Sunday, January 22, 2006

Dorothy was a tool of the Man

family in town, we went to see this yesterday. i have the hardest of times with musicals' schmaltz, and while no different- jazz hands!- the narrative surprised me.. clever in its pre, during/parallel and post "the musical oz you've known for years" weave. unexpected subtexts: sexual politic, alphaba, born green but otherwise good is called a perversion of nature. biggest surprise though was the critique of bush era fear-mongering, surveillance and all-smiles pagentry brand of fascism. palpable unease in the suburban families around me as this became clear, but heavy doses of corny repartee and jazz hands helped it go down- a phenomenon I'm fascinated by and so perceiving everywhere lately: see also good night and good luck's depiction of murrow interviewing liberace. one character even utters of empty social pagentry, "you've got to give the people what they want."

other times, very short on subtlety.. wicked's on stage "society"= a mob in the mold of the Simpsons' Springfield in its easily swayed, pitchfork bearing moments. one of the more bizarre moments is the tinman in stage left balcony mobilizing the town with hate speech, and a state-appointed history professor resembling hitler.

all that said, it was excellently sung and staged..


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