Posted by: grimmerie | 14 August 2008

You’ve got to love Youtube

More videos from other school/amateur productions of Wicked.

This next one isn’t a full production, but a very impressive talent show performance. The girl who plays Elphaba gave me goosebumps.

The Grimmerie, in its origins, is a book that has exists in Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and in said book lies various spells and incantations that Elphaba adds to her magical repertoire.

Outside of the novel (by that, I mean in the real world), the Grimmerie is a beautiful hardbound book that looks as the production of Broadway musical Wicked, featuring plenty of information, gorgeous artwork and photographs, making it the must-have for any Wicked fan.

Interspersed throughout the book are divider pages where a line or lyric from the Broadway musical is placed together with a piece of artwork from L. Frank Baum’s original Oz books. It’s a wonderful juxtaposition, bringing together the old with the new, but unfortunately they missed something pretty crucial for the following page, which has Galinda’s line: “You know black is this year’s pink!”

Glinda?

Glinda?

I think they might want to have double-checked exactly which character illustration it was before using it.

Post title is from “Ozma of Oz”.

Posted by: grimmerie | 16 July 2008

See you in the movies!

News has just hit that a movie adaptation of Wicked is currently in the works. I can’t say I’m surprised, what with the recent influx of stage-to-screen musicals including Hairspray, Mamma Mia! and Sweeney Todd. Adaptations are a delicate process and for every hit there is a miss, but the industry is in a positive place right now and that will surely help.

Winnie Holzman, who wrote the book for the musical version, is currently slated to write the movie’s screenplay, which means that a great deal of the musical’s sensibilities will be brought to the big screen. That’s fine, because the musical in its current form is the one that became an international phenomenon. What I’m looking forward to are the changes that will be made from stage to screen, because now Holzman has the advantage of hindsight and knows what the audience responds well to, and what it doesn’t.

The casting would be an interesting challenge, because they could either go the route of Mamma Mia! and Sweeney Todd and cast famous people, or Hairspray and cast a mix of names and unknowns, or Rent and The Producers and bring back some of the original cast. Kristin Chenoweth is a somewhat famous enough name that she might get to play Glinda again, as is Idina Menzel thanks to Enchanted, but are they young enough to play the roles convincingly? I doubt Norbert Leo Butz will get play Fiyero, and I predict someone akin to James Marsden will get the role instead.

Whatever the issue with casting, I have only one wish.

Change the ending.

I know it’s too much to ask that they address all the problems I have with the show, but I will breathe a tad easier if they pay some respect to those who love and cherish the original Oz books and the MGM film.

For the love of L. Frank Baum, change the ending.

Posted by: grimmerie | 21 May 2008

Oh, my paws and whiskers!

Wikipedia’s article on Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West says that “Gregory Maguire has stated that there will be a movie, but not for four to five years, and it will be based on the musical.” Unfortunately, the statement is not cited, so there’s no verifying it’s accuracy or timeframe, so it may come to naught.

Eden Espinosa Eden Espinosa Eden Espinosa

Posted by: grimmerie | 3 April 2008

Round and round we go…

There’ll be a new British Elphaba on West End, Alexia Khadime, can’t wait to see how the audience will respond to her. But what I really want to see will be the response Broadway audiences will have towards a British Elphaba, i.e. show-stopper Kerry Ellis, whom I adore. Will they make Kerry adopt an American accent, or will they leave her be?

Another delightful discovery is the following Witches of Oz montage, which has excellent footage of the behind-the-scenes as well as the final production.

Posted by: grimmerie | 1 February 2008

Deja vu, Delta Nu!

I thought Cempaka Schools was brazen with their marketing campaign for “Witches of Oz”. As it turns out, that’s absolutely nothing compared to the broad strokes of Philipine school St. Luke’s “Legally Blonde: The Musical”.

The school’s website is HERE.

The original website is HERE.

At least Cempaka Schools had a dose of originality in their campaign. On the whole both schools appear to use a similar modus operandi, including the open distribution of the shows’ song mp3s for the students to freely download. Admittedly, this makes me sad. Where’s the support for the original material?

Posted by: grimmerie | 28 January 2008

That’s why we have a wizard

Following up from previously, the leading ladies have arrived at Shiz University and been unwittingly paired together as roommates.

WhatIsThisFeeling01 WhatIsThisFeeling02

The pair sing their first duet, “What is This Feeling?”, a dedication to how much they don’t like each other. As in the professional version, each girl stands on opposite ends of the stage, where they eye the other girl suspiciously.

WhatIsThisFeeling03

It’s hate at first sight as the girls see only the exterior of the other. Galinda is blonde and glamorously perky, while Elphaba is hardworking and passionate. I’m sure both girls in this case ham up the fun and amusing number as hard as they can.

WhatIsThisFeeling04

Of course, Galinda has the advantage of being a favourite among her peers, and quickly gains minions who declare that they hate Elphaba as well. I particularly like the costumes they’ve put together for the Shiz students, dark green (irony!), though of course the two leading ladies wear whatever they want.

WhatIsThisFeeling05

As in the case of these kinds of songs, it ends with a pose, here Elphaba poised to the sky and Galinda adorably preening. In the background, students roll in the next set expertly to timing.

SomethingBad1

What follows is a class with Dr. Dillamond, a goat. The disturbing graffiti is the first hint that something is terribly wrong in Oz. (Unfortunately this plotline isn’t expanded on much in the musical, though I doubt many people notice by the end.) The make-up for Dr. Dillamond in “Witches of Oz” doesn’t cover the full face, unlike the professional version which does, but this is a logical choice since the audience (and likely, the student’s parents and friends) would want to see his face.

SomethingBad2

Elphaba bonds with Dr. Dillamond, who voices his concern. Animals all over Oz are losing the ability to speak, and no one knows why. A different type of prejudice is filling the land, and the two discuss it in the short song “Something Bad”. Elphaba optimistically states that they ought to tell the Wizard about it, because who else would be able to help?

Post title from “Something Bad”, Wicked: the musical.
Posted by: grimmerie | 22 January 2008

The Natasha Hudson Incident

Ada sebuah pokok langsat
Tiada berbuah
Kecuali si rambutan perak
Dan si mangga emas
Suatu hari puteri raja
Datang jumpa ku
Saja nak jengok
Si pokok langsatku

That was my contribution for the Do The Hudson movement that’s going around the local blog community. Local celebrity Natasha Hudson recently pushed a book of Malay poetry (as reported in The Star HERE) containing material she’d supposedly written as a teenager. Then it came to light that at least three pieces in the book are beat-for-beat translations of previously published English poetry, merely repackaged for the local market, making Natasha’s creative contribution nothing more than the ability to move between two local languages, something the vast majority here can do as well.

The origin of the above poem before I gave it the Hudson treatment is the Mother Goose rhyme:

I had a little nut tree
Nothing would it bear
But a silver nutmeg
And a golden pear
One day the king’s daughter
Came to visit me
All but to see
My little nut tree

Theft of creative property runs rampant and though this incident occurred on a small scale and did not actively hurt anyone, the sheer gall of Natasha to repackage someone else’s work and claim it as her own is but an insult to artists everywhere who devote love and effort into their product, fully aware of the difficulty there is in creating something new and exciting in this day and age, when we are saturated by centuries of others’ creativity.

Adding further concern to the local status and attitudes in this matter is that in some of the blogs (prominently HERE and HERE) are comments by those who believe that either Natasha innocently came up with the poetry on her own, or that the above bloggers should let the matter drop. Natasha coming up with all three pieces independently is possible but highly unlikely, and as anyone who has been faced by unforgiving scholars can attest to, one poem would have been damning evidence in itself, let alone three.

As for whether Natasha should be left alone, I disagree. When a naughty child does something they’re not supposed to do, an adult who knows better has the responsibility to make sure that said child learn that what they did was wrong, understand why it was wrong, and be aware that they cannot continue doing it. This is a fundamental truth, because it’s more hurtful to the child if they don’t learn, and grow up ignorant of what’s right and what’s wrong.

I’m sure Natasha is embarrassed at being called out, but here’s her chance to prove that she is a mature, responsible adult capable of recognising an error.

Posted by: grimmerie | 19 January 2008

So I’ll make good

Continuing from the first picture post, the setting is now at Shiz University, a “long time ago”.

Shiz01

A young Elphaba makes her entrance for us, the audience, and for the people at Shiz University. Elphaba is a fresh-faced hopeful young thing, excited to be there for all the promise and potential it holds for the future. Oh, Elphaba. The projection backdrop of “Witches of Oz” switches to what looks like a castle landscape to depict the university. Unlike the professional version, this Elphaba has short hair and doesn’t wear spectacles.

Shiz02

But Elphaba is not there alone. Here we meet her younger wheelchair-bound sister, Nessarose. Sending off the two sisters is their widowed father, who has helpfully added grey streaks in his hair to indicate the passing of time. What’s obvious from this little exchange is that Elphaba’s father still hasn’t forgiven her for being born with green skin, and openly pays more affection towards Nessarose. He also gives Nessarose a pair of very familiar slippers which, I assume looking at the above photo, is in a shoebox on Nessarose’s lap.

Shiz03

The lady in the spectacular red dress is Madame Morrible, the headmistress of Shiz. In a move that isn’t from the professional musical, “Witches of Oz” has glitzed up Madame Morrible into this amazing glamorous figure. Seriously, that dress is gorgeous. Also arriving at Shiz is Galinda of Upland, who’s also excited to be able to join the school. She immediately gets minions (see the girls in the jackets) who fawn all over her like she’s the Queen Bee.

Shiz04

Now, in the professional version, there is a brief sequence where Madame Morrible tries to wheel Nessarose away, which upsets Elphaba as she is supposed to take care of her sister. Elphaba reacts by causing the Nessarose’s wheelchair to spin magically, and it’s the first reveal we see of Elphaba’s powers. I don’t know whether that little bit was included in “Witches of Oz” since it isn’t shown in any of the pictures.

Shiz05

In a surprising move, Madame Morrible declares that she won’t take Galinda as a magic student, but she will take Elphaba, because of her potential. Galinda is upset at not getting her way for once.

WizardAndI01

But Elphaba is thrilled, because this is the chance that she’s been waiting for, along with the offered possibility of one day meeting The Wizard of Oz. Excellent facial expressions by both girls in this scene.

WizardAndI02

This is followed by Elphaba’s first song, and a rousing solo number filled with wide-eyed hope and innocence, “The Wizard and I”. Elphaba declares to the whole of Oz her hopes for the future, in which she can work side by side with The Wizard of Oz, whom she kinda maybe hopes will be able to “degreenify” her. It’s an amazing number, and I’m sure the photos don’t go this girl justice. The story continues here.

Post title from “The Wizard and I”, Wicked: The Musical.

Posted by: grimmerie | 18 January 2008

Hey, there’s another one

If you’re going to have an unauthorised staging of the musical “Wicked”, and do not want to get caught, the first step towards getting your show off the ground is to rename the show. “Witches of Oz” was but one example.

How about doing what Cabot School did, and just call it “OZ”?

More video clips HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. (Update on August 01, 2008: All these videos except the last one have been removed.)

Points for originality in remixing the music and camping it up the wazoo.

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