Wicked The Musical
Stephen Schwartz’s musical Wicked is based on the Gregory Maguire novel written in the year, 1995, entitled Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which is considered to be comparable with The Wizard of Oz, that was released to audiences in the year, 1939; as well as the classic Wizard of Oz story written by Frank Baum. In this particular rendition of the story, there is a description of two unlikely friends, Elphaba and Glinda. Elphaba is the Wicked Witch of the West while Glenda is a good witch from the North.
They both struggled through different personalities and perspectives on the world as well as having a similar love interest. It can be said that this particular musical is a back story associated with the original film as it tells of Elphaba's fall from grace and ultimately into the category of being dastardly and iniquitous.
The musical has since its opening been a Universal Pictures production with the backing of both David Stone as well as Marc Platt. The musical is directed by Joe Mantello. Choreographer, Wayne Cilento, helped with the initial production of the Broadway musical when it was featured in the Gershwin Theatre in the year, 2003. Cilento opted to do these following pre-Broadway Shorenstein Hays Nederlander Theatres tryouts at the Curran Theatre in the city of San Francisco in May of that same year.
The Stars of Wicked
The stars of Wicked The Musical include Kristin Chenoweth who plays Glinda, Idina Menzel who plays Elphaba, and the Wizard character played by Joel Grey. The production has received both Drama Desk Awards and Tony Awards; six and three, respectively. The musical has also seen a Grammy Award win during its time on Broadway. The musical celebrated the ninth year in production in October of the year, 2012. Running a total of 4,007 performances, this made the musical the twelfth longest show in history. The Broadway production has been highly successful and has in addition to this caused many other productions to be made of a like vein including a West End production, many international ones as well as a myriad of North American ones. When the musical debuted in the year, 2003,
Wicked The Musical broke many box office records worldwide receiving notable weekly gross earnings in major metropolitan cities across the country. By 2011, the musical simultaneously matched their previous records by receiving the highest weekly earnings associated with the touring productions of Broadway and in North America. By the year, 2012, the musical had earned a total of $2.9 million. The audience viewers have seen as many as two million in both productions in West End and around North America.
The Musical Development of Wicked the Musical
Stephen Schwartz is known as both a lyricist and composer and would discover the novel associated with the musical in the year, 1995 while vacationing. Schwartz would see the musical's potential and adapt it dramatically. At the time though, the rights associated with the novel were held by Maguire, who wanted to make a live-action feature. In the year, 1998, Schwartz and Maguire met for the first time and Schwartz would in turn convince Maguire that the novel was better suited as a musical than a live action feature film. Schwartz deemed this as his impassioned pleas for the rights and for Marc Platt, a producer to see the potential of the musical as viable success on Broadway and off. Platt would in effect sign on to the venture along with Universal.
Much discussion about the novel was that of commentary that was social and political in nature. It takes place years leading up to the arrival of Dorothy, who was a prominent character in the 1939 film. Schwartz wanted the film to be similar to that of Maguire's novel, which focused on Elphaba and Glinda, who had initially been called Galinda. The overall story is split between five distinctive parts that are based solely a variety of factors including location, characters, their respective situations and the events of the present. While the musical takes elements from both Maguire's book and the 1939 film, it has been widely panned as different from both. Schwartz was determined to utilize the novel as the landscape of the musical and started plotting the outline for a period of one year.
He worked alongside Winnie Holzman, who was an Emmy Award writer. He would also work in conjunction with Marc Platt on developing the outline of what the musical would portray instead of showing a mere adaptation associated with the novel itself.
The script would follow a significant element of the ideas of Maguire, at least from a villainous outlook, the musical is deemed to have gone well past that holding its own against the other adaptations of the storyline structure. Throughout the readings associated with rehearsals and such, the score as well as a book for the musical would come into production. Developmental workshops were held by Schwartz himself who had the musical composition in mind for the characters associated with the musical, in particular, Glinda.
At the onset of auditions, Stephanie J. Block would read for the role of Elphaba, however, Idina Menzel ended up being cast in the role by the latter part of the year, 2000. Early that same year, David Stone, a producer began working on putting the production of the musical in place to be a full-out Broadway extravaganza. Joe Mantello would be brought on as the director of it, while Eugene Lee, a prominent designer who had won a Tony Award would be hired to craft the settings and the overall style associated with the production. The design would be based on the giant clock, which was featured in both the Maguire's conceptualization as well as the novel by Baum. Another designer, Susan Hilferty would create what was known as twisted Edwardian, which would feature throughout 200 or more costumes.
The lighting would be established by Kenneth Posner, who used a total of 800 or more lights that gave a different mood to each of the 54 scenes in the script associated with the musical.The first performance of the musical happened in May of 2003 at the Curran Theatre. It officially opened in June of 2003 and continued to run at that theatre for a period of one month.
The reaction associated with the musical was predominantly optimistic and positive with many critics stating that the spectacles of the musical being complemented, even though some thought that the overall 'Wizard' concept had been obstructed and disparaged. Dennis Harvey, a critic for Variety, stated that the production was snazzy, sleekly directed and engaged a cast that was smartly casted. He however, felt like many critics that the lyrics of the songs were boring and that the music was somewhat bland. Many parts of the book would end up being rewritten and some of the songs would be transformed into different versions to better accommodate much of the criticism that was taking placed with the musical.
There is a heavy thematic score with Wicked The Musical. The reason for this is that the production team wanted it to closely resemble what film scores offer rather than the traditional ones generally likened to musicals. Many scores that are featured in musicals tend to have topics and themes along with melodies associated with every song with a nominal amount of overlapping. Schwartz would be able to integrate what was known as a leitmotif into the musical. A leitmotif translates to mean a musical phrase that is short and recurs throughout the musical. There are two specific themes that are incorporated throughout the musical.
The first is associated with Elphaba and was derived from the rock opera, The Survival of St. Joan, which Schwartz had worked on. The second motif was known as Unlimited. It is more of an interlude wrapped within several musical numbers.
The cast recording for the musical was first released in December of the year, 2003. It was a Universal Music release. Each of the songs that are present in the recording other than "The Wizard and I (Reprise)" as well as "The Wicked Witch of the East." Stephen Oremus, a notable conductor in addition to the musical director would arrange the music on the album. Following its release in December of 2003, the album received a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album two years after, in the year, 2005.
It would be certified by RIAA in platinum status in November of the year, 2006 and in effect become double platinum in November of 2010. A special edition was released 5 years after the initial one in October 2008 with an additional bonus being that of a CD which included tracks of the recordings in German and Japanese. Currently, the musical is running on Broadway, in West End at Apollo Victoria Theatre, and a North American National Tour that began in March of 2005 and a second one that ran in March of 2009. There have been other productions that have run since its inception such as in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia and several cities in Japan including Fukuoka, Osaka, and Tokyo.
Wicked Tickets Prices in New York City
Wicked Zone Premium Tickets @ $320, Wicked Orchestra |Wicked ORCHESTRA CENTER G Tickets @ $499
Wicked CENTER ORCH K Tickets @ $357 |Wicked ORCHESTRA CENTER J Tickets @ $354
Wicked ORCHESTRA CENTER M Tickets @ $339 |Wicked ORCHESTRA CENTER J Tickets @ $328
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