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Remember the last time an original Broadway musical made you laugh, cry and think - in the right places, and for the right reasons?
Elysa Gardner, US TodayBuy Tickets
The original 1903 Broadway musical, THE WIZARD OF OZ, with a book and lyrics by Oz's novelist creator, L. Frank Baum, initially ran at the Majestic for 293 performances and then returned for an additional 171; quite a hefty run at that time.
THE WIZ, now being prepped for a December 3d live performance on NBC, played a whopping 1,672 performances after its 1975 opening.
Both of those shows were certainly popular, but just not quite as popular as Wicked, which tonight at eight proceeds with its 5,000th Broadway performance. Bookwriter Winnie Holzman and composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz's phenomenal hit, based on Gregory Maguire's novel, "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" celebrates its 12th anniversary at the Gershwin Theatre on Friday.
WICKED is currently #11 on the list of Broadway's long-running productions, with the #1 and #2 spots occupied respectively by PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and the revival of CHICAGO, both still running.
Idina Menzel won a Tony for her performance as the misunderstood Elphaba, who learns to defy gravity in more ways than one. Her final performance in the role was intended to be January 9th, 2005, with standby Shoshana Bean slated to take over. But an accident at the previous day's matinee cracked her lower rib. Though Bean went on as Elphaba on the 9th, Menzel popped on stage for the final scene, wearing a red track suit.
Rachel Tucker currently dons Elphaba's green makeup eight times a week, and before her the role has been played on Broadway by such notables as Stephanie J. Block, Eden Espinosa, Ana Gasteyer, Mandy Gonzalez, Julia Murney and Teal Wicks.
Kristin Chenoweth was already a Tony winner for YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN, when she flew back into town as Glinda. Kara Lindsay now plays the popular one and in between audiences have enjoyed the likes of Annaleigh Ashford, Jenni Barber, Megan Hilty, Alli Mauzey, Lindsay Mendez, Kate Reinders and Jennifer Laura Thompson in the role.
Broadway legend Joel Grey opened on Broadway as The Wizard, a role currently handled by the wonderful character man, Fred Applegate. In between P. J. Benjamin, David Garrison, George Hearn, Ben Vereen and Lenny Wolpe have all worked their magic.
Madame Morrible is a role that has attracted beloved older actresses to the Gershwin, exemplified by originator, Carole Shelley and the current Michelle Lee. Audiences have also delighted in seeing Carol Kane and Rue McClanahan as well as younger stars Jayne Houdyshell and Mary Testa.
Norbert Leo Butz had two Tony Awards ahead of him when he swooped into town as Fiyero. Jonah Platt is now making audiences swoon as did Sebastian Arcelus, Taye Diggs, Kyle Dean Massey, Joey McIntyre and Aaron Tveit.
Those are just some of the great performers who have journeyed to Oz in WICKED. Who have been some of your favorites?
WICKED has been declared "A Cultural Phenomenon" by Variety and "The Best Musical of the Decade" by Entertainment Weekly. Since its New York premiere over a decade ago, Wicked has been performed in over 100 cities in 13 countries around the world (U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, The Philippines, and Mexico) and has thus far been translated into five languages: Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Korean. The musical currently has four productions around the world, in New York, London, a U.K. Tour, and a North American National Tour.
Photos: Joan Marcus
Article reprinted with permission from www.BroadwayWorld.com
132 reviews, average rating: (4.9 Stars)
I tend to be wary of anything with the amount of hype Wicked has received, ... more
I recently took my wife to see the show, it was fantastic and highly reco... more
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