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Wicked the Novel, Wicked the Musical, & Novelist Gregory Maguire

Read about the novel Wicked by Gregory Maguire and the musical adaptation Wicked by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman.

Wicked the Musical

Check the text below for Schwartz's comments on the adaptation and more story information:

What's Wicked the Musical About?

Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. WICKED tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.

Stephen Schwartz comments about the adaptation of the musical from the novel:

"Primarily we were interested in the relationship between Galinda - who becomes Glinda and Elphaba the green Witch. As short-hand we always call the show 'Turning Point in Oz,' (like the movie The Turning Point); the friendship of these two women and how their characters lead them to completely different destiny's and how the friendship is tested and broken and mended etc. through this process." -- Stephen Schwartz

Read the complete story of the adaptation of Wicked as a novel into Wicked as a musical in Defying Gravity: Defying Gravity: the Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked. Defying Gravity - (Applause books 2008)

The book also features several of Gregory Maguire's comments and photos in the book. For example, he provided a delightful story of what happened when he and Stephen Schwartz met about the rights for converting his novel into a musical.

More Adaptation Notes

The writers of the musical were fascinated with the idea that their story could be linked with the movie and The Wizard of Oz books. They made their musical more of a prequel than the novel. Those who see the musical enjoy watching the genesis of some of their favorite Oz characters who show up in Act II.

Schwartz says they treat The Wizard of Oz in much the way that Tom Stoppard used Hamlet as offstage action for his play Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. That means that Wicked plays on the "what you didn't see" and fills in the story.

Read about Wicked characters: a comparison between the novel and musical.

View Gregory's comments on the WICKED CD here - Maguire page 2

To Wicked the musical home page.

image Wicked the Novel

Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, served as a foundation for the hit Broadway musical Wicked.

Have you read Wicked?Wicked logo used as cover for tie in Wicked Musical Tie-in Edition : The Life... [new browser window] 16 pages of photos from the musical (no new text).

Although Maguire based his tale on L. Frank Baum's books, he does not consider his book a prequel to The Wizard of Oz movie or book. He said, "It's not a retelling of The Wizard of Oz and it's not really a prequel. It's another story of another life." (June 29, New York Times)

In 1995 acclaimed children's author Gregory Maguire created an instant modern classic with the publication of his debut adult novel Wicked, a richly woven tale that took readers to the other, darker side of the rainbow. In it Maguire told the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and her odyssey through the complex Land of Oz—where Animals, creatures with voices, souls and minds, are persecuted and threatened with exile; where the Wizard's secret police maintain order and quash dissent; and where people call you wicked if you tell the truth.

A Publisher's Weekly reviewer described the novel, saying it, "combines puckish humor and bracing pessimism in a fantastical meditation on good and evil."

A library publication says, "Wicked is not an easy rereading of The Wizard of Oz. It is for good readers who like satire, and love exceedingly imaginative and clever fantasy."

A SEQUEL: Son of a Witch - info, reviews,
The page includes note from Stephen Schwartz about not having plans to write a musical sequel. What might have happened had Elphaba lived? Of her campaigns in defense of the Animals, of her appetite for justice, of her talent for magic itself, what good might have come?...

Wicked novel series a Lion Among Men A Lion Among Men: Volume Three in the Wicked Years (The Wicked Years)

From the publicity: "Since Wicked was first published in 1995, millions of readers have discovered Gregory Maguire's fantastically encyclopedic Oz, a world filled with characters both familiar and new, darkly conceived and daringly reimagined. In the much-anticipated third volume of the Wicked Years, we return to Oz, seen now through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion—the once tiny cub defended by Elphaba in Wicked."

Read about Gregory Maguire's treatment of animals and Animals in relationship to the song "Something Bad" - animal song

More books by Gregory Maguire: Lost, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Mirror Mirror, etc. Gregory Maguire books

Study guide for Wicked the novel: www.bookrags.com/Wicked_(novel)



More Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire, Ph.D., was born in Albany, New York in 1954. He began writing his own stories at the age of seven. His publications include fifteen children's books, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (1995), Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (1999), and several books about Children's books (for which he served as editor).

Gregory Maguire's comments opening night June 10th

Except from issue 12 of The Schwartz Scene.

From the editor, Carol de Giere: When I was in San Francisco, I caught part of an interview between PBS producer Lori Halloran (KQED) and Gregory Maguire on opening night of the show, which turned out to be the 10th anniversary of the novelist's first serious work on WICKED.

Maguire revealed that he intentionally kept his distance for most of the musical's development. "I rather like being the humble writer in the background having provided some canvas upon which everybody else could dance and sing and make merry."

Halloran wanted a clue about the content of the musical: "Your book is fairly serious and had some deep and philosophical themes. Obviously this is a musical; what transferred?"

"Books are all about secrets," he answered. "You don't read a book if you can tell by the flap copy what's going to happen at the end. And in a way the stage is like that too. The stage is all about what evolves in terms of plot and what evolves in terms of character so I'm not going to give any secrets away. I WILL say that a great deal of what I think of as the dark serious part of the book has been retained. It was been touched with another kind of magic so that it passes unto the eyes in a different way."

About Wicked's Set - Scenic Design

Halloran (continued from above): If we read books, we are using our imaginations for the world that you describe. Do you think they captured it on stage?

Maguire: Wait 'till you see the set. It explodes, it revolves, it dazzles, it's prismatic, and in that way it captures a lot in a very different medium the things that I tried to do when I was writing the book. If you see a copy of WICKED (the novel) you open up the book and on the inside first two pages is a beautiful map some of which is invented by L. Frank Baum and some of which is invented by me to underpin my story. Walking to the stage, the first thing you see is the map of Oz almost word for word from my book so it begins with the page in a sense. Then the map lifts up and the story begins anew.

(Used with permission of both Halloran and Maguire.)

Maguire's comments regarding the Clock of the Time Dragon in Wicked - the novel (used in the Wicked musical set)

The notion of the Time Dragon is twofold. It is patently artificial, like everything having to do with the Wizard's reign (smoke and mirrors, deceptions and lies, weapons of mass destruction just 45 minutes away... Ticktock clockwork Penn and Teller chicanery). On the other hand, perhaps even a machine has a soul, even a machine can be involved with fate.... Elphaba, born in its bowels, is in some ways exempt from its gaze, and separated from everyone. Is her life dictated by the events of her birth, or is she alone in Oz exempt from being seduced by the glamour of the mechanics of power and spectacle? In this, as in so much, I don't provide an answer: I merely use the mechanics of the metaphor to suggest the question. (From an email to Carol de Giere, used with permission)

About Elphaba

An article on Maguire in Contemporary Authors, volume 89, explains some of the details about the novel Wicked. The Wicked Witch's name Elphaba was based on the name for the author of The Wizard of Oz. L. F(rank) B(aum). L-F-B = Elphaba.

In the Advocate, Peter Galvin notes, "Far from evil, Elphaba is an extremely likeable character. She's a truth-teller in a world of sycophants, phones, and charlatans, and spends her entire life battling the forces of evil--personal, theological, and political."

Maguire and Schwartz at Fundraiser in Concord MA

Wicked Stone Schwartz Maguire

April 12, 2006

The various people in the photos, in addition to Stephen, are: Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked, the novel, David Stone, producer, and Carol Krauss, Co-President of Emerson Umbrella Board.

Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts, based in Concord, Massachusetts, was pleased to host guests of honor Gregory Maguire, Stephen Schwartz, and David Stone at the Boston opening of Wicked on April 12, 2006.


Read the making of Wicked story in Wicked: The Grimmerie - (The book includes some of Gregory Maguire's handwritten text)

Spanish Editions of Wicked: News 6/12/07

Gregory Maguire recently answered a question about the beginning of Wicked for the Spanish editions. Maguire wrote: The publishers in various parts of the world have, almost to a person, felt that the novel began in the wrong place--that I had made a mistake in starting it in the "present" (that is, the Witch's adult life) and then going into a kind of flashback. They asked for permission to cut the prologue as a condition of publishing. I granted that permission for two reasons: First, I wanted the book to be available in Spanish, even in this modified version. Secondly, in fact I had started the book where the Spanish version actually starts, and had added the prologue only at the encouragement of my American publishers who said "there's something wrong with the beginning: we need to know we're going to get to the Witch as we know her before we invest all this time in her childhood etc." So the version you see, if different from the English version, is nonetheless a legitimate and authorized version. Buy - Wicked SPA: Memorias de una Bruja Mala

For more on Gregory Maguire and his novels visit www.gregorymaguire.com