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Photo Flash: WICKED Opens in Los Angeles February 21

The new production of WICKED is being mounted specifically for Southern California and stars Eden Espinosa and Megan Hilty as Elphaba and Glinda. Both Espinosa and Hilty appeared in their roles in the Broadway production of WICKED.

Emmy Award winner and Oscar nominee Carol Kane will appear as Madame Morrible and veteran stage, screen and television star John Rubinstein plays The Wizard. Jenna Leigh Green will appear as Nessarose. Kane and Green played their parts during the sold out Pantages Theatre WICKED engagement in the summer of 2005 and both appeared in the Broadway production. Kristoffer Cusick plays Fiyero, a role he has played on Broadway and in Chicago.

Adam Wylie, who made his Broadway debut as Jack in the recent revival of Into the Woods, will play Boq. Wylie is also well known from playing Zach in the TV series "Picket Fences." Timothy Britten Parker plays Doctor Dillamond. He also appeared in the 2005 Pantages Theatre engagement, and in Chicago in this role, and was a member of the original cast of Rent.

Last summer, WICKED was completely sold out during its seven-week run at the Pantages Theatre. Earlier this year WICKED was completely sold out, breaking the house record, during its two-week engagement at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

WICKED, by far the highest grossing show on Broadway and across the country, currently has three companies in North America: on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre; on a National Tour; and in a separate, open-ended engagement at Chicago's Ford Center for Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre.

In the last week of 2006, WICKED, once again set a new record for the highest grossing week in Broadway history, breaking its own previous record. Remarkably, for the same week, productions of WICKED also broke records as the highest grossing show ever in London's West End, Chicago, and Toronto, where the show was on a national tour stop. WICKED was the previous record-holder in each market.

Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, WICKED has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman. It is directed by Joe Mantello, with musical staging by Wayne Cilento. WICKED is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone.

Winner of 15 major awards including the Grammy Award and three Tony Awards, WICKED is the untold story of the witches of Oz. Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. WICKED tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.

Tickets are on sale at www.ticketmaster.com or www.BroadwayLA.org, by phone at 213-365-3500 or 714-740-7878, in person at the Pantages Theatre Box Office, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., or at any Ticketmaster outlet. Groups of fifteen (15) or more can call 866-755-3075 or online at www.nedgroups.com.

WICKED and Los Angeles

Producer Marc Platt said, "The reception to WICKED in Los Angeles during its sold-out seven-week run in the summer of 2005 exceeded our wildest expectations. The enthusiasm generated by the audiences at the Pantages Theatre – just a few short miles away from my offices at Universal Studios where WICKED was created – was unlike the response in any other city that the show has played. It was during that run that we began to formulate the plan for a company of the show just for Los Angeles."

Producer David Stone said, "After watching the excitement for WICKED at the Pantages last year, we felt that there would be a wide audience base in Southern California for a Los Angeles company. We are planning to make Los Angeles a home for WICKED as long as the public's demand for our show will allow."

Martin Wiviott, General Manager of Broadway/L.A. said, "Since WICKED played here last summer, we have been inundated with requests for when the show might return. It has been one of the most popular musicals not just to ever play at the Pantages, but to have ever been performed in Los Angeles. We are thrilled that the producers of WICKED have chosen the Pantages for its home in Los Angeles, and we are looking forward to a long run in Hollywood."

Photos by Joan Marcus

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Eden Espinosa and Megan Hilty

Eden Espinosa

Kristoffer Cusick and Eden Espinosa

Megan Hilty and Eden Espinosa

John Rubinstein

Carol Kane

Megan Hilty and the WICKED Ensemble

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Megan Hilty, Eden Espinosa and the WICKED Ensemble

Producer Marc Platt calls the upcoming Los Angeles production, "a very exciting homecoming for WICKED." WICKED began ten years ago when Platt was president of production at Universal Pictures. He had begun developing a film based on Gregory Maguire's novel.

At the same time, Broadway composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz was introduced to the novel. His friend, author and Angeleno Winnie Holzman, coincidentally bought a copy of the novel and called her agent and asked how she could get the rights. Schwartz met with Platt to talk to him about doing WICKED as a movie. They quickly realized that the story might be better served as a Broadway musical.

Beginning in 1999, Schwartz, Holzman and Platt met together for a year at Platt's offices at Universal, working out the story beat-for-beat. Then Schwartz went off to do the music and Holzman went off to write the first draft of the book.

The first reading, of just the first act, was in spring of 2000 at the Coronet Theatre. Work and readings continued in Los Angeles, and in February 2001, the first reading of the entire book and score was held. At that time, producer David Stone, director Joe Mantello and the rest of the creative team came on board. They began a year-and-a-half schedule of readings and workshops, primarily at Universal Studios.

WICKED features set design by Tony Award winner Eugene Lee, costume design by Tony Award winner Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and sound design by Tony Meola. The orchestrations are by William David Brohn, with dance arrangements by James Lynn Abbott.

The Grammy Award winning (Best Musical Show Album) original cast recording of WICKED has just been certified 'Platinum' by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for sales of more than 1 million copies. Produced by composer Stephen Schwartz for Decca Broadway, the album has been the fastest selling original cast recording in years, and has regularly appeared on the list of Amazon's top-selling albums. It is currently #1 on Billboard's Top Cast Album Chart, the position it occupied when the chart debuted in January 2006.

About the cast of the Los Angeles production of WICKED

Eden Espinosa (Elphaba) has performed the role of Elphaba to critical acclaim on Broadway, as well as the San Francisco stop on the national tour. She created the title character in Brooklyn the musical and performed it from the original workshop, on through it's Broadway run. You may have heard her on such recordings as HAIR (BCEFA benefit recording), The Maury Yeston Songbook, Bright Lights, Big City, and John McDaniel live at Joe's Pub.

Megan Hilty (Glinda) played Glinda both on Broadway and the National Tour. She is a graduate of the Carnegie Mellon University and a proud member of Actor's Equity. Other credits include the world premiere of Vanities - The Musical (MVPAC), Cafe Puttanesca (City Theatre), and Suds (Oregon Cabaret Theatre).

Carol Kane (Madame Morrible) Stage: Wicked (Broadway and national tour); Larry Gelbart's Sly Fox; Control Freak, Signature, The Lucky Spot and Family Week by Beth Henley; Shakespeare's The Tempest, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream; John Cassavetes' A Women of Mystery; Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny; Feydeau's He Hunts. Television includes "Taxi" (two Emmys), "Pearl," "Seinfeld," "Brooklyn Bridge," "Chicago Hope" (Emmy nom.),"Beggars & Choosers." and "The Year Without a Santa Claus." Film includes Carnal Knowledge, The Last Detail, Annie Hall, Hester Street (Academy Award nom.), Dog Day Afternoon, The World's Greatest Lover, When a Stranger Calls, The Princess Bride, Scrooged, The Lemon Sisters, The Pallbearer, Office Killer, Trees Lounge, Addams Family Values, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, The Pacifier, Cosmopolitan and The Key Man.

John Rubinstein (The Wizard) Broadway: Pippin, Children Of A Lesser God (Tony, Drama Desk Awards), Fools, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Hurlyburly, M. Butterfly, Ragtime. Off-B'way: Counsellor-At-Law (Lucille Lortel Award), Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead. LA: Ragtime, Urinetown, Into The Woods, A Little Night Music, Metamorphoses, Sight Unseen, Counsellor-AtLaw (Ovation, LADCC Awards). Original Andrew in Love Letters. Films include: 21 Grams, Red Dragon, Mercy, Someone To Watch Over Me, Daniel, The Boys From Brazil, Zachariah, Getting Straight. Over 200 TV appearances; starred in series "Family" (Emmy nomination) and "Crazy Like a Fox." As a director, in NY: The Old Boy, Phantasie, Nightingale; LA: Guys And Dolls, The Rivals; TV: "A Matter of Conscience" (Emmy: Best Children's Special), "Nash Bridges." Composed scores to films Jeremiah Johnson, The Candidate; TV: "China Beach," "The Dollmaker.¡ Proud father of Jessica, Michael, Peter, Jacob, and Max.

Kristoffer Cusick (Fiyero) creating the role of Fiyero for the Chicago company and playing the role on Broadway with the Original Cast. Bway/Tours: Saturday Night Fever OBC (Kenny, Gus u/s) and Rent (Angel) Film/TV: "Star Search," "Big Break," "After Hours" (pilot/ Comedy Central), "Pretty Cool" (HBO). Debut CD, My Greatest Desire and more information available at www.kristoffercusick.com

Jenna Leigh Green (Nessarose). Direct from the Broadway cast of Wicked, Jenna originated the role of Nessarose and covered the role of Elphaba (performed) on the 1st national tour. Other NYC: bare (Dodger Theatricals). Recent NYC workshops include Mask and A Room With A View. LA credits include Wizard of Oz, The Secret Garden, Romeo and Juliet, Into the Woods and West Side Story. TV/Film: Libby Chessler on "Sabrina the Teenage Witch", "First Shot" (TBS), "A Friend to Die For", "Dharma and Greg", "ER¡,"Cover Me" and "Open House."

Timothy Britten Parker (Doctor Dillamond) Broadway: Rent (Original cast, Obie award), The Innocents, Runaways, The Visit, Wicked (also National Tour). Off-Broadway includes Machinal (Public), Kenneth Lonergan's The Heartsick Pioneer (Drama-Logue award), The King of Connecticut. Founding member Naked Angels Theatre Company where performed in 40 productions. Film: Quiz Show, Gold Coast. TV: Recurring on "Law & Order" (Forensic Detective Hoeck), "NY Undercover."

Adam Wylie (Boq) Broadway: Into the Woods (Jack). Recent Television: "Entourage," "Monk," "Gilmore Girls," "Veronica Mars," "Avatar," "Ben 10," Braniac 5 on "Legions of Super Heroes." Upcoming Films: Species, Quatro. Theatre: 110 in the Shade (Jimmy), Pasadena Playhouse, Big River (Huck), (Chip), Beauty and the Beast-LA (Chip), Precious Sons (Freddie Jr), Sondheims 75th -- Hollywood Bowl. www.adamwylie.com

Grammy Award-winning original cast recording available on Decca Broadway.

For more information, visit www.wickedthemusical.com.

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