The producers of Wicked announced yesterday that booking has been extended through 27 April, 2013. The smash-hit musical first opened at the Apollo Victoria Theatre on 27 September, 2006. One of the largest venues in the West End, the theatre was specifically redesigned with new merchandise stands and a refit of its bars, reflecting the producers’ predictions that the show would prove to be a long-runner.
Whilst rumours have abounded that some West End productions would close during the Olympics, Wicked has announced it has no intentions to make major adjustments as a result of the games in July and August. However, it has cancelled the evening performance on 27 July to avoid coinciding with the Opening Ceremony. An extra matinee performance has been scheduled for the day before.
The current cast of Wicked includes Rachel Tucker as Elphaba, Gina Beck as Glinda, Matt Willis as Fiyero, Desmond Barrit as the Wizard, Julie Legrand as Madame Morrible, Lillie Flynn as Nessarose, Christopher Howell as Doctor Dillamond, and Adam Pettigrew as Boq. The production won the 2010 Olivier Audience Award for Most Popular Show.
Wicked joins Mamma Mia!, which also announced its intentions to run into April 2013 after its transfer to the Novello Theatre in September.
Have you seen the show yet? What do you think of this news? Leave your comments in the box below.
Before the story of witches of Oz’s early years made it to the stage, it was told in Gregory Maguire’s popular 1995 novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. A prequel and parallel story to L. Frank Baum’s classic, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, it follows Elphaba, the infamous Witch of the West, through her birth, education, and ultimately her rise to power in opposition to the Wizard of Oz. The phrase, “history is written by the victors,” comes to mind as Maguire explores the other side of the quintessential American fairy tale, portraying Elphaba not as a wicked witch, but as a brave, ethical leader combatting an oppressive and brutal regime.
Whilst The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its beloved film adaptation are geared towards children, Wicked is decidedly aimed at adults. This Oz is not a glossy enchanted land but a totalitarian state run by the malevolent and all-powerful Wizard of Oz. The novel contains modern political themes, as various factions in Oz compete for power. Most notably, the Animals of Oz, who can speak and act as humans do, are fighting for equal rights, and Elphaba joins their cause. Despite being enemies in the original children’s book, in Wicked, Elphaba and Galinda (later Glinda) are good friends who study magic together, before Glinda becomes a more prominent sorceress in the Emerald City. Elphaba is shown to be a proponent of civil rights, freedom, and justice, a far cry from her depiction in The Wizard of Oz.
Surprisingly, Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, first published in 1900, is seen by many to be a political allegory as well, depicting the American political landscape at the turn of the century. Dorothy’s companions can be viewed as depictions of various political groups, who to date had failed to come together to protect their common interests, with the Scarecrow representing farmers, the Tin Man symbolising industrial workers, and the Coward Lion seen as a parody of William Jennings Bryan, a prominent politician and leader of the Populist movement. Baum was the J.K. Rowling of his day, with Oz being the best-selling children’s book for more than two years in a row. After thousands of children wrote to him demanding a sequel, he published The Marvelous Land of Oz in 1904 and wrote three additional Oz stories before declaring that 1911’s The Emerald City of Oz would be the last, as Oz had lost contact with the rest of the world. Children again refused to accept this, and he relented, publishing a new Oz book each year from 1913 until his death in 1919. Ruth Plumly Thompson then inherited the task of keeping Oz’s history alive, writing an additional 21 sequels.
The Wizard of Oz reached new heights of popularity when it was made into a film starring Judy Garland in 1939. The film was a financial and critical success, and it continues to rank in critics’ listings of the top 10 films of all-time. Maguire cleverly plays on the differences between the original book and the film. Whilst in the book, Dorothy’s shoes are silver, the film changed them to ruby slippers to take better advantage of the new Technicolor process. To avoid choosing one version of the story over the other, Maguire makes no reference to their colour, instead referring to their shine and rarity. One key detail that he takes from the film is the Wicked Witch’s green skin, a characteristic that does not appear in Baum’s original novel.
After scoring a best-selling hit with Wicked, Maguire wrote three sequels. Son of a Witch follows the adventures of Elphaba’s son, Liir, A Lion Among Men tells the story of Oz’s civil wars through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion, and Out of Oz, the last in the series, chronicles Glinda’s life under house arrest, the Cowardly Lion on the run from the law, and Dorothy’s return to Oz. After being adapted into a hit musical, Wicked is currently being developed as a film, with original Broadway stars, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenowith, rumoured to be reprising their roles. In addition, ABC has teamed up with Salma Hayek’s production company to produce a non-musical TV miniseries based on the books.
Tonight, Wicked will celebrate its fifth anniversary in London at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. The musical opened on 27th September 2006 to mixed reviews from critics, but very shortly proved the naysayers wrong with shows selling out and the cast playing to packed audiences night after night. Today, Wicked has taken over £145m at the box office and the Apollo Victoria has welcomed nearly 4 million visitors through its doors, with eager theatregoers keen to see what all of the fuss is about.
A prequel to the classic story by L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz, Wicked at first seems an unlikely tale about the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, and the Good Witch of the North – Glinda. Written as a novel in 1995 by Gregory Maguire, the story traces the youth of the polar-opposite witches whilst they are roommates at university studying sorcery. Due to its themes of friendship and self-consciousness about appearance, the show has won over the hearts of many teenagers as well as appealing to people from all walks of life through its incredible visual effects and powerful songs.
Wicked has outlasted all of the other shows that opened the same year at the West End, proving to be a mighty success and an asset to the West End, despite those first reviews. Having received numerous awards and taking bookings until October 2012, Wicked looks set to continue to be a permanent fixture at the Apollo Victoria.
Have you seen Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London? What do you like about the green-tinged show about insecurity, freedom of speech and friendship? Post comments and reviews in the box below!
Opening in London in 2006, Wicked has achieved tremendous success, wowing audiences and critics alike with the tale of two witches. First opening on Broadway in 2003, Wicked quickly picked up three Tony Awards and even a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. Further awards have included nine WhatsOnStage Awards, an Evening Standard Theatre Award, six Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical and two Olivier Awards, including the 2010 Most Popular Show and 2015 This Morning Audience Award.
Adapted from Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel, Wicked is the musical backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good, and how they came to be known as the most famous witches of Oz. With flying monkeys, ruby red slippers and a tornado-topping house, Wicked is the definitive prequel of the well-known The Wizard of Oz, with several nods towards the 1939 film starring Judy Garland. A dazzling theatrical spectacle which features a myriad of now well-known songs, we come to discover how the witches earned their glorious and terrifying reputations, long before Dorothy arrived on the scene.
Wicked opens at a sorcery school, where two young and extremely different students are paired in the same dorm room. From here, Elphaba and Galinda begin a tumultuous relationship that spans ambition, morality, love and eventually friendship. When the girls both fall for Winkie Prince Fiyero, their friendship is pulled into question. However, the pair soon learn that their love for each other is stronger than love for any man, and together, they use their powers to fight the oppressive regime of the Wizard and Madame Morrible. But when Elphaba’s powers begin to spiral out of control, she must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to save Oz.
Cast and Creative
With music and lyrics by the supremely talented musical theatre legend Stephen Schwartz, Wicked was a guaranteed success. His most notable works include penning the memorable music in Godspell, Pippin, Children of Eden and The Baker’s Wife.Schwartz’ career spanned across both theatre and film, with his extensive screen credits including The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas and the Academy Award-winning song “When You Believe” from The Prince of Egypt. Wicked also features a book by Winnie Holzman, with direction from Joe Mantello, whose previous works have included Assassins, Take Me Out, The Odd Couple, 9 to 5: The Musical and Dogfight.
A whole host of famous musical theatre stars have donned the black hat of Elphaba, including Idina Menzel, Kerry Ellis, Rachel Tucker, Willemijn Verkaik and Emma Hatton amongst many others. Glinda’s glittering dresses have been worn by Kristin Chenoweth, Megan Hilty, Dianne Pilkington, Annaleigh Ashford and Gina Beck, to name but a few!
“No One Mourns the Wicked” – Galinda and Citizens of Oz
“Dear Old Shiz” – Students and Galinda
“The Wizard and I” – Madame Morrible and Elphaba
“What is this Feeling?” – Galinda, Elphaba and Students
“Something Bad” – Doctor Dillamond and Elphaba
“Dancing Through Life” – Fiyero, Glinda, Boq, Nessarose, Elphaba and Students
“Popular” – Galinda
“I’m Not That Girl” – Elphaba
“One Short Day” – Elphaba, Glinda and Citizens of the Emerald City
“A Sentimental Man” – The Wizard
“Defying Gravity” – Elphaba, Glinda, Guards and Citizens of Oz
“Thank Goodness” – Glinda, Madame Morrible and Citizens of Oz
“The Wicked Witch of the East” – Elphaba, Nessarose and Boq
“Wonderful” – The Wizard and Elphaba
“I’m Not That Girl” (reprise) – Glinda
“As Long as You’re Mine” – Elphaba and Fiyero
“No Good Deed” – Elphaba
“March of the Witch Hunters” – Boq and Citizens of Oz
“For Good” – Glinda and Elphaba
“Finale” – All
Show Lengths and Times
Wicked opened at the Apollo Victoria Theatre London in 2006 and is continuing to book into 2017. Performances are at 7:30pm every day, excluding Sundays, with matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2:30pm.
Show running time is approximately 2hrs and 45mins, including an interval.
Suitable for Children?
Wicked is relatively family-friendly, with a parental guidance recommendation of ages 7 and up. Please note that children under the age of 3 will not be admitted into the theatre.
Tickets for Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre London are now on sale and you can book them above, by using the search form on the right of the page.
Have you seen Wicked? If so please share your thoughts in the comments section below!