This Month on Broadway – Celebrating 20 Years of Wicked
In the realm of theatrical mastery, few productions have captured the hearts of audiences worldwide quite as dramatically as Wicked. This October, not only are we ushering in the fall season but also celebrating a milestone of note – the 20th anniversary of this Broadway sensation.
Born out of the imaginative genius of Winnie Holzman and Stephen Schwartz and based on the critically acclaimed novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked premiered on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre on October 30, 2003. It has been an unstoppable force ever since, defying gravity and setting new standards for musical theater. The show, a unique and poignant prequel to The Wizard of Oz, explores the complex relationship between Elphaba, a misunderstood girl with emerald-green skin, and Glinda, a bubbly and popular blonde.
In the two decades since its debut, Wicked has not only ruled Broadway but has also left an indelible footprint in popular culture. It has been lauded for its profoundly resonant themes of friendship, acceptance, and standing up for one’s beliefs. With unforgettable showstoppers like “Defying Gravity” and “For Good,” it has seeped into the fabric of our everyday lives, transcending the boundaries of the stage and becoming a cultural phenomenon.
The original cast of Wicked included a stellar lineup, many of whom have gone on to have illustrious careers in theatre and beyond. Idina Menzel, who originated the role of Elphaba, has since become a household name, voicing Elsa in Disney’s Frozen franchise and appearing in various other film, television, and stage projects. Kristin Chenoweth, the original Glinda, has continued to bewitch audiences in roles on both small and big screens.
Joel Grey (The Wizard) was already a Broadway legend with a Tony Award® and an Oscar when Wicked came around and has maintained a busy career in theatre, television, and film since, receiving another Tony in 2023 for Lifetime Achievement. Norbert Leo Butz (Fiyero) has made waves on Broadway and on television, winning two Tony Awards and starring in Netflix’s Bloodline. Carole Shelley (Madame Morrible) continued her Broadway career until her passing in 2018.
Idina Menzel’s journey from Elphaba to Elsa is one of Broadway’s most enchanting tales. After Wicked, Menzel took a leap to the silver screen, lending her powerful voice to Elsa in Frozen and its sequel, Frozen II. She also reprised her role as Maureen in the film adaptation of Rent.
Kristin Chenoweth, who brought Glinda to life, has been a constant presence in film and television. From her Emmy-winning role in Pushing Daisies to her recent role in Schmigadoon!, Chenoweth’s career has been as varied as it is impressive.
Wicked has also been featured in various popular culture moments over the years, such as its songs featured in multiple television series, including a dedicated episode on Glee. Recently, songs like “Popular” and “Defying Gravity” have found new life on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels. These songs have become anthems for self-expression, acceptance, and resilience, demonstrating the timeless relevance of Wicked. Whether it’s a viral dance routine or a heartfelt cover, the show continues to inspire and resonate with audiences 20 years on.
Experiencing Wicked from the audience is a magical journey, but have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes? The Behind the Emerald Curtain experience provides a unique opportunity to peek into the world of this phenomenal production. This includes a comprehensive tour that unveils some of the secrets behind the show’s spectacular costumes, props, and sets, as well as a Q&A session with performers from the show. It’s an enlightening experience that gives fans a deeper understanding and appreciation of the hard work and creativity that goes into every performance.
The celebration of the show’s 20th anniversary is set to be a thrilling extravaganza, with a plethora of events tailor-made for fans of this iconic show. There will be a two-day, three-performance celebration across a matinee and evening performance on October 29 and an evening performance on October 30.
Fans are in for a treat with the “Pink” Glinda show and the “Green” Elphaba show, culminating in an overall anniversary show. Each ticket-holder will receive a gift bag and have the opportunity for photo ops, truly making this a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any Wicked enthusiast.
In addition to the performances, there’s also the Unlimited: Celebrating Twenty Years of Wicked on Broadway event. This is an exclusive opportunity for fans to dive deeper into the creation and legacy of Wicked. The creators of the Broadway hit will gather at the Bruno Walter Auditorium in the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to reminisce about the process of launching the original production and reflect on the astonishing journey of the show over the past two decades.
As the leaves start to fall this October, Broadway is gearing up to paint the town green, celebrating two decades of a show that has truly defied gravity.
Wicked continues to enjoy a thriving fan base even two decades after its premiere. Fans show their love in a myriad of ways, from cosplay and fan art to social media tributes and theatrical renditions. One such tribute is Todrick Hall’s YouTube musical, Straight Outta Oz, which draws inspiration from both The Wizard of Oz and Wicked. The musical explores similar themes of identity and acceptance, as well as themes of religion and LGBTQ+, further extending the reach of the show’s message.
Social media platforms are buzzing with excitement and nostalgia as the 20th anniversary approaches. Fans across the globe are sharing their favorite moments, songs, and quotes from the show, showcasing its enduring appeal and influence.
Fans of Wicked have further cause for celebration, as a film adaptation of the beloved musical is set to hit the big screen in 2024. The project has been a long time coming, with rumors swirling for years about a potential movie. The film will be directed by Jon M. Chu, known for his work on Crazy Rich Asians and In the Heights. The anticipation for the movie adaptation has been further fueled by the recent announcement that the acclaimed actress and singer Cynthia Erivo will be stepping into the emerald shoes of Elphaba, and pop superstar Ariana Grande will be donning the crown as Glinda, marking a new chapter in the legacy of the original show.
Expectations for the film adaptation are sky-high, with fans hoping for a faithful rendition of the beloved musical that also brings something fresh and exciting to the table. As the film’s release draws nearer, the anticipation continues to build.
If you’ve never seen Wicked, or if you’re a seasoned fan who would like to relive the magic, there’s never been a better time to see the show. In October 2023, as Broadway lights up in a dazzling display of emerald green, immerse yourself in a world where good is wicked, wicked is good, and nothing is quite as it seems.
Here’s to 20 years of Wicked and to many more years of defying gravity. As the show’s anthem goes, “Everyone deserves the chance to fly,” and this October, we invite you to take that chance and soar into the magical world of Wicked.