Broadway

Wicked

The Wicked marquee at the Oriental Theater in Chicago

Wicked is an alternative telling of The Wizard of Oz, focusing on The Wicked Witch of the West and Galinda, the good witch. It’s one of the only three Broadway shows to earn more than $1 billion and remains the second most successful Broadway show of all time next to The Lion King.

Debuting in 2003, Wicked is a musical by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman. It’s based on a 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. It’s a retelling of the classic 1900s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. This musical is told from the perspective of the witches of the Land of Oz, taking place before L. Frank Baum’s story ever began.

The original production of Wicked is produced by Universal Stage Productions in partnership with Jon B. Platt, Marc Platt, and David Stone, with direction by Joe Mantello and choreography by Wayne Cilento. It won three Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards. The original cast album also won a Grammy Award.

Broadway Production History

The production of Wicked opened on June 10, 2003, at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco. The original cast included:

  • Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda
  • IdinaMenzel as Elphaba
  • Norbert Leo Butz as Fiyero
  • Michelle Federer as Nessarose
  • Robert Morse as Wizard
  • Carole Shelley as Madame Morrible
  • John Horton as Dr. Dillamond
  • Kirk McDonald as Boq

Tryouts closed on June 29 that year, and after expensive retooling, it made its official premiere on October 30. Most of the original cast remained within the show, but some principal casting changes included Joel Gray as Wizard, Christopher Fitzgerald as Boq, and William Youmans as Dr. Dillamond.

Wicked was produced in North America, London, Ireland, Australia, and in different international locations.

As of March 2020, the production was suspended until January 3, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plot Overview

The story of Wicked highlights the untold stories of Oz’s most infamous characters, namely the Wicked Witch of the West and her unlikely friend, Glinda, the Good Witch. Before Dorothy was alive, two young girls met in the Land of Oz – one was born with emerald-green skin, a fiery spirit, and a brilliant mind named Elphaba, while the other was classically beautiful, blonde, and has great ambition, named Galinda.

The story starts when the Ozians are rejoicing over the demise of Elphaba, the wicked witch. Galinda, the good witch, floats in and discusses Elphaba’s past. The two used to be friends, and the memories of their life story started at Shiz University.

Elphaba was a rogue child, born with green skin color because her mother drank an elixir. Elphaba also had a sister named Nessarose, who is physically disabled and in a wheelchair. Due to her green skin, Elphaba’s father resents her and showers his affection on Nessarose. When the two sisters came to Shiz University, the local bosses took custody over Nessarose, leaving Elphaba with Galinda as her roommate. Elphaba desperately wanted to meet the Wizard of Oz, who allegedly was able to make her look like a usual person.

Elphaba has feelings for Winkie Prince Fiyero, but she knows he will never choose her. Fiyero was sympathetic to Elphaba, but he also liked Galinda. Elphaba went to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard of Oz, but the magician used the sorcerer girl’s abilities to take credit for his magic. She realizes that the Wizard has no powers and is a fraud. In despair, Elphaba stole an ancient book of spells and ran away.

Elphaba’s opposition to the Wizard’s regime has earned her the title Wicked Witch of the West. Galinda became known as Glinda the Good and positioned by The Wizard as the nation’s defender against Elphaba. Fiyero became a captain of the guard and announced his engagement to Glinda.

A guy named Boq was secretly in love with Glinda, though Nessarose loved him. After the death of his father, Bog became governor of Munchinland. Boq decided to confess his feelings to Glinda, and a jealous Nessarose tries to cast a spell to make Boq fall in love with her. However, Nessarose mispronounces the spell and accidentally shrinks Boq’s heart, earning her the title “Wicked Witch of the East.” Elphaba tried to save him and turned him into the Tin Woodman.

Elphaba returns to the Wizard to free the monkey servants. The Wizard tries to convince her to work with him and offers to redeem Elphaba’s reputation. When Elphaba saw Dr. Dillamond lost his power of speech, she was angered and accused the Wizard, but the Wizard calls the guards to arrest her. Fiyero and the guards enter, but Fiyero helps Elphaba escape and leaves with her. Fiyero and Elphaba were surprised by their feelings for one another, though they acknowledge that there’s no hope for them pairing up.

Meanwhile, Glinda suggests to the Wizard and Madame Morrible to use Nessarose as bait to find and capture Elphaba. Madame Morrible conjures a tornado. Elphaba and Fiyero’s moment together was interrupted when Elphaba had a vision that her sister is in danger. They found that Nessarose has been crushed by a house with a girl named Dorthy and a dog named Toto inside. Fueled by their rivalry over Fiyero, Glinda and Elphaba had a heated argument.

Guards then found Elphaba, but when they tried to arrest her, Fiyero tried to make her escape. He surrendered, and the other guards tied him to the pole and carried him to the field where Elphaba was. Gilda pleas the guards not to harm Fiyero, but they did not listen as they plan to torture him. To save Fiyero, Elphaba turned him to a scarecrow so he won’t feel any pain.

The citizens have united in declaring war against Elphaba. Glinda travels to the castle to warn her of the danger, and persuade her to let Dorothy and Toto go. Elphaba refuses to do so until she receives a letter saying that Fiyero died. The two witches forgive each other and embrace for the last time before saying goodbye. As the mob arrives, Elphaba stages her death by melting and gives Glinda the previously stolen magical book.

Meanwhile, Fiyero, now a scarecrow, comes to the place where Elphaba “melted.” He knocks on the floor and out from a trap door steps Elphaba. She pretended to be dead to get rid of her enemies and to be with Fiyero. Glinda finishes the story. The people celebrate, and Glinda quietly mourns. Elphaba and Fiyero leave Oz for good.

Songs

Act I

  • “Overture” – Orchestra
  • “No One Mourns the Wicked” – Glinda, Witch’s Father, Witch’s Mother, Midwife, Ensemble
  • “Dear Old Shiz” – Ensemble
  • “The Wizard and I” – Madame Morrible, Elphaba
  • “What is this Feeling?” – Glinda, Elphaba, Ensemble
  • “Something Bad” – Dr. Dillamond, Elphaba
  • “Dancing Through Life” – Fiyero, Glinda, Boq, Nessarose, Elphaba, Ensemble
  • “Popular” – Glinda
  • “I’m Not That Girl” – Elphaba
  • “One Short Day” – Elphaba, Glinda, Ensemble
  • “A Sentimental Man” – The Wizard
  • “Defying Gravity” – Elphaba, Glinda, Company

Act II

  • “No One Mourns the Wicked” (reprise) – Ensemble
  • “Thank Goodness” – Glinda, Madam Morrible, Ensemble
  • “The Wicked Witch of the East” – Elphaba, Nessarose, Boq
  • “Wonderful” – The Wizard and Elphaba
  • “I’m Not That Girl” (reprise) – Glinda
  • “As Long As You’re Mine” – Elphaba, Fiyero
  • “No Good Deed” – Elphaba
  • “March of the Witch Hunters” – Boq, Ensemble
  • “For Good” – Glinda and Elphaba
  • “Finale: For Good (reprise)” – Elphaba, Glinda, Company

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