The 2016 Wicked World Tour has landed in Dallas for a month, and the tale of two unlikely friends is enchanting new audiences across the Metroplex. Though the story has plenty of drama, romance and a lot of humor, the story at its core is much more than your typical Broadway trope.
The book on which the play is based was released in the early 90s, just when third wave feminism was at its highpoint. The story of a woman who challenges the status quo to do what’s right and is ostracized for it is a story we’ve heard countless times before, but it’s the relationship between the ambitious, outspoken and ostracized Elephaba and the preppy, optimistic and popular Glinda that makes this story so revolutionary.
The familiar stereotype that you can’t be beautiful and smart is a glaringly obvious theme, displayed through Elephaba’s green skin. Where Elephaba is smart and driven, Glinda is beautiful and dumb, but only because she thinks this is the only way to get what she wants. When she realizes that her popularity won’t allow her to achieve her life’s dream, to enroll in the sorcery seminar at Chiz Academy, she begins to realize that maybe being smart isn’t such a bad thing after all. At the same time, as Elephaba begins to know the real Glinda, she begins to understand that beauty and intelligence can come in many forms.
We women are sometimes our own worst enemy. We judge and leer and mock other women because we feel threatened, or we want to justify our own worth by demeaning theirs. This is the same problem the witches of Oz faced, but as their characters develop and they realize that they face the same adversaries of people who want to hold them back, they learn to understand and accept the other’s differences. This is a lesson that many women today could stand to learn.