What Would Elphaba Do? - Summer 2009 Contest

As you know, UNLIMITED is not only committed to serving as a fan base for WICKED but is also dedicated to helping the worldwide community.  We’re trying to make a difference in the world in much the same way Elphaba gives her all to do what’s right in WICKED.

In July of 2009, members of UNLIMITED entered a contest to answer the question “WHAT WOULD ELPHABA DO?”  In 500 words or less, contestants set out to devise a plan to help the community – whether on a global scale, in their own communities (city/town, school, etc.), or elsewhere – and relate this to how Elphaba tries to serve her community in WICKED (the novel, the musical, or both).

Below are the three winners (listed alphabetically by last name) of this contest.  CONGRATULOTIONS to these three bright members of UNLIMITED!!!

Kerry Dale (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) (pictured below)

In Wicked, we learn through her actions that Elphaba is profoundly agitated that Animals throughout Oz are losing their rights and their abilities to speak. She spoke out against the higher powers in attempts to help her Animal cohorts.

Personally, I find that animals are part of our community as much as people are. They are loving pets and some animals even work (Seeing Eye dogs, etc). Because these animals are an integral part of our society, we need to protect their rights just as Elphaba did in the books and musical.  We need to give animals a voice because they have none.

Here in Winnipeg (and throughout Canada), we have local Humane Societies.  What I think Elphaba would do is help fundraise as much money as possible to help save the lives of animals that might not have a chance. If money is a problem, one could volunteer at places like the Humane Societies in one’s own free time. They are a non-profit, volunteer-based organization funded primarily by donations, memberships and bequests, and could use help if needed! Because they are a charity, dedicated to protecting animals from suffering and to promote their welfare and dignity, we need to support them as much as we can.

We also need to speak out against horrible violations of animal rights, such as poaching, seal hunts, and ruthless treatment of the animals. Sign petitions, check online for more details, empower yourself and do what is needed to help the animals, before they too lose all their rights.

It is, I believe, what Elphaba would do.

Lindsay Hartman (East Amherst, New York) (pictured below)

I work at a movie theatre. It's fun, most of the time. One aspect of the job that never ceases to amaze me, though, is the incredible mess moviegoers make on the theatre floors. Popcorn, soda, candy, napkins, you name it, scattered throughout the auditorium as though Madame Morrible herself created a twister of trash.

I do not complain, though, as it is part of my job to ensure that each auditorium gets cleaned before the next show should be seated. But, if I were Elphaba or, rather, if Elphaba were in need of a lowly movie theatre job, I do not doubt that she would handle this task a little differently…even if she is pretty good with a broom.

First of all, I am pretty sure Elphaba would insist that our theatre be equipped with recycling bins, instead of the numerous trash cans that line the halls. Popcorn bags, cardboard trays, and napkins can be remade into something great!

Secondly, I envision Elphaba putting a spell of some sorts on the guests, convincing them that actually taking their garbage out of the auditorium is the right thing to do. And if they don't? Well, she'll turn them into scarecrows! Or maybe not.

Either way, Elphaba as a movie theatre employee would be very beneficial to our environment, and also for the well-being of our guests!

Evan Higgins (Monroe Township, New Jersey)

I want to help find a cure for cancer, as it is something that has hit home for me too many times. While I have not personally had cancer, I have had a few family members who have passed on from the deadly disease. My cousin fought for seven years with cancer, and recently passed away due to her illness. It is tragic…she was so young and did not deserve to die.

No one deserves to die from cancer, and that is why I want to help find a cure for cancer.  My cousin wanted to see the show Wicked but could not due to her illness and financial issues. She told me a few days before passing that she wanted to see the show, and I was trying to plan a day where I could possibly go with her. Sometimes things take a turn for the worse, and she passed on. 

In the musical, Elphaba does quite a lot that shows she is putting others before herself and trying to better those around her.  Elphaba tries to help Glinda escape from the Wizard, she helps to set the monkeys free, she tries to save a lion cub and help Dr. Dillamond. She does many things to try and help those around her. After Fiyero is taken off to be tortured until he tells where Elphaba went, she tries to save him by casting spells.  She rebels against the Wizard after finding out who and what he truly is, but after countless attempts she realizes she will never be able to clear her name as the Wicked Witch of the West. Elphaba tried her best to deal with the problems she faced because of her green skin and connotation of being a “wicked witch.”

I really want to find a cure for cancer because no one should have to suffer or die from the disease.  People with cancer may lose their hair, making them appear physically different, just as Elphaba appeared to be different because of her green skin. My cousin lost her hair due to cancer and she did not want to be seen like that, she did not want to appear different, as Elphaba did not want to appear green. Millions of people are suffering from cancer and there is no cure at the moment. I want to find a cure and help the world and community as Elphaba tried to help Oz. I lost my cousin to this disease and no one should have to lose anyone to this illness.  Contributing to causes such as the American Cancer Society and other organizations is one way to help find a cure.  Cancer walks and other fundraisers will also help us find a cure and help those in need of relief.

It is very sad that so many suffer from cancer, getting put through rigorous treatments and pain in hopes to stop the disease. My cousin is now at peace, as Elphaba was after leaving Oz. My cousin, as many lives have, succumbed to the disease after a long fight, just as Elphaba gave in after a long fight with trying to help Oz. Together we need to help find a cure for cancer, right now, FOR GOOD.

Kerry Dale
Lindsay Hartman

The Emerald City of Yesterday - October 2009 Contest

CONGRATULOTIONS to our two winners, Kurtis Lawler and Kerry Dale!!!  Their submissions to The Emerald City of Yesterday Contest (September/October 2009) were indeed thrillifying!

…And here they are…

Stage Directions: "Bad Situation"
Winner: Kurtis Lawler

Visual Art: "Step By Step"
Winner: Kerry Dale

Kerry Dale, 'Step By Step' - Nessarose (Visual Art)

September 2009 Contest: The Emerald City of Yesterday Guidelines

In September of 2009, UNLIMITED presented a contest in anticipation of the Sixth anniversary of Wicked on Broadway!

In the years leading up to Wicked’s premiere on Broadway, many songs and scenes evolved or were completely cut from the show.  Some of these songs and scenes were performed at last year’s The Yellow Brick Road Not Taken concert at the Gershwin Theatre.  Some have never made it to a workshop or reading of the show.

To celebrate a half-dozen years on Broadway, UNLIMITED asked fans to come up with some kind of artistic representation of one cut song/scene from the show.  There were three different ways to present their version of the song/scene:

1.  A visual piece of artwork of your idea of this song/scene (drawing, painting, etc.).  Your artwork cannot include a copyrighted photograph or graphic from the show; for example, you cannot take a photo of Idina Menzel and crop it to fit into your piece.  Likewise, you cannot take the logo artwork and put that into your piece.  The piece must be your work only, whether a drawing, painting, photograph, etc.  Costumes, lighting, and scenic design should all be considered.  Artwork should be submitted as an acceptable graphic file (i.e., .gif, .jpeg, etc.).

2.  Detailed stage directions of your staging of this song/scene.  These directions should be clear and understandable.  They also must be able to be performed on a stage.  Be as descriptive and imaginative as possible.  Imagine your stage is the stage of New York’s Gershwin, London’s Apollo Victoria, or another Wicked stage.  Costumes, lighting, and scenery all come into play.  Stage directions must be submitted as a .doc (Microsoft Word) file.

3.  A video performance of the song/scene.  Here’s your chance to belt out one of the cut songs!  Make a video of yourself singing one of the cut songs.  Videos should be under 3 minutes in length.  Performances need not be completely staged but should show some kind of staging idea of the song.  No need for costumes, lighting, or set, but these elements are indeed welcome.  Songs can be performed with or without accompaniment.  Videos must be submitted as acceptable video files (i.e., .avi, .wmv, etc.).

Here is a list of the possible cut songs/scenes available for presentation along with brief descriptions of each song/scene:

Making Good (version 1)*
[This version appears on the Fifth Anniversary Special Edition of the Original Cast Recording as well as on Stephanie J. Block’s solo album This Place I Know.]

Elphaba’s first number, which was eventually replaced by “The Wizard and I.”  It takes place at a train station as Elphaba and Nessarose are waiting for a train to Shiz.

Bad Situation*
This duet between Elphaba and Galinda was eventually replaced by “What Is This Feeling?”  It included several short scenes in which Elphaba and Galinda confront one another. 

We Deserve Each Other*
This song was originally written as a duet between Fiyero and Galinda.  In two specific cases, it was teamed with another song: in an early version of the show, it was combined with “Emerald City Stomp”; in the pre-Broadway San Francisco production in 2003, it was combined with “Which Way Is the Party?”  In some versions, the song was later reprised by Nessarose and Boq.  In the current version of the show, fragments of the song remain in “Dancing Through Life” and “The Wicked Witch of the East.”

Easy as Winkie Wine*
In this song, Fiyero helps Boq ask Galinda to the Frolick.  (The Frolick was eventually replaced by the Ozdust Ballroom.)

Emerald City Stomp*
This was performed in conjunction with “We Deserve Each Other” at the Frolick.  (In the show today, the Shiz students go to the Ozdust Ballroom and not the “Annual Festivities Frolick.”)

Which Way Is the Party?
This was Fiyero’s introductory song from the pre-Broadway San Francisco production of the show.  Instead of showing how he “dances through life,” it paints him as a party person. 

As If By Magic*
In the original plot of the show, Dillamond is working on scientific research to further his theories about Animals’ ability to speak.  This song was sung by Dillamond, Elphaba, and Fiyero in Act I after they make a very exciting discovery.

For Goodness Sake*
This duet between Glinda and Elphaba preceded “Defying Gravity.”  It was sung in the attic of the Wizard’s Palace after Elphaba decides not to help the Wizard in his exploits of Animals.  The girls accuse one another of selling out and an argument ensues.

Step By Step (version 1)*
This was Nessarose’s big solo (originally in Act I) after the “jeweled shoes” allow her to walk.  She plans out what her life will be like now that she can walk: she will have Boq and rule Munchkinland with an iron fist.

I’m Not That Girl (Nessarose)
In an early version of the show, Nessarose sang “I’m Not That Girl” in response to Boq’s obsession with Galinda.

Finale (extended)
The original ending of the show gave the audience a better picture of what happens to Elphaba and Fiyero after they leave Oz.  This ending places Elphaba and Fiyero at a farm in the Badlands, a wilderness on the outskirts of Oz, to which a group of exiled Animals has fled.  Elphaba finds Dillamond, who has lost his power of speech.  She admits that her powers are now “limited” but she promises to do her best to help him speak again.  With her help, Dillamond is able to pronounce the word “Elphaba.”  According to Stephen Schwartz, this ending showed how Elphaba was able to do “good” with limited powers in complete anonymity; what she was unable to do under the watchful eyes of the citizens of Oz, she is able to do in obscurity…and, most importantly, she does this completely selflessly.

Contestants must e-mail unlimited_wicked@yahoo.com with their song/scene choice by Friday, September 4, 2009.  Please write “September contest” in the subject line and include your full name, e-mail address, song/scene title, and a very brief description of what you plan to do, specifying the type of media (visual artwork, stage directions, or video) you will be using.  You will receive a reply within 24 hours with more details.

Contestants will have until Wednesday, September 30, 2009, to submit their pieces via e-mail.

Winners will be chosen through a member voting process between October 3 and October 17.  At least one winner from each category will be chosen.  The winning submissions will be posted to the UNLIMITED web site.  Winners will each receive special prizes.

Good luck and have fun!