FLASH FRIDAY: WICKED's 10th Anniversary Celebration Round-Up, Green & Swankified!
Today we are celebrating the biggest Broadway musical of the new millennium in honor of its tenth anniversary on Broadway - an enviable feat having only been achieved by ten productions to date - with a wonderful emerald-hewed look at WICKED, 2003 to 2013... and beyond!
As unlikely a worldwide sensation as the masterpiece of filmmaking that its source material and inspiration undoubtedly was - that is, the 1939 MGM musical THE WIZARD OF OZ - Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman's reworking of Gregory Maguire's provocative and heavily politically-shaded 1995 adult novel WICKED into a stage musical is just as daring a treatment and nearly as unexpected in its worldwide sensation status. Truly, no musical of the 21st century prior to THE BOOK OF MORMON has tapped the consciousness of not only Broadway and New York culture, but national and international pop culture as well with its oh-so popular presence. While nearly 40 million people have supposedly seen the show onstage somewhere in the last ten years, three times that number are probably aware of one of the show's ubiquitous anthems and the general gist of the musical - a surefire sign that the long-lasting legacy of WICKED will endure for many more decades to come beyond this celebratory indoctrination of the Broadway production into the rarefied ten-year-plus club - previously and currently occupied by such theatrical linchpins as THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, A CHORUS LINE, LES MISERABLES and CATS, to name a few of the most recent mega-hits. Yet, what precisely is it about the tale of two young women with magical abilities in a weird and winsome place known as Oz that has won over audiences the world over with its persuasive power - with, among its many virtues, two spectacular performance showcases for its leading ladies?
How exactly has WICKED defied gravity and defied the odds themselves to become the veritable hit of an entire generation? Well, there is no one simple answer to that, of course, but a large part of the allure of the event is undoubtedly just that - it is an event quite unlike any other, theatrical or otherwise. From Eugene Lee's sprawling, environmental set reaching out from the playing space into the auditorium itself (especially at home on Broadway at the Gershwin Theater in its original design) to Joe Mantello's dazzling staging and sparkling mise en scene writ oh so large to Schwartz's dynamic and propulsive score to the idiosyncratic story itself and the emotionally relatable sisterly lens through which Holzman's inventive book weaves the yarn, it is a complete, satisfying package with a brand built already in, to boot.
Speaking of boots - as well as ruby red slippers; or silver ones, as they are in L. Frank Baum's original books - the one element WICKED surprisingly lacks despite the plethora of positive points to consider when assessing its worldwide hit status is actually the iconic farm girl from Kansas that acted as the centerpiece of the legendary novel and film - Dorothy; and her little dog, Toto, too! But, as we can so clearly see and hear, Dorothy was definitely not needed - at least not to be represented beyond a fleeting reference or two to satiate newcomers to the story unfamiliar with the generally quite vague and somewhat tenuous WIZARD OF OZ connections present in the piece as it exists onstage. Wittily worked into a condensed and largely alternatively focused adaptation of the original, more adult-themed novel, WICKED still maintains the punch of much of Gregory Maguire's masterful reinventing of an entire universe - and some new ones - that we all thought we know so very well from the classic film and source novels. With WICKED, the surprises and delightful details hidden away in everything from the book and score themselves to the astonishing set and costume design and the committed and memorable performances given by so many of the cast-members all over the world are further proof of its revisit-ability and the gems that can be generously gleaned from repeat visits to the musical, too. Indeed, WICKED is a seriously swankified affair beyond compare!
On that note, WICKED boasts nine productions currently running around the world: besides Broadway and the West End, WICKED plays in Japan (Tokyo), Australia/New Zealand (Auckland), South Korea (Seoul) and Latin America (Mexico City), with a UK & Ireland Tour (Manchester) and two concurrent North American National Tours. Additionally, since the musical's New York debut a decade ago, WICKED has grossed over $3.1 billion worldwide and has been seen by more than an estimated 38 million across the globe so far in its history. Also, by the end of 2013, the global phenomenon will have been performed in over 100 cities in 13 countries around the world, as well: the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, The Philippines and Mexico. WICKED has subsequently also been translated into five languages: Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Korean. And that is just an overview of the Oz-errific facts and figures of this astoundingly lucrative 21st century entertainment anomaly!
In one short decade, WICKED has become one of the world's most well-known and beloved modern musicals and in honor of its tenth anniversary this week all of our hats are ceremoniously off to it - black, pointy and otherwise.
Don't miss BroadwayWorld's extensive coverage of WICKED over this years with a comprehensive flashback round-up, available here.
So, now, let's take a look at the highlights from October's many WICKED-related celebrations as well as touch upon some of the best moments from the past and present as we look ahead to another ten years of WICKED on the Great White Way and beyond - if not many, many more beyond even that!
First up, a video montage containing some of the cast, crew and creative team that has made WICKED one of Broadway's biggest hits - ten years and counting!
Now, see where it all began with this two-part documentary all about the making of WICKED.
Witness history in the making with original leads Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth on the Tony Awards, along with a touching introduction by the original Wizard himself, Joel Grey.
Next, composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz sends a heartfelt message to the legions of WICKED fans around the world.
Director Joe Mantello discusses his contributions to WICKED and its vast impact around the globe.
The current West End cast of WICKED wishes the Broadway production a "fabulocious" ten years!
After that, sample current Broadway Elphaba and Glinda with these two TODAY performance featuring Lindsay Mendez and Alli Mauzey.
"What Is This Feeling?"
"The Wizard & I"
Also, enjoy these surprise WICKED appearances on long-running game show JEOPARDY this week.
Get a sneak peek of the new West End cast with this preview of the 2013-14 West End production of WICKED.
Bringing WICKED firmly into 2013, here is a brand new pop radio-friendly rendition of score standout "Popular" performed by Ariana Grande and Mika.
Lastly, enjoy this awesome special performance of "For Good" courtesy of Kristin Chenoweth and Anna Kendrick.
As a special bonus, review this unforgettable GLEE rendition of "For Good" as performed by Lea Michele and Chris Colfer on the actual set of WICKED on Broadway at the Gershwin Theater - a song which had its world premiere right here on BroadwayWorld a few years ago, as a matter of fact!
So, what is it about WICKED that first put you personally under its sonorous and mesmerizing spell? Furthermore, what performance in the show is most impossible for you to erase from your memory? Plus, what song from the hit-packed score is your ultimate all-time favorite? With all the wonderful, weird and winning attributes to WICKED, it's nearly impossible to choose!
While it may appear from the title that bad could beat good in the end with a show titled WICKED running for ten years, it's actually exactly the opposite in this case - it's all for good. But, forever? We'll see. Till then, catch you here or at the Ozdust!
Photo Credits: Joan Marcus, etc.