I don't know how many of you guys know that one of the greatest passions in my life is musical theatre. I grew up doing theatre, I did it in high school and college, and have been everything from in the chorus, to playing Eliza in My Fair Lady, Ado Annie in Oklahoma, dancing as Cherry in Paint Your Wagon, and directing Oklahoma (again) a few years ago. I have often wondered if I shouldn't have gone to New York City to try out for Broadway instead of going to college; I'm that serious about it. I haven't been on the stage for years (I had a vocal injury about six years ago that literally took me five years to fully recover from) and now that I'm good as new, I start thinking about trying to find time to do it again. It may never happen because of my schedule as an author, and even contemplating that makes me sad. I. Love. Musical. Theatre. To the point that seeing a really good performance reduces me to tears. I cannot even explain how much I adore a good musical!
So why has it taken me so long to listen to the soundtrack to Wicked? Because I'm stubborn, quite frankly. I don't like buying into things just because there is a ton of hype. In fact, I tend to rebel against hype. Everyone, and I mean everyone, loves Wicked. They rant, they rave, and quite frankly, I just wasn't that interested in something people were ranting and raving about. I know, I know, it's dumb. But I have been hearing snatches of the music here and there (one of the dance teams up by my brother's school has a dance to a Wicked medley and I've been to several of his performances/competitions this year.) And so when I left on my trip to my mom's last week I had my husband put it on my ipod and I listened to it on the way up.
One right after the other.
And I'm sure people who drove past me thought I was having a nervous breakdown. A grown woman driving down the freeway crying her eyes out. Yes, yes, that was me.
This is a gorgeous musical. When I got to my mom's house I had to have her explain the story to me, and I've listened to it again two or three times since I've been here (which is saying something since I don't like to revise with music in my ears. So this had just been during my down time.)
Now, everyone who I have talked to talks about how great and wonderful the singer who plays Glinda is. But I gotta tell you, I was WAY more impressed with Elphaba. IMO not only is she the better character, technically, her music is harder. I was entranced by the lyrics, so many internal rhymes. Simplistic lines that sound easy, but I know couldn't have been. And the subtleties. I mean, everyone is lying in this musical! I also was struck by how few solos there are in Wicked. In a lot of musicals, there is, of course, a story, but the score is set up in such a way as to highlight the individual singers. This one isn't. Almost every song is about highlighting two singers. Also, the casting was really amazing. Generally, you want to get two singers whose voices blend well. But in this case, they purposely got two singers whose voices are very, very different. Why? Because they sing unison so often, with the harmony lines sounding almost dissonant and having way more punch to them! Brilliant! Seriously, I was so impressed by the vocal interplay.
So raving aside, (yes, I've become one of THEM!!;)) I spent a lot of time thinking about my series while listening to Wicked. Not because the two story lines are in any way similar, but because the characters are all so flawed. Perfect characters are boring. What makes characters interesting are their flaws and how they do or do not overcome them. One of the hard things about writing a series is that you have to make your characters flawed enough to be interesting, but redeemable enough to make people still root for them. And then you have to keep that up through the course of multiple books!
I have such hopes for my fourth book. I am so pleased with the ending I've chosen and I hope readers will be too. But while listening to Wicked I came to the realization that it won't matter to readers if they get the exact ending they want, so long as they get an ending that is right, and satisfying and can move them emotionally. I want that last book to sing. In really an almost literal sense. I want my last book to be Wicked. To move people the way this music moved me.
And man, have I got my work cut out for me. *hugs her ipod*