Why Wicked the Musical is Totally Not Noir

This may seem like a stupid topic to cover, and it’s not exactly what it looks like, but for the most part I’ve tried to stay clever and witty when it comes to these silly blog posts, so I’m going to keep up that trend today.

Why talk about Wicked the Musical? Well, because I happen to be raising a 9 year old daughter and she is in one of her phases where she loves princesses and all that stuff.   It’s not quite the 13 year old phase, which everyone is telling me I should dread, so its still mild in comparison (I assume).  Nonetheless theres a bit of obsession going around, and one of those items she obsesses about is Wicked the Musical.

So of course I had to go accompany her to the broadway showing of wicked this past week, and while I’m not the biggest fan of broadway shows or musicals in general, I have to say I was impressed.  The story was a very interesting twist from the original Wizard of Oz storyline, the plot had enough variety to it to keep even the most pessimistic father interested through the 2.5 hour run time.  Most of all, however, I loved the fact that my daughter enjoyed it.

She asked me to comment on it on our way home.  So I had to explain that her papa’s forte was not in fact musicals, but mostly films from back in the 50s that were grainy and black and featured men in suits who smoked and shot people.  Needless to say she wasn’t very impressed but nonetheless I pressed on.

I told her that Wicked the musical was in fact not like film noir at all, but the artistic appreciation of both could be achieved rather easily.  While the simple, realist approach of gritty noir is counter to the fantastical, costume and decoration of the wicked witch of the west, it doesn’t make one thing bad and the other thing good, just different but equally artistically expressive.

I suppose she wasn’t buying my tight-rope walk of nuance as I progressed down the road of explanation, but maybe in a few years when shes gotten past the princess/musical/pretty costume phase.

Wait, that phase does end at some point, doesn’t it?

Who knows, maybe she’ll do a 180 and be headlining the next NoirCon, with a diatribe on the power of simplistic approaches to film making.

A father can hope…