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Ratings and reviews for Wicked (2003 Original Broadway Cast)

Ratings and reviews for Wicked (2003 Original Broadway Cast)
based on 1000 rating(s)
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Price: $9.98 $8.03 (33% off)
Trade In Value: $0.75
Artist(s): Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth
Release Date: 12/16/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 12/16/2003
Binding: Audio CD
Format: Cast Recording
Region Code: 1
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Number of Discs: 1
Studio: Verve
Manufacturer: Verve
Product Group: Music
Genre: Soundtrack
Sales Rank: 208
Description: 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.
UPC: 060249861343

Reviews 1 to 10 of 1000
Pageof 100
amazon logo A modern musical masterpiece with two powerhouse leads.
Having just seen this a few weeks ago, "Wicked" blew me away. I wasn't expecting such a spectacular staging. Like any good Broadway musical, it taps into every emotion in the book, and with two masterful performances in the leads, the material is given every chance to shine. Even when the material is a tad weak.

The story, as the other 293 reviewers have stated, needs not to be reiterated. However, I was continually surprised at how clever and funny the whole thing was. It's ingenious, and like, oh, probably a million other persons, went out and bought the novel right away.

This recording is an excellent souvenir of the show. Like most excerpted cast albums, you're gonna miss a lot. Quite a bit happens between songs...


...the songs that floored me initially are all here. Idina Menzel is simply amazing. Having followed her career since "Rent" and her solo album, it's a joy to see other people finally discovering what the rest of us have known for quite some time.

Kristin Chenoweth is absolutely hysterical. Her phrasing and timing are impeccable. The two together are formidable...the closing "For Good" tugs at the heart strings both the first and the fiftieth time you hear it.

And yes, "The Wizard and I" and "Defying Gravity" are the two standouts, and rightly so. Yet I find the humor of "Popular" and "What is This Feeling" just as memorable.

I agree with one previous reviewer that the supposedly "weak" songs are only so out of context. Trust me...during the show, they're essential.

When you're dipping into this album for songs, yes you will skip to the big ones. But I implore you from time to time to "put the needle" at the beginning, and let it run. For this and many other musicals, it's an exhilarating experience.
310 of 326 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Absolute Classic !
I've had the opportunity to see this show twice (once with Idina Menzel & Kristin Chenoweth, the original witches) and it is truly powerful! The actors, music & sets are all terrific and the audiences are justifiably enthusiastic about this production!

"Avenue Q" was a fun show, but "Wicked" should have won the Best Musical Tony! In ten years, "Wicked" will likely remain on Broadway ... but will many remember "Avenue Q"?

Mr. Schwartz's score is filled with so many great songs, but standouts include:

The Wizard And I
What Is This Feeling
Popular [Chenoweth's big song]
I'm Not That Girl
Defying Gravity [Menzel's powerful end to Act I & the classic of the show]
As Long As You're Mine
For Good

Mr. Schwartz should have won for Best Score as these songs have real staying-power. At least he got the Grammy for Best Cast Album!

A truly great listen!!!
79 of 101 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Wickedly Unimaginative
Reviews of this production, currently playing in NYC, have been largely mixed- but nearly ALL of them have held the score itself in low regard. Truly, it was a wicked thing indeed to take such a darkly imaginative book and turn it into a banally scored, unflatteringly camp piece of musical theatre goo.

Unlike the scores of, say, Sondheim's playful fairytale `Into the Woods' or Lucy Simon's ethereal `The Secret Garden' this show has virtually NO musical texture or distinction. Those aforementioned shows have evocative, ambient melodies and atmospheres both whimsical and dark- `Wicked' has nothing like that to recommend.

Stephen Schwartz's highly pop score is as generic as they come despite the double-whammy duo of Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. Both ladies find moments in the score they more than claim as their own, but alas the musical material is too hopeless to service them very well at all. Sometimes, 'Wicked' even veers into the kind of self-parody one finds in spoofs on `The Simpsons' or `Family Guy'.

You have to wonder if the end result can be chalked up to producer interference; this is a classic case of dumbing down source material to make it more assessable to the general public... not unlike what Hollywood has been doing to most of its literary adaptations for years.

But the combination of Chenoweth and Menzel with this very hot property will probably assure that `Wicked' will be a hit despite its obvious lack of charms.

28 of 84 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Ughhhh
I never reviewed this cast recording before? Hmm, guess I didn't think it was worth my time. Seriously. Wicked does absolutely NOTHING for me. There are like eight songs that I listened to it more than once (though Defying Gravity finds itself on my playlist quite often)

Wicked is basically a mess of mediocre and so-generic-it-hurts showtunes. Every song in it reminds me of another (better) song from another musical. The most obvious of these would be all of the Wizard's songs. Every song he sing reminds me of Amos Hart from "Chicago." I'm almost beginning to think that Amos IS the Wizard! I can't even listen to the Wizard's songs because, not only are they boring and insipid (at least "Chicago" had the jazziness to get by), they are BLATANT RIPOFFS.

When it isn't stealing songs from other shows, "Wicked" is filling the obligatory song cues. None of the songs feature any characterization whatsoever. If you took out all of the crazy Oz references, you could insert the songs into any situation and it would be dandy. There is one that tries its hardest, Dancing Through Life, but it is so dumb that it hurts. The worst offender is the love song, As Long as You're Mine, which was completely random.

A lot of the songs just plain don't belong in the show. I already mentioned the love song, but there is also "For Good" which I agree DOES seem to want to be like "Who Will Love Me As I Am?" from "Side Show." A lot of Glinda's songs were really unnecessary too. It's like Schwartz had a checklist of what types of songs he needed in the show, and just went down the line. Here's the thing, Schwartz, you of all people should know that musicals have to show story and character through song. "Wicked" doesn't do this.

Its songs aren't the only failure. The whole storyline is absolutely awful. If you watch "The Wizard of Oz" and keep "Wicked" in mind, you will realize how little the plots go together. Have they even seen the movie? Another thing I found dumb was the whole romance with Fyero. Umm... okay, Elphaba is an intelligent girl who has had difficulties from day one. Why in the heck would she fall in love with a guy who has it incredibly easy and doesn't even bother with any effort? It's like Homer Simpson and Frank Grimes! Okay, so say Fiyero's changed... there is absolutely NO indication of that whatsoever.

My other problem with "Wicked" is that it really doesn't show why Elphaba turned evil. There is one song that attempts to delve into her psyche (No Good Deed); when isn't that supposed to be the whole point of the show? And that song has a pretty poor excuse. She goes from being this incredibly good, well-intentioned girl to this evil chick who sets her supposed-lover on fire (watch the movie!) It's too drastic for me, and one song isn't enough to explain that. Also, in their attempt to round out a 2-d villain, they just created another: the Wizard. Now I think I need to write a book/musical explaining why the Wizard's this evil tyrant!

"Wicked" is insanely popular and is kind of like the new "RENT" (another horribly overrated show.) It seems to try really hard to appeal to teenage girls, which is probably why it's so popular. But its portrayal of social problems like that is about as deep as a bad teen movie. There was nothing REMOTELY likable about Glinda, even when she befriended Elphaba. I think that the writers went out of their way to make Elphaba the only decent character in the whole thing. It's incredibly unrealistic, and I'm not referring to the whole munchkins and talking animals.

Don't get me wrong, Schwartz has done some fine work. I love "Godspell" and I even like his Disney soundtracks (though "Pocahontas" was a little preachy.) But when I saw his whining about how he didn't get the Tony, I just shook my head because I'd finally gotten around to listening to "Avenue Q," and there is absolutely no question about why that did so well. There have been arguable injustices with the Tony's in the past ("Lion King" winning over "Ragtime,"; even this year's Spamalot winning over "The Light in the Piazza") but that is not one of them.

In short, there are better shows out there. I'd advise saving your money until you find one.
23 of 80 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo I HATED This Show
I saw this show on Broadway shortly after its opening in November. The considerably talented cast, direction, and special effects were ruined by a weak score and a terrible book. The show basically had everything going for itself except the show itself. Stephen Schwartz's score is so boring, chuck full of power ballads that "sound pretty" and subsequently bored the HELL out of me. During intermission, I said to a friend "If there is ONE MORE POWER BALLAD I AM GOING TO KILL MYSELF." The book writer couldn't come up with any original jokes so she just made lame references to the movie. One or two would have been cute but since they were made consistenly throuought the show, it just made me hate it even more. Kristen Chenoweth was hysterically funny, however, and stole the show with her hilarious antics. Everyone else in the show was also wonderful. But the plan fact is, the show was terribly written. I hated this play. Hated hated hated hated hated this play. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it. I hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated this play. If you go see this and you hate it, don't say I didn't warn you.
15 of 77 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo OH MY GOD
This musical is awful. I hate it. I cannot begin to describe how much I hated it. I hated it when I saw it on Broadway. Yes, Kristen was great, but the authors of the show RAPED the book, which had a dark sort of wonderfulness to it and turned it into a FEEL GOOD HULLABALOO. AND WHAT IS UP WITH ALL THOSE POWER BALLADS? THIS ISN'T "CELINE DION--LIVE IN CONCERT!" Or "The Frank Wildhorn Birthday Celebration." If I WANTED power ballads I would go see Les Miserables, a book which was also RAPED by its authors into a bland, meaningless mess of pop songs and POWER BALLADS. I HATED THIS SHOW! There are so few good musicals nowadays. This just further proves my point. I think if we're going to make musicals, they might as well show real life characters and allow us to embrace our problems rather than pat eachother on the back and say "It's alright. There, there. It's all better now." Who wants to be lied to? I don't. And the advertisements for "Wicked" are LYING to you. We've already seen this musical several times over....The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz, et cetera. The only possible way to enjoy this show is if you get severely inebriated before hand, then sit in the first row right side of the balcony, and throw spitballs at the monkeys as they fly out in front of you.
9 of 72 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo 4 Stars because of Stars Menzel and Chenoweth
Wicked the Musical is loosely based on the wildly imaginative novel by Gregory Maguire, on how Dorothy's Wicked Witch of the West became "Wicked." I'm not going to try and compare and contrast the two because they are almost two seperate entities on their own. But I am going to focus on the musical, music and songs, and performance deliveries.

I have had the priveldge of seeing Wicked live at the Gershwin Theatre New York, and had a wonderful experience. Wicked is a grand and glorious Broadway Musical in every sense of the word. Huge, amazing sets; awe-inducing costumes and special effects, but it does, however lack the strong music to back it up.

I am a fan of Stephen Schwartz who writes great music for shows like Pippin, Godspell, Children of Eden, The Baker's Wife, and such films as Disney's Pocahontas, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Schwartz has a real knack for writing 3-5 amazing songs and the rest become mediocre, and this is definitely the case for Wicked. You might recall Schwartz gave the world such wonderful songs as "Corner of the Sky" "Meadowlark" "Colors of the Wind" among countless others. He has now given us Wicked's apointed Anthem, "Defying Gravity", "The Wizard and I" "I'm Not That Girl" "As Long As You're Mine" and "For Good." These are obviosuly the best songs of the show and you might agree as well. While these songs are good, they still can't hold the show up to the calibur of other Broadway greats. I'm wondering what the show would sound like if Schwartz wasn't afraid to take risks, or if it was composed by Sondheim, or even Robert Brown.

Anyhow, the main things that keep these songs from defying downfall are the amazing lead actors. Menzel (Now the Tony Ward winner for her protrayal of Elphaba) has the powerhouse voice (which she displayed in RENT, and Lippa's WILD PARTY) that can make any song sound great, while Chenoweth's impecable comic timing can have you roaring with laughter and appreciation at her comedic brilliance. Chenoweth's live performance was nothing short of amazing. Her comic timing really is a force to be reckoned with, while Menzel's big a brassy belt and subdued meek performance was endearing. Norbert's voice lends a helping hand to the sultry, "As Long As You're Mine" while Joel Grey has two forgettable songs.

Wicked is a shown to be seen, heard and experienced. Yes, the Broadway Cast Album does, indeed have some wonderful moments, but all in all there are many things missing from this. Perhaps it's the upbeat rock and roll/operatic style to the music that leaves us confused, but none the less, the story of Elphaba and Galinda lives on, just not as great a life as one had hoped it would be.

43 of 60 people found this review helpful.
A 5 star review means the BEST. Sorry, this musical doesn't even come close. When you're throwing 5 star ratings around, you're throwing them in the direction of My Fair Lady, South Pacific, Phantom of the Opera, Oklahoma, Hello Dolly, and many musical scores more. Who do all these 5 star raters think they're trying to kid! They must all be members of the cast.

If this musical is noted for anything, it's for the most un-memorable music I've ever heard in a Broadway musical. It's lucky to get a 1 star from me.
12 of 60 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Terrible Show
This show is horrible. The music is substandard. The story is moronic. How it can appeal to anyone over the age of 10 is beyond me. Turn your brain off before turning this CD on. It's a disgrace to the talents of Menzel and Chenoweth. It's an embrassment to Joel Grey. It sounds like a bad version of all the rest of Schwartz's shows. And it completely bastardizes the source material by Gregory Maguire. If you like the book WICKED this show will offend your sensibilities. If you have an appriciation for well written shows, this WICKED will offend your sensibilities. Don't waste your time or money on this CD or the tacky and childish show is represents.
12 of 56 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Want a different opinion?
Saying you hate this musical is like saying you eat babies for breakfast. But I saw it this weekend, and hated it, and so did 5 of my friends. Pass the babies.

Every song--EVERY song--sounds the freakin' same. The Wizard's number starts out as a softshoe, but then changes its mind and goes back to schmaltzy pop. Glinda's "Popular" also starts well, but then falls apart (and several published reviews will confirm this). The rest of the soundtrack is the same old jumble of cookie-cutter musical theatre that we all know so well, with little variation between styles. They had so much leeway here--they're not bound by any specific time period or theme--so why make everything come out sounding like a Jazzercise class?

Quite aside from the music, the lyrics often don't make sense. Several of the characters are radically different from the versions we are familiar with (the Tin Man is capable of hate? What?). The songs do absolutely nothing to advance the plot (which moves at a snail's pace), or to develop characters. They're just tedious time-outs on a very long yellow brick road, and will have you checking your program compulsively to see how much more of this you have to sit through.

If you thought Phantom was genius, well....this is the musical for you. But if you like genuine writing talent and creativity, look elsewhere.
12 of 55 people found this review helpful.

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