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PHOTOS: WICKED's Ingress Starts at the Cultural Center of the Philippines

In WICKED, THE CLOCK OF THE TIME DRAGON predicts
chaos that is about to ensue in Munchkin Land. Photo by
Jory Rivera

Co-written by Oliver Oliveros

Broadway's biggest blockbuster, Stephen Schwartz's "Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz," officially opens its limited engagement in Manila on Wednesday, January 22, at the main theater at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Manila, Philippines, January 10, 2014--The ornate set piece "The Clock of the Time Dragon," which was introduced by American novelist Gregory Maguire in his book "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West," and recreated on stage by Tony Award-winning scenic designer Eugene Lee, has been raised atop the main stage at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) since more than 50 stage crew members--the majority of them are Philippine locals--began the production's ingress Thursday, January 2.

BroadwayWorld.com, together with a select group of media outlets, caught up with the Australia-based international touring production's Company Manager Bec Winsor and Technical Director Cameron Flint earlier today; both talked about the progress of the show's transfer from Auckland, New Zealand to Manila, which has required 23 of those 40 foot containers, which contain the "The Clock of the Time Dragon," 360 set fixtures, 96 moving lighting equipment, more than 300 costumes, 70 wigs, and 180 props, among others.

"It would take us roughly 15 days to set up. We began last Thursday; and we're on schedule to finish next Friday, January 17," said Winsor.

She added, "It's the same set used by the international touring production when it premiered at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne, Australia in July 2008, which cost AUD 12 million at the time. The set is the exact replica of the Broadway production [which celebrated its 10th anniversary three months ago]."

Nearly 50 local stage crew members are hired to assemble
WICKED set fixtures at the Cultural Center of the
Philippines. Photo by Jory Rivera

"After the setup, we will run the show with music, but without the cast," said Flint, who did an ocular inspection at the CCP two years ago.

The cast, led by Australian theater actresses Jemma Rix and Suzie Mathers, who will play Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda, the Good Witch, respectively, and Steve Danielsen, who will play Fiyero, the love interest of both Elphaba and Glinda, are expected to arrive Wednesday, January 15.

Winner of 50 major awards, including a Grammy Award and three Tony Awards, "Wicked" tells the untold story of the Witches of Oz in a grand scale production: Long before Dorothy dropped in the Land of Oz, two other girls forge a heartwarming friendship: Elphaba, born with emerald green skin, is smart, fiery, and misunderstood; Glinda, is beautiful, ambitious, and very popular. "Wicked" follows their remarkable odyssey, and how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch.

"Wicked" recently set a new record for a Broadway show with the highest one-week ticket sales at $3,201,333, which the production earned last week of December 2013, making "Wicked" the only show on the Great White Way to have grossed more than $3 million in one week.

"Wicked" broke the previous record of one-week ticket sales at $2,947,142, which it also held in December 2012, and which had earlier been held by Bono and The Edge's" Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark," which had a one-week ticket sales at $2,941,794 in January 2012.

"Wicked" currently has nine productions around the world: New York (Broadway), London (West End), Japan (Tokyo), Australian/Asian Tour (Manila), South Korea (Seoul), Latin America (Mexico City), a U.K.-Ireland Tour (Dublin), and two concurrent North American National Tours.

"Wicked's" limited engagement in Manila (closing Sunday, February 23) is produced by Marc Platt, David Stone, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt, and John Frost. The show features music and lyrics by Broadway icon Stephen Schwartz, book by Winnie Holzman, direction by two-time Tony winner Joe Mantello, and musical staging by Tony winner Wayne Cilento.

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Jory Rivera Jory Rivera is a hobbyist photographer. He is a contributor for OPMB Worldwide, a Philippine-based website that covers national and international pageants.

He joins BroadwayWorld Philippines because theater is his first love. In his own little way, he feels so proud to contribute to promoting theater in the country.