My grandparents were the people who introduced me to musicals. We were always in Repertory Philippines. On a trip into New York my grandpa took me to see pretty much everything there was on Broadway (except maybe Cats). Even the musicals like Fiddler on the Roof — which weren’t running on any stage either weren’t foreign to me.
I feel I’ve gained so much from this Broadway appreciation that I want my girls to appreciate musicals as well. We’ve taken them to see a few of the ones staged locally like Aladdin and Cinderella. So when I saw that Wicked was coming to Manila, I immediately purchased two tickets — for me and for Sam. The rest of my family decided to come along too; except for my husband and Jamie, who we thought would be too young still (and the dark parts of the plot and production might be too much for her gentle soul at this age).
I’d seen Wicked on Broadway with my husband years ago (now that I think about it, I was pregnant with Sam then!), so I had a vague memory of the plot. And I was a fan of the Wizard of Oz back in the day, so I appreciated how the story somehow tied questions that had been percolating in my head throughout my childhood. I was confident it wouldn’t be too much for my adventurous little Sam.
The days leading up to our show, I had Sam listen to the music and view some popular clips off You Tube. With her I’ve learned that it helps to build interest by giving her a taste of what’s to come. We even had a quick synopsis of the story on the way to Kumon one day. Needless to say she was excited on so many levels. By the time Saturday rolled around, she was already humming “One Short Day” and “Defying Gravity”.
It helped to say that the voice of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen was also the first person to play Elphaba — Idina Menzel.
Of course, an added bonus was that she had me all to herself on a date. We hadn’t done this in a while since I fired the yaya (and since Jamie’s allergies had started flaring up — it’s been extra hard to get time away with Sam). The show’s venue had some very positive memories for her too; it was where she performed last year for her ballet recital.
We got to CCP early enough to look around and view the set-up on display. Another good teaser for Sam to be able to appreciate what she might see.
When we finally got to our seats, Sam couldn’t wait for the musical to start. We had seats up in the balcony area (budget purposes!), but she didn’t mind because of the make-shift telescopes they were selling outside. These were actually pretty clear and they gave you a good view of the stage.
And she loved the production values — from the red-eyed dragon to the glowing emerald city… to all the colors of the lights and where they shown and when.
Throughout the entire show Sam had questions and demanded answers. It was quite tiring really, but I tried to stay patient since I knew she was really trying to understand everything transpiring in front of her. In a way it kept me on my toes because I was also trying to anticipate what was coming next. It also gave me a deeper understanding of the whole story and the little details that I’d forgotten or had missed out the first time around.
My husband will be happy to know that during the more adult, romantic scene (When Fiyero and Elphaba sing together in the second half), Sam had tuned out and asked for a lollipop so we busied ourselves trying to open it at just the right moments. I didn’t bother re-capping that portion to her either. And on that note, while the story of Wicked is more adult than it is child-friendly, it still wasn’t hard to downplay the adult-portions into something more wholesome and age appropriate. It just took a little bit of creativity! 😉
When we exited the theater I had to go back to the wall exhibit they had and take a photo of it. I knew it would come in handy when we’d relive the story of Wicked.
At the end of the end of the show as we walked out, Sam proclaimed to everyone, “I liked it!” — like a critic making her final review.
What’s not to like about Wicked anyway. It’s witty, it’s relevant, and it’s touching all at the same time. The songs are fantastic, and the actors who play the roles are all top-quality. And of course I had the most awesome date. 😉