Long before his enormous success with “Wicked” and “Godspell,” composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz studied classical music in college and wrote what he now describes as a “very bad one-act opera.”
After some relatively lean years, Hollywood's Jewish talent made a solid showing as nominations for the 80th Academy Awards were announced Tuesday. The biggest winners were brothers Ethan and Joel Coen, whose thriller "No Country for Old Men" earned seven nominations, while Daniel Day-Lewis, son of British Jewish actress Jill Balcon, qualified in the best actor category.
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The Broadway blockbuster by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, which tells the story of what happened in Oz before Dorothy dropped in, has been selling out in ticket presales on its national tour. So you might have better luck finding a pair of ruby slippers than a seat at the Pantages, where it flies in from now through July 31, starring Stephanie J. Block, Kendra Kassebaum and Carol Kane.
But this tale, with its Grammy Award-winning music, based on the book by Gregory Maguire, isn't your grandmother's "Wizard of Oz." (Judy Garland never used words like "swankified" or "disgusticified.") This show is all about Elphaba (a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (a.k.a. the Good Witch of the North) -- who used to be best friends.
But who was really "wicked" and who was really "good?"