WICKED The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz

By Stephen Schwarz
(Godspell, Pippin, Children of Eden, The Hunchback of
Notre Dame)
The citizens of Oz celebrate the death of the Wicked Witch of
the West as Glinda descends in a floating bubble. She recalls that
the green-skinned Elphaba, who would become the "Wicked"
Witch, was conceived during an affair between Munchkin
Governor's wife and a mysterious stranger with a bottle of
green elixir. Everyone was repulsed by Elphaba from the
moment she was born, and so Glinda asks the Ozians to
empathize ("No One Mourns the Wicked") with her side of the
story. The remainder of the plot forms an extended flashback
through the events of Glinda's and Elphaba's lives.
At Shiz University, the pair first meet amongst students reuniting
with their friends ("Dear Old Shiz"). Elphaba is hardly surprised
that all the students, including the popular but shallow Galinda,
revile her. Elphaba was sent to Shiz to take care of her beautiful,
wheelchair-bound younger sister Nessarose, who is presented
with a bejeweled pair of Silver Shoes, being their father's
Despite Elphaba and Galinda's instant mutual loathing, Madame
Morrible, Shiz's headmistress, makes them roommates. Galinda
has been excluded from the Sorcery Seminar, but when Elphaba
betrays an innate magical talent in sudden anger, Morrible notes
that her talents may be of use to the Wizard of Oz. Elphaba
dreams of what she and the Wizard could accomplish together
("The Wizard and I").
Galinda and Elphaba later write home about their unfortunate
room-mate assignments ("What is this Feeling?"). The students
gather in a history class taught by Doctor Dillamond, a Goat
and Shiz's only Animal professor, who keeps mispronouncing
Galinda's name as "Glinda". Doctor Dillamond confides in
Elphaba that something is causing the Animals of Oz to lose
their powers of speech ("Something Bad"). Elphaba believes
that the Wizard is the only one who can help.
Fiyero, a Winkie prince, then arrives at Shiz and impresses his
cavalier and carefree living on the students ("Dancing Through
Life"). Besotted with Galinda, a Munchkin named Boq asks her
to accompany him to a party, but having felt "perfect together"
with Fiyero, Glinda asks him to invite Nessarose instead.
Nessarose, not realising Galinda's real motives, is delighted, and
tells Elphaba that she wishes she could repay Galinda.
Later, Galinda discovers a black pointed hat and gives it to
Elphaba as a mock present. Elphaba, remembering how happy
Galinda had made Nessarose (and not realising that she had
ulterior motives), asks Madame Morrible to reconsider Galinda
in her Sorcery Seminar, in return. When, however, Elphaba
arrives at the party wearing the hat, she is only ridiculed. Defiant
and unfazed, she proceeds to dance alone. Feeling guilty,
Galinda joins her, marking the start of their friendship.
Meanwhile, Boq convinces Nessarose that it was not pity
that prompted him to ask her out, but the fact that she is
"so beautiful", not realizing the full extent of Nessarose's
affections towards him.
 Elphaba tells Galinda that her father hates her, for good
reason. When her mother became pregnant again, she had
been fed milk-flowers to prevent her second child from
being born green-skinned; the milk-flowers instead caused
Nessarose to be born prematurely, which left her crippled
whilst her mother died in childbirth. Feeling sympathetic,
Galinda decides to give Elphaba a personality makeover,
making her admirable to fellow students ("Popular").
The next day, Doctor Dillamond is arrested. The new
history teacher arrives with a caged lion cub as the subject
of an in-class experiment, revealing that Animals are to be
kept in a new invention he has created, called a cage, the
benefit of which is that Animals raised in them will not
have the power of speech. He reveals that soon all Animals
will be turned dumb, and Elphaba is outraged.
 She and Fiyero steal the cub and set it free, and as Elphaba
begins to discover romantic feelings towards Fiyero, she
personally reaffirms that she "wasn't born" to be loved
("I'm Not that Girl"). Madame Morrible finds her,
announcing that Elphaba has been granted an audience
with the Wizard in the Emerald City.
At the train station, Galinda, Fiyero, Nessarose and Boq
see Elphaba off, all happy for her accomplishment. When
it becomes apparent that Boq is not genuinely interested in
Nessarose, Galinda feels guilty and suggests that Boq is not
the right person for Nessarose, who in turn insists that it is
herself "that's not right."
 Elphaba expresses concern about leaving her younger
sister, but a protesting Nessarose insists she will manage
without her and leaves. In an attempt to impress Fiyero,
Galinda announces that she will change her name to
"Glinda" in honor of Doctor Dillamond's persistent
mispronunciation. Fiyero fails to notice and leaves. Glinda
breaks into tears. Feeling badly for Glinda, Elphaba invites
her along to see the Wizard.
After a day of bonding and sightseeing in the Emerald City ("One Short
Day"), Elphaba and Glinda meet the Wizard. Eschewing the special effects he
employs for the benefit of most visitors, he invites Elphaba to join him ("A
Sentimental Man"). In testing Elphaba's true talents, the Wizard asks Elphaba
to perform a levitation spell on his monkey servant, Chistery, using the
Grimmerie – an ancient book of spells. Madame Morrible delivers the book to
Elphaba. Elphaba demonstrates an intrinsic understanding of the lost language
in the book, and successfully gives Chistery wings. However, Elphaba can see
that he seems to be in pain and demands that they show her how to reverse the
Unfortunately, Morrible tells Elphaba "spells are irreversible". The Wizard
then reveals a cage full of winged monkeys, proving the extent of Elphaba's
powers. He makes the comment that they will make perfect spies. Elphaba
now realizes that they have been behind the troubles in Oz all along. It was he
who robbed the animals of their speech and created the cages. Elphaba is
shocked that her once-admired hero is actually a criminal and a fraud. The
Wizard wants Elphaba to join him in "creating a really good enemy" for the
Ozians using her powers.
Elphaba grabs the Grimmerie and runs off and Glinda runs after her.
Realizing that she may know too much about his plans, the Wizard
sends Morrible and his guards after Elphaba and Glinda. They finally
reach the attic where Elphaba uses a broom to barricade the door.
Morrible's voice is then heard outside a nearby window, warning all of
Oz of this "Wicked Witch" and her horrible deed to the innocent
monkeys. Elphaba and Glinda now must choose which path their lives
will take.
Ultimately, Glinda chooses to take a life living with the Wizard and
becoming a public figure within Oz. Elphaba, however, decides to use
her newly learned powers of levitation to fly away from the palace,
against the Wizard and do what she believes is right. Using the
Grimmerie, she places a spell on the broom (with which she
barricaded the door). Elphaba tries to persuade Glinda to join her but
she refuses. Elphaba understands and calmly accepts her friend's
choice and they wish each other the best before Elphaba flies away
from the palace guards when they break into the attic. But this public
act of defiance convinces the Ozians of her true wickedness forever.
("Defying Gravity").

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