Buy Tickets to see Wicked!
WICKED Musical currently playing on tour in Denver, CO (till Aug. 25) and moves to San Francisco, CA (from Aug. 28)

Stephen Schwartz said he doesn’t know for certain why “Wicked,” for which he’s both composer and lyricist, has become such a long-running phenomenon. The musical, which opened on Broadway in 2003, will perform its magic Dec. 1-12 at Miller Auditorium.

Schwartz spoke about “Wicked” and his career while in Kalamazoo in August, when he also gave a talk at the Kalamazoo Civic Auditorium, ahead of its September performance of “Godspell,” and sneaked in a few matches at the U.S. Tennis Association Boys’ National Championship.

“I get these wonderful e-mails, especially from women going through difficult stages of their lives,” Schwartz said. The messages are from people who saw “Wicked,” often more than once, and found the musical “seems to speak to them.”

The song “Defying Gravity,” in particular, inspired them to confront their challenges and take action.

“Wicked,” a tale of two witches in Oz before Dorothy of Kansas showed up, is about the “difference between our perception of people and the reality,” Schwartz said. “So much today is blogs and things taken out of context, us versus them. Life is really not that simple.”

But basically “Wicked” is “the story of these two people.”

“It’s about the relationship between two friends, how another person can change your life,” he explained. “That’s a story not very often told in musical theater, and not so much with women.”

“As our leading producer, David Stone, says, ‘All of us has that green girl inside of us,’” Schwartz said.

What first attracted Schwartz, who studied piano and composition at the Juilliard School of Music and graduated in 1968 from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.F.A. in drama, to this story?

Choosing his projects, he admitted with a grin, often “is like falling in love” — a lot of it is chance. In the case of “Wicked,” he recalled he was on a snorkeling vacation in Hawaii when a friend mentioned she was reading Gregory Maguire’s novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.”

The coming year will be “very busy” for the composer. Fresh after being honored this summer by the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project for his mentorship of young tunesmiths, Schwartz has turned his attention to a Chicago revival of “Working” (1978), which will boast two new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda of the Tony Award-winning show “In the Heights,” and an opera.

Of his career thus far, he noted, “Even shows that I had trouble with at first” — “The Baker’s Wife,” “Children of Eden,” “Working,” for example — “they haven’t just gone away. People remained interested in them” and they continue to be produced.
“I’ve been very, very lucky.”

Wicked in Kalamazoo, MI
Miller Auditorium presents musical about the complicated and doomed friendship between the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1-2, 7-9; 8 p.m. Dec. 3-4, 10-11; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 and 12; 2 p.m. Dec. 2, 4 and 11

Where: Miller Auditorium, Western Michigan University

Buy Wicked Kalamazoo MI Tickets Online

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Buy Tickets to see Wicked!

Buy Tickets to see Wicked!