WICKED Is About Diversity and Acceptance
Excitement lit up the James M. Nederlander when The Broadway Touring Company of WICKED hit town.
Most of you know the story and heard the song of retelling of the story that takes us to the beginning as to how Glinda, who turns out to be a Good Witch of the North, and Elphaba, who turns out to be the Wicked Witch in the West meet in college and actually become friends.
We understand the prejudice against Elphaba, who is green and different can change the perception of a person. However, the story goes deeper than the story of the two witches.
During the time in OZ, animals could speak and hold intelligence. My favorite character in the production has always been Dr. Dillamond played in the production by Michael Genet. Dr. Dillamond is a goat, one of the last animals in OZ whose voice has not been taken from him.
I had a conversation with Michael Genet regarding the significance of this storyline being included in the production. He told me that one of the reasons that Wicked continues to live and thrive is because of the underlying currents, socially and politically, of what’s going on in this musical that is totally magical. He went on to say, “the social and political undertones of this thing just continue to be vibrantly pertinent decade after decade since its first inception. No matter what happens politically and socially in America, it seems to fit right into the groove of what the underlying message of Wicked is all about.”
During our conversation, Michael spoke on how the musical and Dr. Dillamond are the poster child of the sins of this planet, the sins of America. How the most recent iteration of that would be the immigrants that have been used as pawns, fighting for their own freedom, and better way of life, and then to be used against their knowledge and against their will to be shipped off to some strange places they have no reason to want to go to. I mean, they don’t have a support system there, so it’s just to get rid of them sticking to somebody else and we are going to get rid of the people that look like them. Dillamond is the last remaining animal at this university. He’s a goat, he’s a professor, he’s a brilliant man or being. And yet the system, we can use the former administration as the example there, want to get rid of all the folks that don’t look and sound and think like them.
Micheal went on to say, “It’s all about the discrimination. Let’s get rid of those who sound different, who think differently, and Dillamond is the superhighway, where all of that runs through. He only has a few scenes in Wicked, but I try my best and I like to think that I’m succeeding in this, to give every ounce of weight to the significance of what Dillamond represents and every single word that he gets to say, I try to just hit it out the park as much as possible within the context of the show itself so that the audience will, like you, garner from that, that Dillamond is the voice that we need to listen to because he’s the one that’s portending all the evils that we see in our daily lives here in America right now.”
I applaud Winnie Holzman for writing in such a way that all aspects of seeing the good in people is hit on all levels, from the child who experiences the message through the two witches to the adult who sees past the songs and costumes and realizes the meaning of acceptance in another way.
Michael and I had a wonderful conversation on many things and if you would like to see the full video of our conversation visit https://youtu.be/gjZwT8rZCfk.
Wicked is going to be here till December 4th. And I’m telling you, you don’t want to miss this cast. The voices are great. The acting is phenomenal. Of course, the set and costumes are amazing. But even better yet, pay attention to the story, all of the stories, because it’s not just one, it’s several. And every time you see it, you’ll find just a little something different, but definitely pay attention to Dr. Dillamond because Michael wears it out.
Until next time, Keep your EYE to the sky.
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