20-Day Countdown! The Top 20 Tony Performances of My Lifetime: #11: WICKED, 2004

Eleven days until the Tony Awards! We are at #11 on my 20-day Countdown of the Top 20 Tony Performances of My Lifetime.

Today we don't just defy gravity, we defy everything about conventional theater and launch into an entirely new era of the Broadway show.  The late nineties transformed musicals for the next generation, and the new millennium did nothing for musicals if not solidify that transformation.  Leading the pack of early millennium musicals was this bad boy (bad girl?): Wicked.

I doubt I have to say much about this show because there probably isn't a one of you out there who hasn't at least heard of it.  But have you heard it?  Based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, the musical tells the story of Elphaba and Galinda (later Glinda), two unlikely friends who grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch of the North, respectively.  They struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, and then rivalry over the same love-interest, while they learn about the Wizard's corrupt government and witness Elphaba's public fall from grace.

The original Broadway production opened in 2003, won three out of its ten Tony Award nominations, garnered six Drama Desk Awards received one Grammy Award, and has gone on to break box office records all over the world, still remaining one of the highest-grossing shows on Broadway, performing nearly 4,000 shows and still selling out at capacity, and now ranking as the 12th-longest-running show in Broadway history.

And with an incredible original Broadway cast of Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Norbert Leo Butz, and (holy shitballs!) Joel Grey (!), and with music and lyrics by the incredible Stephen Schwartz, how could this blasted thing NOT defy gravity?  But don't let me be the judge of that: sit back and watch Idina Menzel (pretty sure those are real tears because she's singing ON THE TONYS!) take to the sky in this stellar 2004 Tony performance.

I can't embed this one, so just view it here.

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