Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz

Wicked is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman. It is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, an alternative telling of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and L. Frank Baum’s classic 1900 story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The musical is told from the perspective of the witches of the Land of Oz; its plot begins before and continues after Dorothy’s arrival in Oz from Kansas, and it includes several references to the 1939 film and Baum’s novel. Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (whose name later changes to Glinda the Good Witch), who struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, reactions to the Wizard’s corrupt government and, ultimately, Elphaba’s public fall from grace.

Produced by Universal Stage Productions in coalition with Marc Platt, Jon B. Platt and David Stone, with direction by Joe Mantello and choreography by Wayne Cilento, the original production of Wicked premiered on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre in October 2003, after completing pre-Broadway tryouts at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre in April 2003. Its original stars included Idina Menzel as Elphaba, Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, and Joel Grey as the Wizard. The original Broadway production won three Tony Awards and six Drama Desk Awards, while its original cast album received a Grammy Award.

Wicked celebrated its tenth anniversary on Broadway on October 30, 2013. On February 14, 2016, Wicked performed its 5124th performance with a 2 p.m. matinee, making Wicked the 10th longest-running Broadway show, passing Rent. A typical performance runs for approximately two hours and 30 minutes, plus a 15-minute intermission.

The success of the Broadway production has spawned several other productions worldwide, including various North American productions, a long-running Laurence Olivier Award–nominated West End production and a series of international productions. Since its 2003 debut, Wicked has broken box office records around the world, currently holding weekly-gross-takings records in Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis and London. In the week ending January 2, 2011, the London, Broadway and both North American touring productions simultaneously broke their respective records for the highest weekly gross.  In the final week of 2013, the Broadway production broke this record again, earning $3.2 million. The West End production and the North American tour have each been seen by over two million patrons.

Wicked officially opened on June 10, 2003 at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, after previews began on May 28, in a pre-Broadway tryout presented by SHN. The cast included Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, Idina Menzel as Elphaba, Robert Morse as the Wizard, Norbert Leo Butz as Fiyero, Michelle Federer as Nessarose, Carole Shelley as Madame Morrible, John Horton as Doctor Dillamond, and Kirk McDonald as Boq while Stephanie J. Block, who originally read the role of Elphaba in workshop development, served as an ensemble member and understudied the lead role. The tryout closed on June 29, 2003, and after extensive retooling, the musical began previews on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre on October 8, 2003, and made its official premiere on October 30. Most of the original production team and cast members remained with the show, with the exception of some minor ensemble changes and the replacement of Robert Morse with Joel Grey as the Wizard, John Horton with William Youmans as Doctor Dillamond and Kirk McDonald with Christopher Fitzgerald as Boq, while Eden Espinosa and Laura Bell Bundy were added as standbys for Elphaba and Glinda respectively.

Wicked Broadway Musical On Tour

In 2005, the first national tour of Wicked (called the “Emerald City Tour” by the producers) started in Toronto, Ontario, and has since visited numerous cities throughout the United States and Canada. Stephanie J. Block was set to open the tour as Elphaba with previews beginning March 8, but after having sustained a minor injury in rehearsal, Kristy Cates temporarily took her place. Previews were therefore postponed until the following day. After some delay, Block made her debut on March 25, and the tour officially opened on March 31. The original touring cast also included Kendra Kassebaum as Glinda, Derrick Williams as Fiyero, Jenna Leigh Green as Nessarose, Carol Kane as Madame Morrible, Timothy Britten Parker as Doctor Dillamond, Logan Lipton as Boq, and David Garrison as the Wizard. After a decade of shows, the tour concluded at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles on March 15, 2015. The tour played 4,160 performances at 124 engagements, and grossed over $790 million (an average of $1.5 million a week). It was seen by 10.3 million people in 55 cities. The closing cast included Jennifer DiNoia as Elphaba, Chandra Lee Schwartz as Glinda, Nick Adams as Fiyero, Kim Zimmer as Madam Morrible, Tim Kazurinsky as The Wizard, Jenny Florkowski as Nessarose, Tom Flynn as Doctor Dillamond and Etai Benson as Boq.

The second national tour of Wicked (called the “Munchkinland Tour”) began in 2009 with previews on March 7 and official opening night on March 12 at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers, Florida. Like the first, this touring production has since visited numerous cities throughout North America. The original cast starred Marcie Dodd as Elphaba, Helene Yorke as Glinda, Colin Donnell as Fiyero, Kristine Reese as Nessarose, Marilyn Caskey as Madame Morrible, David deVries as Doctor Dillamond, Ted Ely as Boq and Tom McGowan as the Wizard.

Find out more about Wicked musical at Wikipedia.