Ever wonder what the real Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, was like?
Back before Dorothy's
house turned her sister into Yellow Brick Road-kill, and Dorothy gave her a
shower, Elphaba was a student just trying to do what was right.
This is the story of her college years,
meeting Glinda, the fact it is no fun being
green...and in love - magical or not.
The London production continues its
record-breaking run at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. On Wednesday 30th March
2016, at 2.30pm the show played its 4000th performance. It is currently the 8th
longest-running show in the West End, and already the 19th longest-running show
in West End theatre history, both facts verified by The Society of London
On Tuesday 27th September 2016, Wicked celebrated an extraordinary 10
years in London. Over the past decade, Wicked has attained many accolades and
achieved numerous milestones to become “one of the most popular West End
musicals ever” (London Evening Standard):
Already the 8th longest running show currently playing in the West End.
On Saturday 12th November 2016 at 2:30pm, Wicked will become the 18th longest
running show in West End theatre history, surpassing the run of the original
production of Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
One of only three Broadway transfers in West End theatre history to ever run 10
years or more (the two others being Disney’s The Lion King and the 1997 revival
Already seen by nearly 8 million people in London alone, the production has
employed over 1600 people, as well as multiple contractors and companies, since
its London premiere.
First show in West End history to gross over £1,000,000 in single week
(week-ending Saturday 1 January 2011). The production has gone on to break this
record on many subsequent occasions, most recently during week-ending Saturday 2
The multi record-breaking UK & Ireland Tour will return in February 2018,
opening at the Bristol Hippodrome (with tickets on public sale from 1 February
2017). Further cities to be announced. The critically acclaimed production is
currently playing at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and continues touring
internationally until January 2018.
Almost £1 million raised for charity through its FOR GOOD programme and many
other charitable endeavours, including the planting of over nearly 35,000 new
trees in support of The Woodland Trust.
Launched in 2010 with the National Literacy Trust, the Wicked Young Writer
Awards, spearheaded by Michael Morpurgo and Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall,
has inspired the writing of over 25,000 original stories from young people
across the UK.
Winner of 2 Olivier Audience Awards, 9 WhatsOnStage Awards (including ‘Best New
Musical’ and ‘Best West End Show’), a Visit London Gold Award, an Evening
Standard Theatre Award and over 100 awards worldwide.
In celebration of Wicked’s 10th birthday, theatre owner ATG has invested in the
complete refurbishment of the Apollo Victoria Theatre auditorium and Front of
House areas. All seats and carpets have been replaced with designs replicated
from the original design of the Grade II* listed venue that first opened its
doors, as the New Victoria Cinema, in 1930.
Executive Producer (UK) Michael McCabe said: “On behalf of Marc Platt, David
Stone, Universal Stage Productions and all of the producers, I would like to
offer our heartfelt thanks to all of our casts, musicians and production staff
who have worked so tirelessly, and with such diligence and dedication, in
helping to achieve this incredible milestone. It continues to be an absolute
privilege to work with so many exceptionally talented individuals and companies
and we couldn’t be more proud of, and grateful to, every single one of you. And
to our audiences, who have so passionately supported and championed Wicked over
the past decade, we offer our deepest gratitude.”
The show welcomed its 7 millionth theatregoer to London’s Apollo Victoria
Theatre at the matinee performance on Saturday 17th October 2015.
Andrew Bell attended the performance with his wife Katie Bell and enjoyed a back
stage visit with the cast after the performance.
Photo credit (above): Troy Johnston.
From Monday 5 September 2016, the show stars:
Rachel Tucker (Elphaba - photographer: Matt Crockett),
Suzie Mathers (Glinda), Oliver Savile (Fiyero),
Anita Dobson (Madame Morrible),
Mark Curry (The Wizard. Photographer: Matt Crockett, all above portraits), Martin Ball (Doctor Dillamond), Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose), Idriss Kargbo (Boq), Alice Fearn
(Standby for Elphaba), Carina Gillespie (Standby for Glinda), James Darch, Kerry
Enright, Freya Field, Joseph Fletcher, Fraser Fraser, David Gale, Sergio
Giacomelli, Alexandra Grierson, Olivia Kate Holding, Aaron Jenkins, Claudia
Kariuki, Will Lucas, Chanel Mian, Billy Mitchell, Scott Monello, Ella Nonini,
Rosa O’Reilly, Julienne Schembri, Joe Sleight, Jessamy Stoddart, Paulo Teixeira,
Joe Toland, Hannah Toy, Russell Walker, Sasha Wareham and Helen Woolf.
From 30th January 2017,
Willemijn Verkaik (above, photo by Matt Crockett) returns as ‘Elphaba,’ with Sue
Kelvin as ‘Madame Morrible’ and Sarah McNicholas as ‘Nessarose.’
Willemijn Verkaik (Elphaba) has previously played ‘Elphaba’ on Broadway, in both
Stuttgart and Oberhausen in Germany (and she can be heard on the Original German
Cast Recording), at the Circustheater in Holland and in the West End. She is the
only actor in the show’s history to perform the role in more than one language.
She returns to the Apollo Victoria Theatre as part of the production’s ongoing
10th anniversary celebrations. Willemijn recently starred as ‘Kala’ in Disney’s
Tarzan at the Apollo Theater in Stuttgart, Germany and provided the singing
voice of ‘Elsa’ in the Dutch and German language versions of Disney’s Academy®
Award-winning film Frozen. Her many other starring roles include ‘Donna’ in
Mamma Mia! in Germany; ‘Paulina’ in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in
London; ‘Amneris’ in Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida in Germany and the title
role in the musical Elisabeth in Switzerland. She has also made multiple
acclaimed concert appearances across The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland,
North America and in the UK.
Sue Kelvin (Madame Morrible) is currently starring in her acclaimed one-woman
show Bette Midler... and Me. Her other most recent London theatre appearances
include ‘Rita’ in Barmitzvah Boy and ‘Louise’ in Private Lives.
Sarah McNicholas (Nessarose) recently played ‘Peron’s Mistress’ in Evita
(Dominion Theatre, also UK & European Tours) and ‘Sue Snell’ in the musical
Carrie (Southwark Playhouse).
From Monday 30 January 2017, therefore, Wicked will star Willemijn Verkaik, (Elphaba),
Suzie Mathers (Glinda), Oliver Savile (Fiyero), Sue Kelvin (Madame Morrible),
Mark Curry (The Wizard), Martin Ball (Doctor Dillamond), Sarah McNicholas (Nessarose),
Idriss Kargbo (Boq), Alice Fearn (Standby for Elphaba) and Carina Gillespie
(Standby for Glinda).
Hear the show: a dedicated SoundCloud channel has been created to showcase
snippets of the incredible music by multi GRAMMY® and Academy Award® winner
Stephen Schwartz. You can take a look at the channel here:
for a taste of some of the show-stopping tunes from the musical?
WICKED LAUNCHES OFFICIAL EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOPS INCLUDING ANTI-BULLYING WORKSHOP,
CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ANTI-BULLYING ALLIANCE.
The workshops, which have been created by The ArtsLink in partnership with
members of the production’s own creative team, will be hosted by professional
actors and practitioners (many of whom are previous or current cast members).
Workshops in ANTI-BULLYING, DRAMA, DANCE, SINGING and MUSICAL THEATRE are now
available in schools or in London venues, before, after or independently of a
visit to the production. Suitable for KS2-5, the workshops are curriculum
focused, tested with teachers and facilitated by The ArtsLink, who specialise in
the connections between schools and arts organisations. The Anti-Bullying
Workshop has been created in partnership with the Anti-Bullying Alliance, one of
the production’s long-standing charity partners.
The production’s ACTIVE LEARNING programme offers free downloadable lesson plans
to inspire students. Created by practicing teachers, this comprehensive
educational resource also provides supporting materials (including script
extracts and production imagery) and the Apollo Victoria Theatre’s risk
assessment form and visitor information pack.
The workshops include:
DRAMA: a dynamic performance workshop exploring the characters, themes and
staging of Wicked. Participants use the script of Wicked to develop their acting
techniques, and take part in exercises to help them develop their
characterisation, chorus work, and improvisation skills.
SINGING: technical workshop helping participants develop their vocal techniques.
Participants will learn two contrasting songs from Wicked developing their solo
and harmony singing.
DANCE: a physical workshop tailored to the level of the participants. Pupils
will explore elements of choreography from Wicked, and explore how to express
character and intention through physicality.
MUSICAL THEATRE: a combination workshop that touches on dance, singing and drama
skills using a scene from the show.
ANTI-BULLYING WORKSHOP (in partnership with the Anti-Bullying Alliance): the
workshop uses drama exercises and scenes from Wicked to explore how to deal with
bullying, what to do if someone is being bullied, and positive behaviour which
can discourage bullying.
The entire educational programme is a non-profit, self-funding enterprise and a
percentage of the money generated by the workshops will also be reinvested into
extending and creating new education resources and experiences for young people.
The show is pleased to announce that the acclaimed author and illustrator of the
How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell, will return as Head Judge for
the 2017 awards for the third consecutive year. Jonathan Douglas, Director of
the National Literacy Trust, will also be returning as part of the judging
Launched in 2010, this is the seventh year of the acclaimed Awards. The
initiative raises money for the National Literacy Trust who campaign to improve
public understanding of the vital importance of literacy.
This year, the Awards will be launched with two Story Surgery events: at the
Young Adult Literature Weekender at the Southbank, London on 15 and 16 October,
for 13+ year olds, and at the StoryStock Festival at the Lyric Hammersmith,
London on 27 and 28 October, for 7-12 year olds. Young people will be able to
take part in special, free workshops with published writers including young
adult writers Nicole Burstein, Tamara MacFarlane and Lisa Williamson.
The Awards will work in partnership with Young Writers, CLPE (the Centre for
Literacy in Primary Education), First Story, Just Imagine, NAWE (National
Association of Writers in Education) and Pobble.
Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of the Awards, set up to
encourage and recognise excellence in writing, and creativity, and help develop
literacy and writing talent in young people between the ages of 5 and 25. Since
launching, over 25,000 young people have entered original and thought-provoking
pieces of writing that consistently reflect the interests, concerns and deepest
thoughts of young people, providing a first-look at the emerging voices of a new
How to Train Your Dragon author and illustrator Cressida Cowell commented, “Last
year’s finalists addressed really big issues - war, homelessness and prejudice.
There was an incredible range of styles and an array of brilliantly original
voices, but they all had this in common: they made us judges feel something.”
Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of Wicked said, “We are incredibly proud of
this project and greatly indebted to Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall,
Michael Morpurgo and Cressida Cowell for their support. Their passionate
commitment to encouraging creative writing and improving literacy standards
amongst young people in the UK is an inspiration to us all.”
As in previous years, entrants can enter one of five different age categories;
5-7, 8-10, 11-14, 15-17, 18-25. In addition, the 2017 Awards sees the second
year of the FOR GOOD AWARD for Non-Fiction, encouraging 15-25 year olds to write
essays or articles that recognise the positive impact that people can have on
each other, their communities and the world we live in. This category celebrates
the WICKED: FOR GOOD philanthropic programme, which supports the work of
120 finalists from across the UK will see their work published in the WICKED
YOUNG WRITER AWARDS Anthology, which will be published in association with Young
Writers (www.youngwriters.co.uk). The 120 finalists are also invited to an
exclusive ceremony at London’s Apollo Victoria, home to the musical Wicked since
2006, where judges and members of the Wicked cast announce who has won in each
The Awards are open for entries and close on 13 March 2017. Pieces of original
writing can be submitted individually, or by a teacher, parent, carer or
guardian on behalf of an entrant. Prizes include:
The overall winners from each category will win £50 book/eBook tokens, and the
5-14 year old winners will get £100 worth of books for their school library
donated by Hachette Children’s Group.
Winners in the 15-17, 18-25 and FOR GOOD categories will also win an exclusive
writing experience with one of the Awards’ literacy partners.
The three schools that submit the most entries will also win a Creative Writing
Workshop for their school for up to thirty students delivered by Wicked’s
Winners in all categories receive a VIP family experience at the West End
production of Wicked, including tickets, an exclusive backstage tour and a
meet-and-greet with members of the cast.
In June 2015, Wicked expanded its FOR GOOD programme - the philanthropic scheme
to give back to the causes at the heart of the production by announcing five new
charity partnerships: Anti-Bullying Alliance, Cybersmile, The Helen Bamber
Foundation, Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, and Stonewall Education For All.
These partnerships complement FOR GOOD’s two flagship events – the Wicked Young
Writers’ Award and WICKED DAY in association with The Woodland Trust.
The FOR GOOD programme will see the classic musical fundraise by creating FOR
GOOD branded merchandise and introducing opt-in donations with profits going
directly to the charity partners.
Specific activity with each charity will also include; co-delivery of a Wicked
themed anti-bullying workshop run with the Anti-Bullying Alliance as part of
Kids Week, supporting and promoting the 10th anniversary of the Helen Bamber
Foundation on Human Right’s Day in December, co-creation of resources with
Stonewall to be distributed during Anti-Bullying Week, and supporting various
events and campaigns like the recent Stop Cyberbullying Day for Cybersmile and
Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity’s Big Hour Campaign in October. More
information about the charities work can be found at
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(Seen at the Evening performance on 11th February 2015). Some actors have
since left the cast.
There's a reason the monkey is able to re-visit this show after 9 years... it
remains a (pure) waterproof hit, as slick as its first night.
After all these years, it's very clear just what a well-constructed piece it
is. Memorable songs, satisfying story that makes its two and three-quarter hours
fly by like a magic broomstick.
Best of all, at the performance the monkey saw, a prediction it made back in
September 2011 came true. With regular Emma Hatton unavailable, Natalie Andreou
stepped in at the shortest notice as Elphaba - just as Ms Andreou did in
September 2011 for Amy Pemberton in "Rock Of Ages." The monkey said then that
"Ms Andreou isn’t known – but should be, and soon. A leading lady who producers
should be falling over themselves to sign to whichever musical takes her fancy."
The monkey is so glad the producers of "Wicked" took its advice.
At the risk of channelling its "Wicked inner fangirl" Natalie Andreou smashes
her role out of the ballpark. The monkey was almost in tears with her "I'm Not
That Girl," and "Defying Gravity" is a triumph. If this is her third
performance, her 103rd will be something. Andreou is someone special in musical
theatre. If you can catch another of her nights "on," do.
Savannah Stevenson (Galinda) and Martyn Ellis (The Wizard) are the other
stand out performances, both managing engaging performances. The ensemble too
put in a fine effort on a "double performance" day, taking the show at a slower
pace which helps the narrative.
This show remains the perfect teen treat as an introduction to musical
This review refers to the original cast. Casting has now changed.
"Lyrics and music and book, oh my!" Proof, if proof were needed, that the
old-fashioned Broadway musical isn't dead. The story is basically the
traditional "green girl wants boy, boy wants yellow girl" ending with green girl
turning boy yellow, and yellow and green girl settling their differences - with
some animal rights stuff and zingy one liners thrown in. The satisfaction is in
the neat dovetailing with the classic film - find out how the well loved
characters became what they are; the downside is overlong sequences that look
great but add twenty minutes of ballast to the proceedings.
This is very much a show of two halves. The first has Winnie "My So Called
Life" Holzman channel female adolescence with acuity once again. If business
starts to slip, producers should re-paint the theatre walls powder pink,
replace seats with furry-toy strewn beds and provide free popcorn, cosmetics and
a pizza delivery service. Very much attuned to the sleepover crowd, the fun
"Popular" and 'I wish' numbers "The Wizard and I" and "I'm
Not That Girl" are
arrows to teenage hearts. Once the director realises "Popular" works way better
with an American air-head accent than it does with a British spoof-Sloane one,
it'll be the perfect "DVD night in" substitute. That isn't to say Helen Dallimore
should be upset by frank analysis, but the director should consider the show in
need of personality dialysis and restore it to the original (United States)
state at the next cast change. Oh, and that line is probably the "wittiest" in the
show - you can almost hear Sondheim scream as it is sung.
Act two grows progressively darker, and the resolutions come late into it.
Tighter than act one, and noticeably more adult, it eschews the clumsy shifts of
place for a smoother cinematic feel but feels rushed to ensure the show comes in
at the sub-three hour mark. The searing "As Long as You're Mine" and insightful
"For Good" deserved time that "Wizomania" pointlessly occupies and could have
turned a good show into an unforgettable one. Time to contemplate motives, cause
and effect are limited, and the monkey would have appreciated more of it spaced
through the production.
Expensively staged, occasionally buckling under its own spectacular mass,
set (Elphaba could perhaps have flown properly had there been space) and a
desire to give the audience every penny of the production costs in spectacle
over substance, this is the golden era of musicals brought into the 21st
century. Those old musicals had their faults, as does this, but ultimately a
show succeeds on how deep its songs and images engrave themselves in the memory.
Probably too crass for the current "post war" musical lover (though Schwartz
produces some of his best work here), Wicked will still worm its way into the
affections of many - younger people especially - perhaps ultimately ending up as
a "standard" in fifty years time. As the dragon signifies, it is time that
tells, and this show is mostly worthy of the audiences' hours.