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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.
(Photo credit: Matt Crockett).
From Monday 27 October 2014, Wicked will star: Jennifer DiNoia* (Elphaba -
pictured above, photo credit Juho Sim), Savannah Stevenson (Glinda - pictured
above with Jennifer Di Noia, photo credit, Matt Crockett), Jeremy
Taylor (Fiyero), Martyn Ellis (The Wizard), Liza Sadovy (Madame Morrible),
Philip Childs (Doctor Dillamond), Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose), Sam Lupton (Boq),
Emma Hatton (Standby Elphaba), Sophie Linder-Lee (Standby Glinda), Chloe Ames,
Kyle Anthony, Lee Bridgman, Lucyelle Cliffe, Nicholas Collier, Chris Cowley,
Maria Coyne, Matthew Croke, Jeanine Dinger, Laura Emmitt, Kerry Enright, Joseph
Fletcher, Rosie Fletcher, Sheila Grant, Daniel Hope, Lauren James Ray, Jasmine
Kerr, Natalie McQueen, Oliver Metzler, Scott Monello, Rachel Muldoon, Sam
Salter, Joe Toland, Hannah Toy, Russell Walker and Liam Wrate.
*From 27 October 2014 to 31 January 2015 only.
Jennifer DiNoia preparing for her West End debut.
(Photo credit: Matt Crockett).
Currently the Standby Elphaba, Emma Hatton (pictured above, photo credit: Matt
Crockett) will replace international Wicked star Jennifer DiNoia, from 2nd
This is the story of her college years,
a campaign for animal rights and the lonely struggle with the fact it is no fun being
and in love.
Wizard or not.
Stephen Schwartz provides the music and lyrics based on a novel by Gregory
Maguire. Winnie Holtzman provides the musical book, Eugene Lee the scenery,
Susan Hilferty costumes, with Joe Mantello directing and Wayne Cilento credited
for musical staging. The monkey's Great Uncle Ex-Squadron-Leader Wilberforce would also like
credit for training the flying monkeys, apparently... even though he didn't.
Photographic credits for above: (from the current / Past London
casts of this production)
(1) Elphaba 2011 London Cast. (1a) Defying Gravity 2014 London Cast. (2) Dianne Pilkington and Oliver Tompsett. Photo by Tristram Kenton. (3) Glinda 2011 London Cast. (4) Idina Menzel and Company. Photo by Tristram Kenton. (5) Fiyero 2011 London Cast. (6) Nigel Planer and Idina Menzel. Photo by Tristram Kenton.
All photographs are copyright of the production and photographer as
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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?
Also worth knowing is that WICKED, the global musical phenomenon that tells
the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is now on a major tour of the
UK and Ireland. (Cast of UK Tour below. Photo credit: Matt Crockett, used by
Tour dates include:
Southampton Mayflower Theatre (21 October to 15 November 2014)
Edinburgh Playhouse (19 November 2014 to 10 January 2015)
Plymouth Theatre Royal (20 January to 14 February 2015)
Bristol Hippodrome (18 February to 21 March 2015)
Sunderland Empire Theatre (31 March to 25 April 2015)
Aberdeen His Majesty’s Theatre (5 to 30 May 2015)
The Lowry in Salford (3 June to 25 July 2015).
Tickets are now on sale at all venues. The tour cast will be: Nikki Davis-Jones (Elphaba), Emily Tierney (Glinda), Liam
Doyle (Fiyero), Marilyn Cutts (Madame Morrible), Dale Rapley (The Wizard and
Doctor Dillamond), Carina Gillespie (Nessarose), George Ure (Boq), Jemma
Alexander (Standby Elphaba), Lee Bridgman, Chrissy Brooke, Richard Carson,
Harrison Clark, Jeanine Dinger, Tim Edwards, Howard Ellis, Natasha Ferguson, Zoe
George, Lia Given, Natalie Green, Charlie Harding, Katie Kerr, Robert Kershaw,
Will Knights, Sophie Leigh-Griffin, Candy Marriott, Oliver Metzler, Wendy-Lee
Purdy, Julienne Schembri, Grant Thresh, Ed White and Helen Woolf.
The London production continues its record-breaking run at the Apollo Victoria
Theatre. It played its 3000th performance at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre at
2.30pm on 16th November 2013. In August 2014, it surpassed the run of "Me and My
Girl" to become the 14th longest-running musical in West End theatre history.
On Thursday 24th July 2014 the show proudly welcomed its 6 millionth theatregoer
when Owen Thomas attended the performance with Stephanie Willingham, both from
Bury St. Edmonds, and enjoyed a backstage visit with the cast after the show.
(photographs above, credited Andrew Fosker, used by permission).
In June 2014, Executive Producer Michael McCabe said: “We are extremely proud to
be joining such legendary shows as The Mousetrap, Les Misérables and The Phantom
of the Opera as one of the 10 longest running productions in the West End. It is
an incredible new milestone for Wicked and we greatly appreciate the continuing
support of theatregoers.”
WICKED is pleased to reveal a brand new video from the open auditions for the
West End 2013/14 Company and UK & Ireland Tour Company that were held during
April 2013 at Pineapple Studios, London:
Thursday 7 August 2014: The Wicked Young Writers’ Award announced its winners
for 2014 at a prestigious ceremony at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
The winning and highly commended entries included stories and poems about
bullying, love, dementia and memory loss and the traumatic effects of war. This
year the award received over 5000 entries from individuals and schools all
across the UK and Northern Ireland.
The ceremony was hosted by Savannah Stevenson who stars as Glinda, and prizes
were presented by Michael Morpurgo, best-selling author of War Horse and Chair
Judge of the Award. The Award’s judges, Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of
Wicked, and performance poet and writer Dean Atta, also attended the ceremony.
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of the Award.
In addition to performing musical numbers from the hit show, Wicked cast members
also performed readings of the winning entries, revealed as: Liya Khan, age 6
from Birmingham, joint-winners Susanna Tredinnick, age 10 from Harpenden and
Caitlin Wilkins, age 10 from Windlesham, Surrey, Rhian Hutchings, age 14 from
Pontardawe, and joint-winners Freya Carter, age 15 from Sheffield, Zainab Abbass,
age 15 from Sheffield, and, Chris Pritchard, age 23 from Gloucester. (Photo
credit: Dan Wooller).
The Award judges chose the winners from over 5000 entries from individuals and
schools across the country, revealing a wide range of different voices and
themes. In the younger categories, the entries were funny, scary and
surprisingly complex: an alien helps a lonely little girl with cerebral palsy
make new friends; a bully is given a dose of his own medicine; a happy, greedy
Venus flytrap devours the world; and a surprisingly funny and mature poem about
Albert Einstein. The older age categories’ entries ranging from 11-17 year-olds,
peopled with characters ranging from soldiers suffering with PTS to unwed
teenage mothers, used sophisticated imagery and language to explore alienation,
death, self-harm and struggling to conform without losing one’s identity. The
eldest 18-25 year old category was surprisingly mature, unselfconscious and
insightful, providing a first look at the emerging voices of a new generation:
moving, dark and sometimes playful themes comprised of repressed sexuality,
love, murder and dementia. This is writing directly from the heart, trying to
make sense of a complicated world.
During the ceremony, Dean Atta led an interactive literacy workshop titled “My
Wicked Poem”; prompted by the show’s theme of friendship, the audience of 100
shortlisted finalists and their guests created a brand new piece of creative
writing in just 20mins.
The long-running West End show launched the Award in 2010 to recognise
excellence in writing, encourage creativity and help develop writing talent in
young people between 5 and 25 years of age from across all backgrounds and areas
of the UK.
Michael Morpurgo said of this year’s Award. “All these talented young writers
have allowed their imagination to live and breathe. They haven’t been afraid to
tell their stories and speak their poems down and to express themselves with
originality and flair.”
Wicked’s Executive Producer Michael McCabe said: “We've been inspired and
excited by the creative skills and extraordinary pieces that we've received this
year. Congratulations to our 2014 winners, and we now look forward to
encouraging even more young people across the country to express themselves
The shortlisted finalist entries from the 5-17 year old age-categories have been
published in an anthology celebrating the 2014 Wicked Young Writers’ Award. The
shortlisted entries from the 18-25 year old age category have been published in
an e-anthology downloadable from the Wicked Young Writers’ Award website (www.wickedyoungwriters.com)
The Wicked Young Writers’ Award has also been working with the National Literacy
Trust for two years on a programme of joint events at literary festivals and
conferences to highlight both reading and writing skills amongst young people.
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.