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Wicked: A Musical Biography

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In 2004, the original Broadway production of Wicked earned 10 Tony nominations, including best musical. Based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire, the show continues to run on Broadway and has touring companies throughout the United States and around the world. In Wicked: A Musical Biography, author Paul Laird explores the creation of this popular Broadway musical In 2004, the original Broadway production of Wicked earned 10 Tony nominations, including best musical. Based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire, the show continues to run on Broadway and has touring companies throughout the United States and around the world. In Wicked: A Musical Biography, author Paul Laird explores the creation of this popular Broadway musical through an examination of draft scripts, interviews with major figures, and the study of primary musical sources such as sketches, drafts, and completed musical scores. Laird brings together an impressive amount of detail on the creation of Wicked, including a look at Maguire's novel, as well as the original source material, The Wizard of Oz. This volume also offers a history of the show's genesis along with examinations of the draft scenarios and scripts that demonstrate the show's development. Laird also explores Stephen Schwartz's life and work, providing an analysis of the composer and lyricist's work on the show through song drafts, sketches, and musical examples. Laird also surveys the show's critical reception in New York and London, noting how many critics failed to appreciate its qualities or anticipate its great success. The unusual nature of Wicked's story--dominated by two strong female leads--is also placed in the context of Broadway history. A unique look into a successful Broadway production, Wicked: A Musical Biography will be of interest to musicologists, theatre scholars, students, and general readers alike.


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In 2004, the original Broadway production of Wicked earned 10 Tony nominations, including best musical. Based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire, the show continues to run on Broadway and has touring companies throughout the United States and around the world. In Wicked: A Musical Biography, author Paul Laird explores the creation of this popular Broadway musical In 2004, the original Broadway production of Wicked earned 10 Tony nominations, including best musical. Based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire, the show continues to run on Broadway and has touring companies throughout the United States and around the world. In Wicked: A Musical Biography, author Paul Laird explores the creation of this popular Broadway musical through an examination of draft scripts, interviews with major figures, and the study of primary musical sources such as sketches, drafts, and completed musical scores. Laird brings together an impressive amount of detail on the creation of Wicked, including a look at Maguire's novel, as well as the original source material, The Wizard of Oz. This volume also offers a history of the show's genesis along with examinations of the draft scenarios and scripts that demonstrate the show's development. Laird also explores Stephen Schwartz's life and work, providing an analysis of the composer and lyricist's work on the show through song drafts, sketches, and musical examples. Laird also surveys the show's critical reception in New York and London, noting how many critics failed to appreciate its qualities or anticipate its great success. The unusual nature of Wicked's story--dominated by two strong female leads--is also placed in the context of Broadway history. A unique look into a successful Broadway production, Wicked: A Musical Biography will be of interest to musicologists, theatre scholars, students, and general readers alike.

30 review for Wicked: A Musical Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tally

    When I start reading books such as this one, I sort of expect them to be tedious, and so the fact that this book has been redundant at times didn’t stop me from finishing it and enjoying it. Overall it's an enriching read which provides interesting insights on one of my favorite musicals, and similarly to the musical's major premise, encourages one to "look at things another way".

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Although I marked this as did not finish, there is nothing wrong with this book. It was just more scholarly than I was looking for, I wanted something more gossipy about the creation of the show, so skipped a couple of sections about the creation of the songs and the orchestration. It did point me to something probably more in line with what I was looking for.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    I wanted to love this book so much. Wicked is one of my favorite musicals and I'm a musical nerd in general. But this book is so dry I felt my eyeballs glazing over, and I struggled to finish it. The chapters that detail (in agonizing detail) the specific changes from draft to draft (which was interesting, and then became boring), and again for songs and orchestration was agonizing. Apart from mentioning who was cast, there wasn't much of interest regarding the actors. Save yourself the agony.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Desiree'

    I love Wicked the broadway musical but this is another book that i couldnt finish. It seemed pretty boring and seemed to drag on in certain chapters. I still learned new things about the musical that i didnt know before.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alfred Wertmann

    I liked the idea of this book and I Think that there should be more books like this about the major musicals of today. But it was rather repetitious and obviously written for persons with some knowledge of Music and Music theory - it's not a regular book for fans.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Not what I had expected. The whole Wicked thing has been a disappointment.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pattie

    Super informative! Helpful with information not found elsewhere- definitely a good resource for my thesis!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Musso

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mindy

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anita

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chelsey

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jen Haddad

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    I'm probably being too kind with my rating. It's MAYBE worth getting from a library (if you can find one that has it) and SKIMMING it if you REALLY REALLY love Wicked (which I do), this is the most horrible book I've read since middle school. Avoid ALL books by Paul R. Laird, in my opinion. This book read like a really bad 7th grade book report. He started by summarizing, he quoted the GOOD books about Wicked (David Cote's Wicked: The Grimmerie, a Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hit Broadway Musica I'm probably being too kind with my rating. It's MAYBE worth getting from a library (if you can find one that has it) and SKIMMING it if you REALLY REALLY love Wicked (which I do), this is the most horrible book I've read since middle school. Avoid ALL books by Paul R. Laird, in my opinion. This book read like a really bad 7th grade book report. He started by summarizing, he quoted the GOOD books about Wicked (David Cote's Wicked: The Grimmerie, a Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hit Broadway Musical & Carol de Giere's Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz from Godspell to Wicked, which devotes a large section to Wicked), which I already own and read. He even started one chapter by saying "In the last chapter I..." SERIOUSLY? I'd READ the last chapter, jerk. I was seriously offended by this book. No intelligent human being should consider it. He would talk about some changes made in various versions of the songs, but NOT actually show the changes, just say that changes had been made. Really??? Enjoy the other Wicked books. Stay far away from this horribly written book. Parts of it are worth skimming, since he does include portions of various versions of the script, but I find it very difficult to believe that he actually spoke with Schwartz, as he claims. If he did, why did he write his own book like a terrible book report with more quotes than actual ideas? It was insulting.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ashleigh Myers

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mary Beth

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karrie

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sara Martin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin Batik

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Abby Hehner

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sofia Stenroos

  24. 4 out of 5

    Doug McCoy

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michelle J.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Raymundo Montoya

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sofia Stenroos

  28. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

  29. 5 out of 5

    Betty Dancer

  30. 4 out of 5

    Aya Hayashi

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