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. 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.
Over the 2014/15 Holiday season, the show was seen by 45,000 people in the UK
(week ending 3 January 2015), grossing an incredible £2,160,377.50, at Box
Offices in London and Edinburgh and breaking its own previous records in both
the West End and on its UK & Ireland Tour: the London production set a new Box
Office record at the Apollo Victoria Theatre with 9 sell-out shows and a gross
of £1,023,819.00. Its previous record (of £1,002,885 for week ending 1 January
2011) - it also marked the first time in West End history that any production
had grossed over £1 million in a single week.
The show has also won the This Morning Audience Award. Presented by the
Olivier Awards 2015 with Mastercard at The Royal Opera House on Sunday 12th
April 2015, the This Morning Audience Award is the only Olivier Award that is
voted for by the public. Wicked previously won the Olivier Audience Award in
2010. UK Executive Producer Michael McCabe said: “We are absolutely thrilled to
have been honoured in this way by the theatregoing public. We’d like to thank
everyone who voted for us and send a huge debt of gratitude to our extraordinary
cast, musicians and company at the Apollo Victoria Theatre for their passionate
and tireless commitment to Wicked”.
In 2015 it also won a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence Award.
The London production stars Emma Hatton (Elphaba -
pictured above, photo credit: Matt Crockett),
Savannah Stevenson (Glinda - above, left, with Emma Hatton as Elphaba - photo
credit Matt Crockett), Jeremy Taylor (Fiyero), Liza Sadovy (Madame Morrible),
Martyn Ellis (The Wizard), Philip Childs (Doctor Dillamond), Sam Lupton (Boq),
Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose), Natalie Andreou (Standby for Elphaba) and Sophie
Linder-Lee (Standby for Glinda).
Steven Pinder, (above, photo credit Matt Crockett), who is currently playing
Doctor Dillamond and The Wizard to huge acclaim on the multi record-breaking UK
Tour, will join the London production as Doctor Dillamond from Monday 10 August
until Saturday 19 September 2015. Philip Childs will play his final performance
on Saturday 8 August 2015.
American stage, television and film actor Tom McGowan takes the role of The
Wizard from Monday 21 September for a limited season until Saturday 12 March
2016. He will be making his West End debut. Tom McGowan has been playing The
Wizard in various North American productions of Wicked to great acclaim since
2009, including three separate engagements at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway.
(photo by Joan Marcus).
Emma Hatton (Elphaba) and Savannah Stevenson (Glinda), will continue with the
long-running hit into 2016.
Joining them from Monday 21 September 2015 will be Oliver Savile as Fiyero; Sean
Kearns as Doctor Dillamond; current West End ensemble cast member Daniel Hope as
Boq and Carina Gillespie, who played Nessarose (and the role of Glinda on many
occasions) on Wicked’s multi record-breaking UK & Ireland Tour, as Standby for
Also continuing with the show are current cast members Liza Sadovy (Madame
Morrible), Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose) and Natalie Andreou (Standby for
Elphaba). Further casting to be announced.
Jeremy Taylor (Fiyero), Martyn Ellis (The Wizard), Steven Pinder (Doctor
Dillamond, from 10 August 2015), Sam Lupton (Boq) and Sophie Linder-Lee (Standby
for Glinda) will all play their final performances on Saturday 19 September
Discover more at:
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, are the links to the individuals songs on the SoundCloud channel:
The Award was established in 2010, spearheaded by bestselling author Michael
Morpurgo, to recognise excellence in writing, encourage creativity and develop
writing talent in young people between 5-25 years of age from all backgrounds
and areas of the UK & Ireland. Previous winners pictured above (photo, left: Dan
Wooler). Entries for 2015 are now closed, and the 2015 winners will be
invited to a very special prize ceremony at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in July
2015. The overall winners from each category will win a VIP family experience to
Wicked London, including an exclusive backstage tour and cast meet-and-greet,
£50 worth of book/eBook tokens, plus £100 worth of books for their school
library donated by Hachette Children’s Books.
The winner of the Sugarscape Fan Fiction Award will see their work published on
Sugarscape.com and will be treated to lunch with the Sugarscape editor before
their special Wicked experience.
The school with the highest number of entries will receive a bespoke writing
workshop at their respective school.
Scheme details are online at
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.