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The School News Site of Bonner Springs High School

The Pow Wow

The School News Site of Bonner Springs High School

The Pow Wow

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 8: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates after defeating the Washington Huskies 34-13 in the 2024 CFP National Championship game at NRG Stadium on January 8, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
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Wicked and The Wizard of Oz – Plot Comparison

Image+Credit%3A+Playbill.com
Image Credit: Playbill.com

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for both The Wizard of Oz and Wicked.

 

In honor of Bonner Springs High School’s production of the Wizard of Oz this past weekend, I’m going to compare the plot of the original musical to Wicked, a Broadway musical that shows a different side of the story.

The Wizard of Oz, the beloved 1939 classic starring Judy Garland, was based on the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum that came out in 1900. This story has had dozens of spin-offs and adaptations, including other movies, cartoons, TV shows, Broadway musicals, and more.

One of the most famous of these adaptations is Wicked, the award-winning 2003 Broadway musical originally starring Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenowith. This musical has been running for over 20 years now and has been nominated for over 10 Tony awards.

Most people know the story of The Wizard of Oz. It follows a young girl from Kansas, Dorothy Gale, who finds herself transported to a land called Oz. There, she meets new friends and has to defeat the Wicked Witch of the West. It’s a simple story with a happy ending.

Wicked, on the other hand, is not as well-known to people who aren’t musical theater fans. The show takes a different angle, telling the untold story of the Wicked Witch of the West. The musical is based on the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, written in 1995 by Gregory Maguire.

The story of Wicked portrays the Wicked Witch as a misunderstood girl named Elphaba. While The Wizard of Oz shows the Wicked Witch and Glinda the Good Witch as cut-and-dry villain and hero characters, Wicked gives them both more depth and backstory.

In Wicked, Elphaba isn’t a villain at the start. She’s a girl who had a somewhat troubled childhood with ambitions of meeting The Wizard of Oz and becoming someone great. She meets Galinda – later changed to just Glinda – and they immediately dislike each other. Over the course of the musical, Elphaba realizes the Wizard isn’t all he claims to be, learns about herself, and forms a strong friendship with Glinda.

Wicked follows a pretty different plot than The Wizard of Oz, but there is still a connection to the original movie. About halfway through the musical, there is a mention of Dorothy’s arrival in Oz. She’s never shown on stage, but it’s clear that’s who is being talked about.

Just like in The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West’s sister is the Wicked Witch of the East. In Wicked, however, her name is Nessarose – shortened to Nessa. In both musicals, Dorothy’s house lands on top of her, killing her. While in the Wizard of Oz this is a triumphant, positive moment, in Wicked it’s the opposite. Viewers have grown attached to Elphaba and Nessa at this point in the musical, so it’s easy to feel Elphaba’s pain.

There are a few other little nods to the original movie throughout, but there’s not another big one until the end. In both stories, Dorothy kills the Wicked Witch by throwing a bucket of water on her. In Wicked, however, it’s revealed shortly after that Elphaba faked her death and was still alive. She now has to live her life in secret under the pretense that she is dead.

The ending of Wicked is bittersweet. Glinda has to lie to all of Oz about the death of her friend, knowing privately that she can never see her again. It’s definitely a different story than The Wizard of Oz, but it paints the characters as more than just black and white and makes you think about the original story in a whole new way.

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About the Contributor
Lyra Thompson, Writer
Lyra Thompson is 17 years old and a senior at Bonner Springs High School. She's had a passion for writing from a very young age and wants to be a fiction author and journalist in the future. In school, Lyra is involved in Scholar's Bowl, National Honors Society, FCA, and Academic Decathlon. Outside of school, she works at Cookie Co. in Lenexa. In her free time, Lyra loves to read, sing, play video games and board games, and watch TV.

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