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.
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 21 September 2015, Wicked stars:
Emma Hatton (Elphaba -
pictured above, photo credit: Matt Crockett),
Savannah Stevenson (Glinda - above, left, with Emma Hatton as Elphaba - photo
credit Matt Crockett),
Oliver Savile (Fiyero), Liza Sadovy (Madame Morrible),
American stage, television and film actor Tom McGowan* as the
Wizard (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 Matt Crockett).
Sean Kearns (Doctor Dillamond - pictured above, photo by Matt Crockett),
Daniel Hope (Boq), Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose) - both pictured above (photo
by Matt Crockett), Natalie Andreou (Standby for Elphaba), Carina Gillespie
(Standby for Glinda), Chloe Ames, Nicholas Collier, Laura Emmitt, Kerry Enright,
Oliver Evans, Freya Field, Joseph Fletcher, Rosie Fletcher, David Gale, Sergio
Giacomelli, Sheila Grant, Chester Hayes, Lauren James Ray, Aaron Jenkins,
Jasmine Kerr, Natalie McQueen, Billy Mitchell, Scott Monello, Kane Oliver Parry,
Steph Parry, Julienne Schembri, Paulo Teixeira, Joe Toland, Hannah Toy, Russell
Walker and Helen Woolf.
*Tom McGowan is appearing with the support of UK Equity, incorporating the
Variety Artistes’ Federation, pursuant to an exchange program between American
Equity and UK Equity.
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 show is proud to announce the sixth year of the prestigious WICKED YOUNG
WRITER AWARDS, which this year introduces a new non-fiction category. Entries
are now invited, and the closing date is 11th March 2016. Details can be found
Wicked is also delighted to announce that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of
Cornwall has agreed to extend her patronage for a further five years.
The Duchess of Cornwall said at the award ceremony in 2011, “I believe
passionately in nurturing a love of reading and writing in children and young
people of all ages. Reading is not only the start of a voyage of personal
development and pleasure, but the foundation stone of all education.”
‘How to Train Your Dragon’ author-illustrator Cressida Cowell is also returning
to the judging panel as Head Judge. She said, “I am thrilled to be asked to be a
judge for the second time. It is wonderful to be involved in an award which
fires up the imaginations and confidence of these young writers. As an
ambassador for the National Literacy Trust, I’m a real advocate of anything that
gets young people reading and writing.”
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 2016 awards scheme marks the
launch 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. The new category
celebrates the WICKED: FOR GOOD programme, which supports the charitable causes
at the heart of the stage musical.
The Awards were created by the producers of Wicked in 2010, in collaboration
with the National Literacy Trust and spearheaded by bestselling author Michael
Morpurgo, to recognise excellence in writing, encourage creativity and develop
writing talent in young people. Since launching, over 20,000 young people, aged
between 5 and 25, 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 generation.
A shortlist of 120 entrants from across the UK will see their work published in
the WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS Anthology. They are also invited to an exclusive
ceremony at London’s Apollo Victoria, home to the hit musical since 2006, where
judges and members of the Wicked cast will announce who has won in each
The WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS raises money for the National Literacy Trust, who
campaign to improve public understanding of the vital importance of literacy.
Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust will be returning as
part of the judging panel.
Michael McCabe, Executive Producer (UK) of Wicked said, “All of us at Wicked 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”.
Pieces of original writing can be submitted, either individually or as part of a
school group, until 11 March 2016. The overall winners from each category will
win a VIP family experience to the West End production of Wicked, including an
exclusive backstage tour and cast meet-and-greet, £50 book/eBook tokens, plus
£100 worth of books for their school library donated by Hachette Children’s
Books. The individual 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.