April 7, 2009

Wicked- The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked?

Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West—a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.


Lizzy Caplan as Elphaba Thropp- The misunderstood green-skinned girl who grows up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West. She's very smart, but she is self-conscious about her condition and is mostly unsocial. She isn't slow to speak her mind, especially when someone says or does something she doesn't agree with. She has a particular interest in Animal rights.

Kristen Storms as Galinda Arduennas - Galinda is destined to become Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Though originally snobbish and superficial, she is also intelligent enough to be accepted to Shiz University's Crage Hall, where she is forced to share a room with Elphaba. After a long period of mutual loathing, the two girls become close friends.

Kieran Culkin as Boq- Boq is a Munchkin who attends Shiz University with Elphaba and Galinda. He is a childhood playmate of Elphaba's, though Elphaba doesn't really remember him. He is infatuated with Galinda and has the confidence to approach her and attempts to convince her to allow him to woo her. He is short, but not as short as Munchkins depicted in the Wizard of Oz movie. It is stated that only the farming Munchkinlanders are small like the characters in the film.

Kuno Becker as Fiyero Tiggular- He is a Vinkus prince who attends Shiz University. It is noted that he has dark skin and is covered in blue diamond-shaped tattoos. At first, he feels out of place with Elphaba's circle of friends, but he grows to enjoy their company. He has a castle that Elphaba visits in the second half of the book.

Jessica Szahr as Nessarose Thropp- "The Wicked Witch of the East" is Elphaba's younger sister. She has a normal skin-tone, but she was born without arms. Elphaba is very devoted to her and has been very instrumental in raising her. She has a very religious inclination and often pauses whatever she is doing to pray. Because of her lack of arms, she has a difficult time with her balance and must have help whenever she walks. She is described as being dainty and very beautiful, despite her condition.

Gary Oldman as The Wizard- a tyrannical ruler who uses deceit and trickery to hide his own shortcomings. He is a human who came to Oz via a hot air balloon. He is the villian of the story, overthrowing the previous rulers and establishing himself as Emperor. He has a personal army, called the Gale Force, that enforces his will on the citizen's of Oz. He also declares that all Animals (animals who can talk and think) are little better than normal animals and should be treated as such.

Miriam Margayles as Madame Morrible- The headmistress of Shiz University's Crage Hall, which Elphaba and Galinda attend. Elphaba and her friends suspect Morrible to be responsible for the murder of Dr. Dillamond. At one point, she proposes that Elphaba, Galinda, and Nessarose become future behind-the-scenes rulers in Oz, a proposal that they never willingly accept. Elphaba suspects that Madame Morrible has at least some magical powers, and may have indeed controlled thefates of the three women. NOTE: I did not know this when I cast her, but Miriam played MM in the musical! The picture is her in character for MM.

Giovanni Ribisi as Frexspar- Elphaba, Nessarose, and Shell's father. Frex is a devout Unionist priest. Nessarose was his favorite child, partly because of her devout inclinations and to her he gave the famous jeweled slippers. He believes that Elphaba's green-skin is his fault because he said "the devil is coming" on her birthday and this opened up a pathway for her to be possessed by demons.

Lynn Collins as Malena Thropp- Elphaba, Nessarose, and Shell's mother. Melena comes from a high-class family, and has mostly pagan traditions, which contradicts Frex's beliefs. She has very loose morals and dreams of her days as a pampered girl, despite her rebelling against it at the time. She indulges in drink and narcotics to escape the boring life she has found herself in.

Ellen Burstyn as Nanny- A member of the Thropp family, though whether by blood or employment is never explicitly revealed. By the conclusion of the book, she has raised three generations of the Thropps, most notably having acted as chaperone to Nessarose, Elphaba and Glinda during their years at Shiz. She is still vital well into her eighties. Her attitude reflects this, as she is stoic, speaks her mind, and holds to somewhat inflammatory 'Lurlinistic' pagan beliefs.

Gil Birmingham as Turtle Heart- A wandering glassblower from Quadling County. He comes upon Melena's home while Frex is out preaching. Melena and Turtle Heart have an extended affair. It is mentioned he was killed at Colwen Grounds, on the day of Nessarose's birth, as a human sacrifice to bring rain to Munchkinland. His death is what convinces Frex and Melena to travel to Quadling Country to convert people to Unionism.

Jake T. Austin as Liir- A boy who leaves the mauntery with Elphaba for the Vinkus. It is strongly implied that Liir is the son of Elphaba. She does indeed admit that there is a year of her life she does not remember, during which she could have given birth to Liir. At the end of Wicked it is stated that he intends to find a way of rescuing Nor , one of his playmates at Fiyero's castle, from her slavery imposed by the Wizard.

Ryan Newman as Dorothy Gale- A 12 year-old girl who lands in Oz in her tornado-propelled house, which crushes Nessarose. She takes Nessarose's shoes under the advice of Glinda. Many see these shoes as a symbol of power over Munchkinland. During her travels, many citizens of Oz are superstitious about her because of these shoes and her name: Her first name sounds like a reversal of the name of the "king" of her land (Theodore Roosevelt). Because her name means "Goddess of Gifts" (the opposite of Theodore , "Gift of God"), it is implied that Dorothy may be the second-coming of Lurline, the pagan Goddess of Oz. The Gale Force fear her for her last name. The Wizard sends Dorothy to kill Elphaba, but Dorothy's intention is to ask her for forgiveness for killing Nessarose.

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