heartbreak in the musical theatre world. I knew which characters in the musical I was most connected to- Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero. I also knew that each time I saw Wicked, I discovered new things about them.

It was the 4th time when Wicked really went through some unexpected changes- as in between the 3rd and 4th time and while watching it. Due to Les Mis entering my life, I was able to pick up on the emotion of heartbreak. “On My Own” was key to helping me realize “I’m Not That Girl” was heartbreaking- after all both are unrequited love songs. So there there were still two things I needed to learn about the love triangle- the heartbreaking nature of “I’m Not That Girl” and the plot twist. By this point, I already knew a LOT about Elphaba- the caring, strong, courageous, and determined character.

Something really took me off guard during the 4th time- new emotions existed that I never felt. “No Good Deed” was emotionless since 2006, but when I saw the musical in 2016 with my university, I finally felt emotions- anger and frustration. I even understood the plot twist better- Fiyero had a crush on Elphaba since Shiz- after all, his interactions with Elphaba during the Lion Cub scene and the fact that he couldn’t stop thinking about the scene. What my actor did was brilliant- Ashley Parker Angel decided to have stronger chemistry with Elphaba but weaker chemistry with Glinda. I even saw a new characteristic in Elphaba- talkative.

What happened this 5th time? Like usual, I teared up during “I’m Not That Girl” and “For Good”. But, did I discover anything new. Well, I picked up on Elphaba’s love for Fiyero sooner during the Lion Cub Scene- they still were being a bit playful despite arguing a bit. Actually two characters mentioned “will you let anyone else talk?” to Elphaba. Well, I saw more signs helping foreshadow that plot twist- both Elphaba and Fiyero couldn’t stop thinking about the Lion Cub scene, and Fiyero is the one who looked the hardest for Elphaba (makes sense if you love her). Fiyero is a character who seems to develop the most in speaking scenes, and is hard to understand.

Changed For Good

It’s hard to believe that the first time I saw Wicked was fifteen years ago. Now, fifteen years ago, I saw the musical for the 5th time.

The Cast

Elphaba (Standby)- Natalia Vivino

Glinda- Allison Bailey

Fiyero- Jordan Litz

Boq (Understudy)- Matt Densky

Nessarose- Amanda Fallon Smith

Madmae Morrible- Sharon Sachs

The Wizard- Clevant Derracks

My Review

This was Charlotte’s first tour since musicals closed during the pandemic. It felt so good to be back in one of Blumenthal’s theaters. Just like fifteen years ago, this was a date with my mom. I had two understudies- one for Elphaba and the other for Boq. The actors I usually look forward to the most belong to those who play Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero, the only three characters I am emotionally connected to in Wicked.

Natalia Vivino was an amazing Elphaba. Like expected, I teared-up during “I’m Not That Girl, the unrequited love song. She has an amazing voice, which truly started to show during “Wizard and I”. My favorite Elphaba costume is her act II dress and from where I was sitting, I could see it sparkle at times. The Lion Cub Scene- this time around, Elphaba noticed her love for Fiyero a few moments sooner than last time.

Allison Bailey was funny as Glinda. Like any Elphaba and Glinda pair, I was able to be in tears during “For Good”. Just at times, in act II she struggled with some of Glinda’s pain she was supposed to be showing. But at least, I was able to feel the emotion came out during “For Good”, the most emotional song in the song. Jordan Litz as Fiyero was incredible as well- incredible voice.

Below are pictures from the time I saw Wicked in NYC and now- so its like things came full circle.

The ensemble was really talented. The set, as always, was very colorful and OZian and same with the costumes. Still love Wicked- still a spectacular musical!

The Meaning of Wicked

There are always those musicals that hold a lot of meaning in our lives. Wicked is a musical that really does mean a lot to me. Hard to believe I first fell in love with it fifteen years ago. So, what does the musical mean to me?

Discovery

There are a number of things I learned from the musical. I first found out about emotional connection through Wicked. I learned about its importance. You need that connection to have a reason to feel the emotions. The emotional connection in Wicked happens through Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero (especially Elphaba). I love the friendship and love triangle the most in this musical.

Also through the musical, I learned about the emotional and complex side to musicals. Four core emotions were existing- excitement, joy, love, and sad (as in the ones I discovered through Wicked. I learned what it meant for a character and plot to be complex. As the musical says “I have been changed for good”. Seen it four times already and later today catching it a 5th time. Each time I see the musical, it just gets better. Basically, Wicked sparked my love for musicals.