A cultural phenomenon, Wicked has been casting a spell over audiences across the world for 15 years. Taking a story you know and love and turning it into a delightful, thought-provoking show, the musical, which plays at Apollo Victoria Theatre, proves things aren’t always as they seem.
Wicked is based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked: The Life And Times Of The Wicked Witch Of The West – an unofficial prequel to the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Written by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, the show tells an alternate story about Elphaba and Glinda – better known as the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch of the South respectively. Starting before Dorothy arrives in Oz, it deals with the complexities of good and evil, as well as social preconceptions.
Opening in 2003 on Broadway, its familiar-yet-different story and fiercely talented cast made it an instant success. With an incredible score – including Defying Gravity, Popular and No One Mourns The Wicked, all of which have become musical anthems – sung by Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, the musical won favour from both audiences and critics.
Having been nominated for 10 Tony Awards and five Olivier Awards, this is a show everyone and their dog (let’s call him “Toto”) should see.
What is Wicked about?
A re-imagining of The Wizard Of Oz, Wicked tells the story of the smart, shy, green-skinned Elphaba and the blond, popular Glinda. Brought together by fate on the first day of sorcery school, the unlikely pair form a profound bond neither expected.
But the pair’s seemingly unshakeable friendship is put to the test when they meet The Wizard of Oz. The famed wizard reveals the differences between Elphaba and Glinda, forcing them on two very different paths which eventually lead to them fulfilling their destinies as The Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.
What age is Wicked appropriate for?
Wicked is suitable for audiences aged 8 and up. Children under 3 will not be allowed into the theatre.
How long is Wicked?
Wicked is 2 hours and 45 minutes long including one interval. Performances are usually at 7.30pm Monday to Saturday, with matinees at 2.30pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Where is Wicked playing in London?
Wicked is playing at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. It premiered in September 2006 and has remained there ever since.
How do I get to the Apollo Victoria Theatre?
To get to the show, you can travel to Victoria underground, overground, coach and bus station, which is approximately 50 metres from the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
Will Wicked be touring?
Wicked is on tour right now (15 December). It will be playing at the Bristol Hippodrome from 31st January to 3 March 2018 and the Liverpool Empire Theatre from 7 March to 31 March 2018.
Who is in the London cast of Wicked?
Wicked is famed for its principal cast members. The current cast stars Alice Fearn, Sophie Evans and Melanie La Barrie. Previous West End cast members include the likes of Idina Menzel, Kerry Ellis, Miriam Margoyles and Adam Garcia.
- Alice Fearn plays Elphaba. Alice has appeared in Les Misérables, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Into The Woods. She’s following a long line of incredible actors who have played the green-skinned witch in London including Louise Dearman (who’s played both Elphaba and Glinda), Idina Menzel and Kerry Ellis.
- Sophie Evans plays Glinda. Sophie shot to fame after appearing in BBC’s Over The Rainbow. She came second in the musical theatre competition but eventually took the winning role of Dorothy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Wizard Of Oz in 2012. It feels only fitting that she’s now playing the seemingly Good Witch, which was played by Kristin Chenoweth in the original Broadway production.
- Bradley Jaden plays Fiyero. Prior to playing Fiyero in the West End production, Bradley brought Elphaba and Glinda’s love interest to life in the show’s UK Tour. Fiyero has been played by a number of recognisable faces including Adam Garcia, Ben Freeman and Lee Mead.
- Melanie La Barrie plays Madame Morrible. Melanie originated the role of Mrs Phelps in Matilda The Musical, and was previously a radio DJ and Trinidadian celebrity. Previous West End Madame Morribles include Harriet Thorpe, Susie Blake and Anita Dobson.
- Andy Hockley plays The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Andy has appeared in The Phantom Of The Opera, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Full Monty. London’s Wizard was originally played by Nigel Planner and has since been portrayed by names such as Sam Kelly and Mark Curry.
- Martin Ball plays Doctor Dillamond. Martin has appeared on the West End in The Phantom Of The Opera, Les Misérables, Mamma Mia! and he originated the role of Doctor Dillamond.
- Sarah McNicholas plays Nessarose. Sarah has appeared in Evita and Carrie. Nessarose has previously been played by Natalie Anderson and Katie Rowley Jones.
- Jack Lansbury plays Boq. Jack is making his West End debut in the production.
Where did Wicked originally open?
Before premiering on Broadway, Wicked had a short run in San Francisco in June 2003. Due to its success, it transferred to the George Gershwin Theatre on Broadway in October 2003 where it’s still performing now. Due to its popularity, it has been on a North American tour since 2005.
On 27 September 2006, Wicked opened in London where it was mildly adapted for a British audience. These adaptations were then rolled out to all productions of the musical worldwide.
Will I like it?
Wicked’s full of heart, energy and some of the biggest musical numbers in stage history. It’s a clever, fun and endearing perspective on one of your favourite stories and it’ll make you rethink how you look at classic baddies. In short, yes you will.
It’s a huge, bright, colourful production that’s full of wonder and joy. Having been seen by over 53 million people in 16 countries worldwide, this incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz is a must-see.