‘Wicked’ Celebrates 15 Years on Broadway

Jessica Vosk as Elphaba in ‘Wicked’ (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Jessica Vosk as Elphaba in ‘Wicked’ (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Fifteen years is one heck of a run for a Broadway musical and, as of October 30, 2018, Wicked has achieved that rare milestone, one that few Broadway musicals will ever see. With no signs of slowing down, the Stephen Schwartz (score) and Winnie Holzman (book) musical is running strong, and enjoying myriad celebrations for its decade-and-a-half at Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre.

Wicked draws its inspiration from the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. The story offers an alternative perspective on the classic L. Frank Baum characters of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, imagining what happened in the Land of Oz long before Dorothy made her trip there by tornado.

Wicked opened on Broadway on October 30, 2003, under the direction of Joe Mantello, with choreography by Wayne Cilento. It soon became a sensation, winning a Tony Award for actress Idina Menzel, who originated the role of Elphaba (a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the West) in the production opposite the Glinda of Kristin Chenoweth (who was also Tony-nominated for her performance). Also in the original cast were Norbert Leo Butz as Fiyero, Carole Shelley as Madam Morrible, and Joel Grey as the (not-so) Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The musical resonated with young women in particular, who found the story of sisterly friendship, embracing one’s individuality, and finding the resolve to navigate a male-dominated society both relatable and empowering.

A phenomenon of epic proportions, Wicked soon began to enjoy a string of accolades and record-breaking benchmarks. The original Broadway cast recording of Wicked won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, and was later certified platinum in 2006. On July 12, 2018, after 6,138 performances, Wicked surpassed A Chorus Line to become Broadway’s sixth-longest running show, and will soon overtake Les Miserables to become the fifth longest-running Broadway musical of all time. March 2016 brought another feather in the musical’s cap, with Wicked transcending $1 billion in total Broadway revenue. The Phantom of the Opera and The Lion King are the only other shows to do so.

For its 15th Anniversary, the producers of Wicked lined up a series of events to celebrate the musical’s longevity on the Broadway stage, most notably the NBC broadcast A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway. The television event was recorded at Broadway’s Marquis Theatre in front of a live audience, reuniting Menzel and Chenoweth, who served as hosts for the festivities. Ariana GrandePentatonixAdam LambertLedisi and the current Broadway company of the musical sang songs from the show and reminisced.

It appears that Wicked will continue to touch generations of theatregoers for years to come. With such songs as “Defying Gravity,” “The Wizard and I,” “Popular,” “Dancing Through Life,” and “For Good” playing over and over in our minds and our hearts, a reported film version on the way, and tickets at the box office still selling strong, Wicked is here to stay, continuing to defy gravity.

Get great deals on tickets to Wicked right here on TicketsatWork.com.

By Mark Robinson

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