He Put a Spell on You

Composer Stephen Schwartz gets Wicked

We certainly got our share of very good reviews. In fact, the preponderance has been extremely good. But as it turns out, it didn't really matter what the critics wrote, because people went, and they had an experience, and they told their friends to go. We've been selling out for two years now, yet to this day I don't think the New York critics understand why Wicked is a hit. I think they think it's a hit because it has a good poster or because it looks like a lot of money got spent on the set. If that were the case, Dance of the Vampires would still be running. [Vampires closed in 2003 after 56 performances.]

You don't like to read reviews.

It's not that I don't like to read them; I don't read them.

Schwartz revives the old-fashioned musical.
Schwartz revives the old-fashioned musical.

Details

Performed November 16 through December 4. Tickets cost $28 to $75. Call 314-534-1111 or visit www.fabulousfox.com .
Fox Theatre, 527 N. Grand Boulevard.

So let's forget about reading reviews. But what if you were writing one? If you were reviewing Wicked, what would you say?

Well, [laughs] I'm sort of prejudiced.

That's OK. Reviewing isn't about objectivity; it's about informed subjectivity. What are the strong points of Wicked?

I think it's really smart. What I'm proudest of is that I think it's extremely intelligent and very well structured. It takes a complicated and nuanced story, which is always difficult to do in a musical, and a big plot where a lot of things happen, and tells that story clearly and entertainingly and ultimately, I think, movingly. What else do you want from a musical? I'm not saying it's perfect, but I think it is quite successful at achieving its goals.

How has Wicked changed your life?

I'm not sure that it has changed my life, but it has definitely changed my attitudes about work. It has strengthened my resolve to focus on projects that interest me, without worrying about their commercial potential or visibility. I have renewed confidence to follow my own vision, to trust myself, and to believe that if I can do relatively well the things that I set out to do, there will be an audience for them.

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