Thursday, November 27, 2008

Do you feel Wicked?


I am still recovering. I have always enjoyed theater, especially musicals, but with three kids and a limited budget, I do not have the opportunity to attend as often as I would like. So when my husband said, "Screw the budget!" we decided to spend $400 and get tickets for the whole family. Pretty good seats, too - lower orchestra, left side. Nice.

Now I must say that I have been changed for the better. The storyline was well conceived, the characters well developed (as a literary type, I really liked the author's ideas of the how and why of certain characters we meet in The Wizard of Oz), the music intoxicating, the singing beyond this world. I knew I would like it; I didn't expect to fall in love with it. It truly deserves all the credit it receives.

However, we didn't really attend because I wanted to see it. We went because last year at this time it was in San Diego at the same time we were, and the girls (age 6 and 8) went ballistic over it. We didn't have the money to even consider going, so the girls received a Wicked cd for Christmas and we called it good. But that wasn't good enough for them. My youngest sang along with that disc all day, and my older daughter made up a dance to "Defying Gravity" (her favorite song). In fact, it was that scene from the TV commercials that first attracted her interest. They LOVED Wicked, and they had not even seen it.

Fast forward one year later, and we learned that Wicked is in its final run at the Pantages Theater in LA. It will be gone next month. So, busting the budget, we go, fight traffic for almost 3 hours to go 60 miles, and arrive in Hollywood, home of the Pantages Theater.

To begin, Sophie was enthralled with Hollywood (she has decided she wants to move there when she is older and become a singing teacher). The girls were dressed to the nines and soaking in the whole theater atmostphere as we arrived. We took our seats and the show started shortly after.

While I went and enjoyed it thoroughly, my reaction was not necessarily the best part of the evening. Two minutes into the musical, she had a relevation, "This is like the Wizard of Oz, isn't it, mommy?" Evidently she had started reading the original book, and finally realized who the "Witches of Oz" were. From that point on she was drawn in. Sophie sat by daddy, so I couldn't see or interact with her well, but Kaya sat by me, and I have never seen ANYONE so entranced in my life. She honestly did not sit in her seat, but perched on the edge the whole time, her hand on the seat in front of her, her face lit with an absolute glow of wonder.

Then came the end of the first act, and she moved forward more (if she could have stood, I think she would have), and the look on her face as Elpheba rose up singing is indescribable. All I can say is that the look on her face made me cry more than the actual musical. Then the lights cut and everyone was clapping and she was no longer sitting, but kind of standing/crouching and when the lights came on she looked at me as though she had just seen an angel from Heaven. When she saw people leaving she asked if we could move closer up if those people don't come back, and I had to laugh back my tears.

Yes, the show is great, but seeing my daughter love it more than I was worth more than the $400 (plus gas, dinner, parking, etc), worth more than anything I could have paid. We don't get to see that type of wonder and excitement in children very often. It is a gift that is more rare and valuable than gold or diamonds, this discovery and wonder in a child, and I got to see it this week. For that, I am truly thankful.

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