Based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel, Wicked is the story of the unlikely friendship between two vastly different girls in the Land of Oz, and their remarkable journey to ultimately become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.
The Story Begins at Shiz University
Elphaba is a green-skinned, outcast student at Shiz University, which she attends only to take care of her beautiful younger sister, Nessarose, who is confined to a wheelchair. It is there that she meets the attractive and popular Glinda. Although the girls share a mutual dislike for each other, the headmistress, Madame Morrible, decides to make them roommates.
An Unlikely Friendship is Born
After initially clashing, Elphaba and Glinda realize they have much to learn from each other, and grow to become best friends. They become so close that when Elphaba’s magical talent lands her an opportunity to meet the Wizard, she decides to take Glinda along with her to Oz.
Elphaba Defies the Wizard
Upon meeting the Wizard, Elphaba discovers that he has designs to use her magic prowess for evil, and flees with Glinda. When the Wizard warns all of Oz to beware of Elphaba—referring to her now as the “Wicked Witch”—she and Glinda must choose whether they will obey the Wizard’s commands, or rebel. Act II details the repercussions of the characters’ decisions, and ultimately provides the surprising stories behind all of the classic characters from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, including Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and of course, the Witches of Oz.
Wicked can most accurately be classified as a comedy musical, as it uses the fictitious Land of Oz to satirize society’s social, political, and ethical values.
See Wicked Live
Broadway: The original production opened at the Gershwin Theatre on Oct. 30, 2003, and continues to run performances today.
London: The West End production began at the Apollo Victoria Theatre on Sept. 27, 2006, and is scheduled to run through April 2014.
On Tour: With two North American National Tours currently in progress, the show is set to hit major cities including New Orleans, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, and more through 2013 and beyond.
Box Office Success
According to box office reports, it took Wicked just 14 months to recover its initial $14 million production cost.
Since opening in 2003, the musical has cumulatively grossed approximately $3 billion worldwide.
Wicked is the only musical in history to have achieved the status of highest-grossing production on Broadway for nine consecutive years.
In December 2013, Wicked broke the Broadway record for highest single-week gross ever, taking in nearly $3 million over nine performances at the Gershwin Theatre in New York.
Author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West: Gregory Maguire
Playwright: Winnie Holzman
Music and Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz
Director: Joe Mantello
Musical Staging: Wayne Cilento
Scenic Designer: Eugene Lee
Costume Designer: Susan Hilferty
Lighting Designer: Kenneth Posner
Sound Designer: Tony Meola
Projection Designer: Elaine J. McCarthy
Wig and Hair Designer: Tom Watson
The love and admiration audiences and critics have had for Wicked has been continuous since the production's Broadway debut in October 2003. Of the 10 Tony Award nominations it received, it went on to win three including:
Best Actress in a Musical (Idina Menzel)
Best Costume Design
Best Scenic Design
The original production also won six Drama Desk Awards and a GRAMMY for Best Musical Theater Album.
Original Broadway Cast
Idina Menzel (Elphaba) | Menzel won a Tony Award in 2004 for her role as Elphaba, and was also nominated for a Tony for her portrayal of Maureen in the original production of Rent. Off the stage, Menzel played Shelby Corcoran on Fox’s Glee, has appeared in many feature films, and has released several solo albums.
Kristin Chenoweth (Glinda) | An accomplished television, film, and theater actress, Chenoweth received a Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical in 1999 for her role in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and was nominated for another for her performance in Wicked. The talented performer has also won an Emmy, which she claimed in 2009 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on the short-lived Pushing Daisies, and also has released multiple studio albums.
Norbert Leo Butz (Fiyero) | One of only nine actors to have ever won two separate Tony Awards for “Best Leading Actor in a Musical,” Butz took home the top prize in 2005 for his role in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and again in 2011 for his role in Catch Me if You Can.
Carole Shelley (Madame Morrible) | This English actress won a Tony Award in 1979 for her performance in Elephant Man, and has played many roles on stage, television, and film in multiple eras. She has also lent her voice to countless animated films.
Michelle Federer (Nessarose) | Federer made her Broadway debut in 2003 for her role in Wicked and has since gone on to appear in other stage productions, as well as the television show Smash on NBC.
Christopher Fitzgerald (Boq) | Besides being featured in several television and film roles, Fitzgerald was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance as Igor in the Broadway production of Young Frankenstein.
William Youmans (Dr. Dillamond) | Before his role in Wicked, Youmans originated the role of John Jacob Astor in Titanic: the Musical in 1997. He has since made several appearances in both film and television.
Joel Grey (The Wizard) | This skilled actor has starred in several films, television shows, and Broadway productions, winning an Academy Award, Tony Award, and Golden Globe Award for his efforts on the stage and screen.
Wicked has had success during its runs in Chicago, and from June 2005-06, audiences were treated to performances by former Saturday Night Live star, Ana Gasteyer, who originated the role of Elphaba in the Windy City.