Confessions of a Teenage Theater Geek: A "Wicked" good start

“Theater geek” is a term that usually carries a fairly negative connotation. People assume we’re all either nerds or hipsters who spontaneously burst into show tunes in four-part harmony and tweet angsty quotes from Les Mis. These are obviously complete fabrications.

Ok fine, maybe that last part has some truth to it.

Ok fine, maybe that last part has some truth to it.

No shame though. I wear that label like a proud sequin-studded badge of honor. This is why I’ve dedicated my whole summer to seeing as many Broadway shows as I possibly can and reviewing them all in this blog. Before I can begin my summer of a thousand musicals, I must first explain the origin of my geeky ways. My obsession with Broadway really began at the ripe age of ten when I saw a little show called Wicked.

Photo courtesy of carpenter.victoria@rocketmail.com/Flickr

Photo courtesy of [email protected]/Flickr

I was a tiny fifth-grader, walking with my right hand in my mom’s hand and my left in my grandma’s (who measures in at a whopping 4 feet 11 inches). Try to imagine how adorable that must have looked. You can’t.

I entered the lobby of the theater, my eyes darting every which way, trying to take in as many details as I could. This was my first real Broadway show and I had no idea what to expect. I had seen The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast when I was five, but I seem to have no memory of my life before age nine so those don’t really count.

From the first note of the overture, my life was immediately changed. I watched the flying monkeys swing over my head with complete awe. As Kristin Chenoweth hit her famous high notes, my mind soared. I had never heard harmonies so rich or seen dancers who could gracefully sweep across the stage as if the choreography was in their hearts since birth.

I remember one specific moment of that show so vividly: “Defying Gravity.” Even someone who has never seen a single musical in his or her life has probably heard this song at least once. If it didn’t give you chills, you probably don’t have a human soul.

When Elphaba soared above the stage on her broom as if by magic – her small green body engulfed by billowing black fabric – I instantly lost the ability to breathe. The song was utterly explosive. I did not blink once for fear of missing even one second of the most incredible performance I had ever witnessed. Then the lights went up and I began to panic. I didn’t understand the concept of an “Act 2” following the intermission, and I thought my journey through Oz had just ended forever.

gavel4To my relief, the show began again after a fifteen-minute break that seemed like an eternity. During the second act, I became so emotionally invested in the story that I sobbed uncontrollably at the end, draining every last bit of moisture from my body until I was a shriveled up shell of my former self. Since that day, I have never looked back.

Broadway is my life. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that I’m the go-to expert on all things theatrical. That is why I’m dedicating this summer to imparting some of my wisdom onto the rest of the world. You're welcome.

Check back every week for reviews and opinions on this season’s hottest new shows – with a few classics thrown in too, of course!

Wicked is currently playing on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre and touring nation-wide.

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