Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Wicked

If Ann Coulter had a button to press that would instantly kill all the homosexuals from the face of the earth, I bet she wouldn’t hesitate to do it. Ok, maybe that was too harsh. Maybe she’ll do what every compassionate conservative would do: she’ll consider just where and when to hold the press conference first. Theeen, she’ll press the button.

I think that for the ultra-right wing conservatives, gays are not human. We’re just deviant animals, not worthy of living, let alone in fabulously furnished high-rises with a sunset view. Sometimes I think that if we had the Holocaust all over again, the URWCs wouldn’t find it too hard to herd the gays into the gas chambers--all they have to do is stage a musical in it and we’d all line up and buy tickets.

(But seriously, if these URWCs want to do this homo-slaughter properly, they should disguise the gas chamber as a Prada store with a sale of unbelievable magnitude. The sale has to be to-die-for or else don’t bother thinking that gays are going to die. Sure, maybe a few heteros, some metrosexuals will get caught in the carnage, but that’s just the price of morality isn’t it?)

I mean, take my best friend Joe. He didn’t find it hard at all to get group discount tickets to Wicked. He needed 20 people. He got 35 without even trying. All he had to do was go to that gayest of gay places: the Gym.

There were more muscled gym bunnies there than a gay Easter parade. It was funny to see the flurry of excitement as gays hopped over barbells, skipped past the pec deck, and jumped over the hairy, sweaty fat mound doing sit-ups to get discount tickets. And twenty minutes later, Joe was done.

Yeah, it was quick and painless, plus we got discounted tickets to the hottest show in town. God knows what would’ve happened if he went to a leather bar and yelled “Ballet tickets!” instead. People would’ve gotten hurt in the stampede for sure--not to worry, that's just foreplay to them.

Wicked is based on the novel by Gregory Maguire about the life of the Wicked Witch of the West before Dorothy came to Oz.

The Oriental Theatre in Chicago, with its baroque décor featuring gargoyles and semi-nude Roman figures seemed perfect for this show. There was an enormous animated dragon with fiery red eyes mounted above the stage and extended over the orchestra. The sets had the inner workings of a old clock, gears and hardware, interspersed with more cartoonish elements. It was cool, but I had expected it to be more outlandish, more Cheesecake Factory, so I was a tad disappointed.

The story follows the story of Elphaba, a green baby girl born to the Mayor of Munchkinland and his unfaithful wife. Elphaba grew up being taunted and jeered by people because of the color of her skin. She also had to control the great magickal power growing within her. She grew up to be an outspoken, yet shy girl, with a pure and tender heart.

When she goes to college, she meets the bubbly, air-head society girl Galinda, the future Glinda the Good. After some initial girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks / haughty-rich-girl conflict, they become very close friends.

Then, Elphaba blossoms into a beautiful, yet still green, woman. All is wondrous and fair until she learns out about the terrible secret of the Wizard of Oz, then the story spirals into its dark third act.

The show invents the origins of many of the characters from the original story: the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Flying Monkeys, which for the most part was very entertaining, although somewhat forced.

I loved wonderful, powerful performances of the lead characters of Stephanie J Block (Elphaba) and Kendra Kassebaum (Galinda) which thankfully, overcame the show's weak songs. I did love the song “I’m Not That Girl.” The participation of Carol Kane as Madame Morrible was an added bonus.

I loved the story of this infamously Wicked woman. It fleshes out this one-dimensional character by giving her a touching backstory and a push-up bra.

I think that many queers can relate to this story. We all understand being viewed as one-dimensional and evil--except SpongeBob--he's two-dimensional. But even he must feel awful, being labeled as the cause of the decline of civilization in Bikini Bottom and everything else above the Pacific Ocean.

To many of the so-called “conservatives,” gays are indeed a wicked bunch. We are lumped together with pedophiles, murderers, tourists, which wouldn’t be so horrible if they didn’t wear so much polyester. It just makes us look bad, you know?

Anyway, I hear there is a direct correlation to crime and the amount of synthetic fibers in your clothing, which only proves that the gays and Simon Cowell are innocent. Duh, everybody knows that we like our spandex clothing to be as tiny as possible. All the spandex thongs in the world would fit into Elton John’s suitcases.

For here are the lessons of Wicked: If you knew what it was like to be gay, if you walked a mile in our ruby slippers, without Dr. Scholl’s inserts, would you still hate us?

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