It’s not clear if anyone expected the hit Broadway musical Wicked to last very long. The show opened ten years ago today to so-so reviews and lost the coveted Best Musical Tony Award to scrappy underdog Avenue Q. It easily could have petered out and closed after a respectable run. Instead, it became one of the highest-grossing shows of all time, making legends of stars Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, and introducing a legion of young fans to musical theater.
Wicked wasn't the first musical to garner a rabid young fan base, but it was a pioneer in appealing directly to a market that had been historically underserved on Broadway: teenage girls. The show's combination of poppy theater tunes, multifaceted female characters, slapstick comedy, romance, and girl-friendly themes like overcoming insecurity made it an ideal show for young women to connect with and obsess over. And if teen girls have perfected anything, it's the art of obsessing. I speak from experience: When the Wicked cast recording was released, I mainlined it like a hard drug for months. I know the score better than I know some of my first cousins. There’s no better time to revisit a classic than an anniversary, so it’s time to get real about which songs hold up and which don’t.
14. "Finale: For Good (Reprise)" / "No One Mourns the Wicked (Reprise)" / "I'm Not That Girl (Reprise)"
The reprise is a hugely useful dramatic device in musical theater, functioning as an indicator of character growth or plot development at key moments in a show. Reprises are also universally skipped over on cast albums. Anyone who picks a reprise as his or her favorite song is (a) lying, and (b) the worst kind of jerk.
13. "Something Bad" / "Dear Old Shiz" / "March of the Witch Hunters" / "No One Mourns the Wicked"
The second level of skip-ability is devoted to those exposition-heavy nuggets that pad out of the rest of the score. They’re useful and important, obviously. They’re great when you want to listen to the whole album; sorta boring when taken out of context.