Theaters have been used for centuries as places where people can critically discuss the nature of their lives, but a recent rise in mega musicals that focus on spectacle degrades the purposes of theatre. To ensure theatre’s place in the present and future public sphere, an examination of current theatrical production must occur. In this project I discuss how the commercialization of theatre is detrimental to the public sphere by using the musical Wicked as an example. I compare the musical to its supposed source material, Gregory Maguire’s Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, to show how musicals are adapted to entertain mainstream audiences. To understand why commercialization is debasing theatre’s position, I use public sphere theory along with theories of spectacle to explain theatre’s past and present situation in the public sphere. I perform a content analysis of the musical Wicked’s characters, plot, and theme in comparison to the same elements in the novel. These differences support the claim that musicals are not critical pieces of drama in comparison to other forms of media. The results support the claim that musicals do not contribute as much to the realm of critical and rational debate as straight plays do. This is due to the general nature of the musical: structure, characters, and themes are reused, and as a result there are limited alternative viewpoints. This trend is also due to the ridiculous amount of spectacle in musicals, which often outweighs the plot, characters, and themes. When spectacle overcomes character and plot, there is less room for critical discussion of any kind since the production focuses on entertainment rather than informing. Wicked’s abundant use of elements from The Wizard of Oz movie from 1939 illustrates how musical creators manipulate an audience to increase ticket sales. The rise of the mega musical in American culture has led to a deterioration of theatre within the public sphere. Mass audiences have been trained to enjoy these musicals and to expect certain structural elements, such as heterosexual romances and characters that break out into song and dance. The audiences involved in the musical theatre world have become disconnected and lazy, disregarding rich thematic story elements in exchange for more spectacle. Broadway musicals are becoming larger and therefore need more money to be produced. This means less money for critically engaging pieces of theatre to be produced on a nationallyrecognized venue. This small-scale public sphere issue may be reflective of a larger commercialized culture in which spectacle overcomes substance.