Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz

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Wicked is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman. It is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, a parallel novel of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and L. Frank Baum’s classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The musical is told from the perspective of the witches of the Land of Oz; its plot begins before and continues after Dorothy’s arrival in Oz from Kansas and includes several references to the 1939 film and Baum’s novel. Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch of the North), who struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, reactions to the Wizard’s corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba’s public fall from grace.

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The Wicked witch is back

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Alison Luff and Jenn Gambatese

Alison Luff and Jenn Gambatese

To all you hard-core fans who took second mortgages and third jobs so you could afford to attend performance after performance of Wicked when it played Chicago from 2005 to 2009: the answer is yes, you’ll be pleased with this touring production. To all you snoots who’ve disdained every opportunity to see the blockbuster musical since its Broadway premiere ten years ago: Give up. Now. Surrender, Dorothy, it’s time.

Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman’s stage prequel to the 1939 movie version of The Wizard of Oz finds sophisticated themes in the tale of how Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, earned her defining adjective. Certainly, the show looks at the psychic effects and political uses of intolerance as it follows Elphaba’s Bernardine Dohrn-esque evolution from honors student to outlaw. But viewing it this time around, I was especially affected by the way Schwartz and Holzman deal with experience—with the simple, difficult fact that what we do determines who we become, marking us permanently in ways we can’t imagine even as the process is taking place.

The witty book and songs are sharply realized here by a cast starring Alison Luff as Elphaba and charming Jenn Gambatese as the putatively “good” witch, Glinda. (Singer/game show host John Davidson sneaks in there, too, as the Wizard.) And the visual effects are every bit as stunning as they should be—especially during the moment of Elphaba’s transfiguration into, well, what experience makes of her.

Source at Chicago READER

Blond, green and popular: ‘Wicked’ has aged very well

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THEATER REVIEW: “Wicked” at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago

So what is a man reviewing “Wicked” for the 9,837th time — give or take a few — going to say? Turn on Elphaba and Glinda after all these years of admiration for their staying power, charm, wit and appeal? How disillogicalifed such an act of betrayalification would be. The Oriental Theatre is these gals’ second home. They are welcome back.

So let us focus on that about which you might be curious, oh “Wicked” fan, or person who loves a “Wicked” fan, or person wondering if the next generation of “Wicked” fan might lurk inside your household.

What kind of shape is director Joe Mantello’s production in? Excellent. There are very few tours offering compensation to actors at this level in today’s touring world, so “Wicked” has plenty of choice. Those in charge know how to cast these roles. It is fun to see John Davidson enjoy himself as the Wizard, and Kim Zimmer is a no-nonsense Morrible and a better singer than most. There has been no meaningful diminishment in the physical production and, frankly, the design’s roots in an era just before the digital revolution in scenic technology is one of its primary assets. Eugene Lee’s setting holds up remarkably well. With many aging Broadway shows, you weary of the original production and crave a fresh staging. Here, not so much. Not yet anyway. Can’t say I am juiced by the notion of some minimalist “Wicked.”
How are the current leads? We all have our favorite Elphaba and Glinda. The present pair, Alison Luff and Jenn Gambatese, , have different assets. Luff is lighter on the girlish quirk than some of her predecessors but she’s very much in tune with some of the heartbreak of the green girl. That’s my kind of Elphaba. Gambatese, who has a raft of Broadway credits, offers the most legit-sounding Glinda you’ll likely have heard. She’s measured and mature. But the blond can have the heart of a geek and Gambatese’s wound-tight quality makes her funny when it matters. These two didn’t dissolve in an emotional well of tears as have some of their predecessors during the song “For Good,” but then, barely being able to get through the show is all very 2005. This pair is wise to contextualize these characters a little differently. Most of the people in the house have seen these characters before, and many have grown with them. So they should grow too.

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Smash hit musical Wicked comes to Liverpool

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Tickets for the 2014 Empire show go on sale at the end of the month

Something Wicked this way comes.

The smash hit West End and Broadway show is set to make its debut at the Liverpool Empire next year.

Tickets for the UK touring production, which will spend a almost four weeks at the Lime Street theatre from September 16 to October 11 2014, go on general sale at the end of this month.

Wicked is a brilliantly witty re-imagining of the stories and characters created by L Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, telling the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two sorcery students Elphaba and Glinda.

Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Speaking exclusively to the ECHO, executive producer Michael McCabe who has worked on some of the biggest shows in the West End and on Broadway, said today: “I first saw a preview of Wicked in New York 10 years ago and didn’t know what to expect, but I was completely blown away.

“A lot of shows look spectacular, but it’s the emotional connection you make to this story that’s very telling. It makes you feel things maybe you wouldn’t in many other shows. It’s very emotional but also very funny.

“The story touches a nerve with anyone who has had a good friend, and anyone who has been an outsider or feels they don’t fit in.”

Source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/whats-on/theatre/smash-hit-musical-wicked-comes-6203110

The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz

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Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz – Wicked for short – is an extremely successful Broadway musical by composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz and writer Winnie Holzman. The plot of the musical is based on Gregory Maguire’s novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which is a revisionist tale of Frank L. Baum’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The story deals with the rivalry of two enemy-turned-friends, Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda, the Good Witch of the North.
Wicked was first performed in the Curran Theatre of San Francisco in May 2003, then it opened on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre in October 2003. It won three Tony Awards, six Drama Desk Awards, and its cast album received a Grammy Award. Wicked is one of the longest-running Broadway shows ever. There exist plenty of other productions, United States tours, West End productions, and plenty of international performances. These productions have broken records worldwide.

For the time being, the audience can see the second United States tour of Wicked. Directed by Joe Mantello, the show, with creative and bold new designs, is entertaining and spectacular, fortunately it is not maudlin or cliché-like at all. Hayley Podschun plays the part of Glinda; the young actress started her successful music-theatre career in a Broadway show at the age of twelve, she is known for her roles in the 2002 Broadway musical Hairspray and in the movie adaptation in 2007. Jennifer DiNoia as Elphaba is great, and the supporting performances are fine, too: Emily Behny (Nessarose); Alex Wyse (Boc); Kathy Fitzgerald (Madame Morrible); John Hillner (Doctor Dillamond); and David Nathan Perlow (Fiyero).

The tenth anniversary of the premiere is nearing – it will be 30th October. The celebration, of course, will be held at the original venue, Gershwin Theatre, followed by a company party.

Something Wicked Comes to The City Theatre in MACBETH, 10/11-11/3

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Ambition. Desire. Witchcraft. Blood. Murder. The City Theatre Company is excited to open its 8th anniversary season with William Shakespeare’s darkest and most powerful tragedy Macbeth, coming to Austin this fall. The story of a Scottish king consumed by an evil, corrosive ambition for power will run October 11 through November 3 at The City Theatre. It is directed by Kevin Gates and stars Brian Villalobos and Dawn Erin.

“Life … a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Macbeth is the infamous chronicle of a Scottish hero’s fall from grace, through spellbound seduction and the pursuit of power. Shakespeare’s study of ambition leads us from battlefield triumph to bloody assassination as our title character gains the crown, but forfeits his soul. Spawned by three mysterious witches who offer him an intriguing prophecy and an ambitious wife urging murderous actions, Macbeth begins a maddening descent into war, insanity and death where nothing will ever be the same again. Superstitiously referred to as “the Scottish play,” Shakespeare’s Macbeth has enjoyed considerable success despite its notoriety as a cursed play, and CTC breathes new life into this wickedly brutal and chaotic tale.

The City Theatre is no stranger when it comes to producing Shakespeare’s plays as the company takes classical works geared towards bigger and bolder demands, such as Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, and provides the challenge and opportunity in a more intimate, subtle approach. “What’s different about this production is that we’re trying to present Macbeth in a very personal context,” mentions director Kevin Gates. “The themes of Macbeth are timeless with ambition and desire no less relevant today. Setting the play in a non-specific time and place is intended to put the focus on the text and the actors, rather than draw focus away from them. This makes the audience a part of the story.”

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Child actress Hayley Podschun grows up, returns home with ‘Wicked’

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The one-time child performer who grew up in Overland Park is co-headlining the second national tour of “Wicked,” the phenomenally popular musical prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” which opens Wednesday at Music Hall.

Things have worked out well for Podschun, who appeared in both the Broadway production and film of “Hairspray.” But there was a moment when she was desperate to point her life in a different direction.

Podschun made her Broadway debut when she was all of 12 years old. As a member of the Von Trapp family in the 1998 revival of “The Sound of Music,” the formidably talented former student at the Miller Marley School of Dance and Voice had made a crucial first step in a musical-theater career.

Being in the show was a heady experience. Originally hired as an understudy, she eventually stepped into the roles of two different Von Trapp kids and stayed with the show through its closing day in 1999.

That’s when reality slapped her in the face.

“It closed two days before my birthday,” Podschun said recently. “It really hit me, the reality of working in show business — that you have a job one day and then the next day you don’t. And I was watching all these adults taking everything out of their dressing rooms. They had to just clean them out.”

It was a sad, traumatic moment — so much so that for the next few years she considered any and all employment possibilities.

“For the next two years of my life I was researching jobs online,” she said. “Here was a 13-year-old kid researching jobs she could do as an adult. … Everything I was researching was stuff like ‘personal assistant,’ so maybe I could still be in the entertainment industry. I was so crazy.”

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/10/05/4526794/child-actress-grows-up-returns.html

Wicked to Kick Off 10th Anniversary with Special Performance

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Break out your green evening gown, because the hit musical Wicked is celebrating a very important birthday on October 30! Broadway’s most “popular” witches will honor their 10th anniversary on the Great White Way with a special performance at the Gershwin Theatre, followed by a company party with some very Wicked alumni.

But wait, there’s more! A commemorative Wicked deluxe edition CD is hitting store shelves on November 19 with new bonus tracks, including “Popular Song” by Mika, featuring Broadway alum and pop star Ariana Grande. It will be available for digital download on October 29.

Additionally, all sorts of Wicked-awesome events will be happening throughout New York City. Magnolia Bakery’s five Big Apple locations are going green—from Friday through Sunday every weekend in October, the stores will offer a special Emerald City cupcake. While you’re getting your sugar fix, stop by Eleni’s and pick up a special gift box of cookies through December 31, featuring treats inspired by Elphaba, Glinda and more. Plus a new Wicked display with costumes, merchandise and memorabilia will be open to the public at the NBC Experience Store in Rockefeller Plaza from October 20 through November 1.

For More information Read about it here.