Friday, October 14, 2011

Broadway Musical Death Match: Why Addams Family Is Better Than Wicked

I saw two shows on Broadway last weekend, and was surprised at which one was better.

I expected to hate Addams Family because of how lame and stupid the idea to base a musical on that seems, but I actually liked that better than Wicked. Wicked was good in the second act but the first was way too slow and had mostly terrible songs and no famous people. We got stuck with the second-string cast that did the national tour. You go to Broadway to see the best of the best, not the roustabouts who play Topeka.

Addams Family at least had Brooke Shields, who was entertaining in a Surreal Life sort of way. That show reminded me of the billions of episodes of it I saw as a kid, and convinced me that the characters were always stronger than I gave them credit for. Also, Addams Family played in a tiny little theater, so the actors were basically on top of us. Wicked played in a giant megatron theater and we had terrible seats that still cost $17 trillion. The great Addams Family seats cost only $2.5 billion. So, better value.

One thing that angered me about Wicked was the way it handled the Scarecrow. Everyone who's read the books or seen Return to Oz knows that the Scarecrow becomes king, not some sick bastard who runs off with the Wicked Witch of the West for fornication in another realm, never to be seen again. And if the Scarecrow really was the witch's lover who got transformed into a brainless farm doll in an ill-advised attempt at magical protection by his spell-casting, pointy-hatted hook-up, why would he actively help Dorothy and the others try to hunt down and kill her, while pretending he didn't know that the Wizard of Oz was really the fat balloon man behind a curtain? I guess we're supposed to believe that he was just playing along as a way to hitch a ride back to his green-skinned love's wicked mansion, but that's quite a stretch, especially since she sets him on fire in the movie. Now that's some serious method acting to throw everyone off the trail.

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