To say “Happy Birthday” to this Gravity Defying show, we are taking a look back at what makes this spell-binding musical so Popular. After all, it’s the 5th longest running musical that’s still on the West End.
Let’s start from the beginning…
In 1995, Gregory Maguire wrote this exceedingly popular book, exploring the untold story of the Wicked Witch of the West. The novel was not aimed at families, using adult language and containing mature themes, differing largely from L. Frank Baum’s original story. The story follows Elphaba (a name inspired by el-L. pha-Frank ba-Baum), a misunderstood animal rights activist and witch. After reading it on holiday, the composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz, began to realise its potential for a stage adaption and set about obtaining the rights. Work-shopping the show began with Kristin Chenoweth and Stepanie J. Block (who would return to the show for the first National Tour and a later Broadway run).
On its first proper outing, Wicked starred Idina Menzel as Elphaba and Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, and was a pre-Broadway tryout at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, where it somewhat split the critics (although the majority of responses were positive). After a short period of re-working and polishing, the show made it’s Broadway debut at the Gershwin Theatre on the 30th of October 2003. Receiving critical acclaim and through word of mouth, the show caused quite a stir in the theatre scene and caused box office sales to rocket, leading audiences to unanimously fall in love with this magical mega-musical.
[Pictured above, Menzel waving to all of the San Fran haters]
The show would then go on to win 3 Tony Awards out of the 9 it was nominated for in 2004, including Best Actress for Idina Menzel (which both her and Chenoweth were nominated for). It also won 6 Drama Desk Awards that year including, Outstanding Musical and the soundtrack would win a Grammy the following year. Theatres all over the world were being left green with envy that they couldn’t house it. Cue the show becoming a global phenomenon, transferring to Australia, Japan, Germany among but a few of the many countries wanting a piece of this fantastic musical.
In September 2006, we finally got our piece of the action when the show opened to our wonderful West End at the Apollo Victoria Theatre (where it still resides after 10 glorious years). Idina Menzel reprised her Tony Award Winning role as Elphaba and was joined by Aussie hunk Adam Garcia as Fiyero and the beautiful Helen Dallimore as Glinda. Since then, the show has gone on to win the Olivier Audience Award twice, in 2015 and 2010.
Over the years, many faces have changed on our stage but the longest consecutively reigning Elphaba was Rachel Tucker, who entranced us for 3 years on the West End before departing for the Broadway version. This green queen now returns to grace the stage for Wicked UK‘s tenth birthday. Joining her are Anita Dobson as Madame Morrible (whom you might recognise as Angie Watts from Eastenders) and Suzie Mathers as Glinda (who is reprising the role after global success touring with the show, following her involvement with the Australian production). They began their 10th Anniversary run on Monday the 5th of September.
Book tickets to see Wicked with our Exclusive Mates Rate:
Bring a Group of 4-9 people and save up to £25 each!
Premium (£92.50) reduced to £67.50.
Band A reduced to £47.50.
Band B reduced to £37.50.
Minimum x4 people, Maximum x9 people.
Valid for Monday to Wednesday performances only.
Valid from Monday 28 November 2016 to Wednesday 30 March 2017 only.
Excluding wc 26 December 2016, Monday 2 January 2017 (singular) & wc 13 February 2017.
Bookable from Monday 28 November 2016 to Monday 5 December 2016 only.
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