David Cote
ISBN: 1401308201

Missed "Wicked"'s sold-out sweep of Oklahoma City last month? For the cost of a back-row ticket to the touring production, "Wicked: The Grimmerie" gives perusers a front-row seat backstage.

Think of it as the program from the musical — expanded into a production as thoroughly designed as the main course itself, from its squishy green cover made to look like a book of spells to rich, full-color stage photographs, actor interviews and even most of the script.

The insight here into what goes into the musical-making process fascinates, from Idina Menzel revealing how she bagged the role of "wicked witch" Elphaba on Broadway (green eye shadow and cracking a high note, in part) to the thought behind each character's costume as the show progresses. Even an excerpt from Gregory Maguire's handwritten draft wedges in. Simply, wow.

That's not to say a little less wouldn't have gone a long way more —? "Wicked: The Grimmerie" overwhelms. How many people have to be interviewed about their contributions to this show, really? And with its bulky shape, there's no chance you'll be "defying gravity" lugging this work around.

Nevertheless, for those who want to relive their $60 OKC experience, 40 bucks for such an appealing companion book that should provide endless perusal opportunities might be the most fitting souvenir. —?Emily Jerman


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