On Christmas morning, I opened a small box. It was super light, hardly any heft to it at all. I figured it was some kind of jewelry or something. It was not.

It was this:

And I promptly freaked out.

I first read ‘Wicked’ by Gregory Maguire in high school for my Contemporary Literature class. I was intrigued by the idea of a new twist on a story that I felt personally connected to (I played Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz at drama camp when I was 11).

The book didn’t blow my mind.

It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but the vague impressions that I have left of it were that it was missing a lot of swoony times, and was heavy on the political intrigue. I suspect I’d appreciate it more now, but high school Jen wasn’t too thrilled.

But, the friends I had in drama and chorus told me that I must listen to the soundtrack of the musical. I did and fell in love. It came with me to college where I made many happy memories of torturing my male friends by belting out ‘Popular’ with Kristin Chenowith while DDing them home.

On Sunday, I finally heard those songs sung live by a Broadway cast for the first time with my mother.

I’m not exactly a connoisseur of the arts, so I can’t properly review a musical or anything. But I had the BEST time. There were swoony times, political intrigue that wasn’t dry AT ALL and it was funny, and touching, and amazing.

The roles of Elphaba and Fiyero were played by understudies, but had I not been TOLD that, I would have had no idea. Both of them were phenomenal. Just like every other actor in the production.

And as someone who knows almost every word to almost every song, I have a new appreciation for songs that before weren’t my favorites. Seeing them set in the story made me love “Dancing Through Life” in particular. And the steampunk-inspired sets were a thing to behold!

This dragon actually breathed smoke. It was so cool!

I was really moved by the emotions the characters portrayed. And so was my mother. We both teared up several times at the end, and the whole crowd leapt to its feet during the curtain call. My only complaint is that I can’t go see the show again. Like. Right now.

‘Wicked’ the book may not have blown high school me’s mind, but ‘Wicked’ the musical blew twenty-something me away.