While at College, people have been asking me “which is better, “Wicked” or “Les Mis”, which I do not think that is fair. These two are sharing the spot for best musical for different reasons. They each are better than each other in their own unique way. There is a reason why “Wicked” is up there and “Les Mis” is there as well. I cannot put into words how much both mean to me.
For starters, “Wicked” was the first show I saw on Broadway. It was a date with my mom and I was twelve at the time. I have seen live musicals before this, but this was my first time in New York. At the end of the show, “Popular” was my favorite song from the musical. I do not remember many details about seeing it on Broadway, but at least I remember going and that “Popular” ended up being my favorite song from the musical. At one point in my “Wicked” journey, the musical became spectacular and ended up being my favorite musical. It is the musical of everything because of what it is capable of. It has a ton of spectacle, dance, and has a positive and negative score. Because it takes place in OZ, it has to do things quite differently than a lot of other shows. Each time I have seen “Wicked”, the moment I enter the theatre I feel like I am in OZ because the curtain is a map of OZ and seeing the incredible, brilliant dragon at the top of the set. “Wicked” is a show I can fully relate to mainly because of Elphaba and the main theme of friendship.
Elphaba has always been my favorite musical character because of how much I relate to her. I can understand how she feels. Just like her, I am this big-hearted, talkative, smart, determined, “different” girl who strongly believes in equality and staying true to myself. In addition, I want to feel accepted and sometimes feel misunderstood by others. When you find a character like that, that character means something to you. I cannot relate to everything about Elphaba such as her unrequited love for Fiyero or how much she has been discriminated against. She is able to get past her unrequited love for Fiyero, but the sad truth is she has no idea that Fiyero has loved her all long. Eventually the two of them have an affair and become a couple. They have a passionate affair even though they both are labeled as outcasts.
The spectacle, dance, and costumes of “Wicked” reflect OZ. The costume are very crazy and fun and look like something we would not see everyday. The spectacle adds to the magic and fantasy of the show. At the beginning of the show, you see the dragon operate who breathes fire, and you feel even closer than OZ than the initial transportation. The way they show Elphaba’s powers also reflect OZ. They way the dances work are OZian. The songs have a special kind of magic in them. Everything about this show feels Ozian. Overall, “Wicked” is my favorite musical comedy because it is so magical and full of fantasy.
On the other hand, there is “Les Mis”. This show has played such a big impact on me. I learned so much from this. I do not relate to it as much as “Wicked”, but there is something about the story, characters, and score that drive you in. “Les Mis” is a very powerful, tragic, inspirational, emotional roller coaster. Before “Les Mis”, I thought I would hate tragic shows, but this show proved me wrong. The emotional impact was something I thought would not be possible in a musical or a tragedy.There are several emotions in this show, which are hard to keep track of, but at the end, you leave feeling uplifted.The hardest emotion to handle is uncomfortable, but I learned to tolerate it. This musical is still fresh in my life and I am so glad it changed my perspective on musical theatre.
“Les Mis” is not really a spectacle, dance-filled musical, but it is the longest running musical in the world and London. The main thing I relate to in this musical is the spirituality and I also have a deep connection to those less fortunate than me. Some of the scenes are harder to watch than others, but I still have joy watching them. I love watching the death scenes including favorite characters. This show truly is about humanity because of Valjean’s wonderful transformation from a hardened man to a man full of goodness, love, and compassion towards others. Besides Valjean, I have a love for other characters as well including Enjorlas, Eponine, and Gavroche.
“Les Mis” taught me that the plot is way more important than genre. Just because it is a tragedy, it does not mean it is just sad. The musical is way more than that. It is a story of hope, compassion, sacrifice, forgiveness, humanity, and redemption. The songs are very powerful and have a epic quality to them. The emotions are very real in this musical and they make you end up feeling them deeply in your soul. The emotional impact is why it is the best musical and the emotional impact is bigger than the emotional impact in “Wicked”.Overall “Les Mis” is the best musical that is a tragedy
But “Wicked” has the whole spectacle, dance world which is stronger compared to “Les Mis”. “Les Mis” has scenes that are spectacle-like, but the spectacle-world is still better in “Wicked” because it takes place in OZ. The set in Wicked is more colorful and funner, which makes you believe you are in another world in a place you want to visit.
For now, “Wicked” is the better musical because I am about to see it a fourth time next week with my school. I am looking forward to it because there are things that surprised me last year when I learned more about the characters. I ended up doing a monologue on Elphaba and she turned out to be stronger than I thought and I learned of how much she wants to be accepted. Than I memorized “I’m Not That Girl” and the song become deeper and sadder all of a sudden.
So overall, why should I pick between two musicals that are largely different than each other. One is a comic, magical, fantasy, dance and spectacle filled musical because it takes place in OZ. Than the other one is a tragic, epic, powerful, inspirational, emotional rollercoaster .Despite the large differences, they still both have a positive and negative score. One has been part of my life for ten years and the other has been part of my life for three years.