Reasons to see 'Wicked' on Broadway

Learn why this gravity-defying, fan-favorite musical is worth a trip to Oz, and why it remains so popular with audiences of all ages after 20 years and counting.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

"So if you can't find me, look to the the western sky" — or the Gershwin Theatre. That's where you'll find more than 1,000 audience members experiencing Wicked every night. For 20 years as of 2023, this magical musical inspired by Gregory Maguire's novel, itself a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, has defied gravity and expectations.

The story of how Glinda and Elphaba became the became the Good Witch and Wicked Witch of the West — and how that binary isn't so simple — actually received mixed reviews upon its 2003 premiere and lost the Best Musical Tony to Avenue Q. But Wicked has since become a beloved fan favorite and the fourth-longest-running Broadway show of all time. That's due to unforgettable songs like "Defying Gravity," "Popular," and "For Good" and the show's universal appeal: It provides wonder and magic for kids and unexpectedly rich commentary (plus the wonder and magic) for adults.

Read on to discover why to see Wicked on Broadway, and get tickets to find out for yourself why the show remains so popular.

Get Wicked tickets now.

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Wicked conjures Broadway magic every time.

As someone who now attends shows regularly for this job, a trip to Broadway has become as commonplace as a trip to the grocery store. That's a good problem to have, yes. But it makes the now-rare experience of being captivated by the full, unique thrill of Broadway — the energy, the grandeur, the magic of it all — all the more special. Wicked is one of those shows that delivers that magic every single time, whether it's your first show or your 101st.

The Gershwin is the largest Broadway theatre, so it immediately gives a sense of magnificence when you enter. And the show just builds on the excitement from there: with a moving mechanical dragon above the proscenium, with Elphaba soaring above the stage on a broom, with flying monkeys played by actors who perform acrobatic tricks in midair above the audience's heads, and so much more. The spectacle captivates both kids and kids at heart.

Wicked puts female friendships front and center.

People often think of Elphaba when they think of Wicked, but the musical is the "story of the witches of Oz" — witches, plural. Glinda is an equally major part of the story, and just as the musical questions whether Elphaba is totally wicked, it also questions whether Glinda is totally good.

The show also explores how their friendship as schoolmates — which began as a rivalry — shapes them into wiser and more complex adults, as each of them learns from the other's point of view. Often, in media, women's relationships with their friends come second to romance and even self-discovery, and while Wicked still includes both these elements, it's Elphaba and Glinda's evolution, inextricably linked with each other, that's at the forefront.

Wicked grows with its audiences.

When I saw Wicked at 12 years old, it was a whimsical, spellbinding spectacle about love and friendship and magic. When I saw it 10 years later at 22, none of that had changed. But that time, I also understood Wicked as a story about discrimination, power, corruption, propaganda and bias, the grey area between good and evil, and ultimately, standing up for what you believe in no matter what others think.

These topics remain as relevant now as they did in 2003. New layers of Wicked reveal themselves as audiences grow up and bring a new depth of knowledge and life experience to every rewatch. Wicked is one of those family-friendly shows that adults will enjoy not just for the nostalgia, but because it also speaks to them on their level and makes people of all ages see a familiar story in a whole new light.

Get tickets to Wicked on Broadway.

What is this feeling, so sudden and new? It's the feeling that you should get Wicked tickets now that you know why. Join the countless audiences worldwide who have experienced the magic for the first time, or return to Oz and rediscover it anew. You might become a fan for good.

Get Wicked tickets now.

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Photo credit: Wicked on Broadway. (Photo courtesy of production)

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