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Question about Idina's casting in Wicked

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Question about Idina's casting in Wicked#1
Posted: 6/24/08 at 10:33pm
Yes, I'm being brave enough to ask a question involving both Idina Menzel AND Wicked.

Back when it was first announced that she'd be playing Elphaba, were people at all shocked/surprised that an actress primarily known for playing a bisexual performance artist in a rock musical was cast as a fairy tale character?

Did the Broadway community have any reaction? Did they even care? :)
Updated On: 6/24/08 at 10:33 PM
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Ummm..... That is like a reaction to Sherie in The Little Mermaid after doing Debbie Goes Dallas. No one cares?
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I don't recall there being a lot of "surprise" or discussion. The obsession with this performer began after the show began previews in NY.
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who cares.
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No one knew much about the show then.
The real talk happened after she beat several big names for the TONY, because she kicked butt and the role turned out to be so craptastic.
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I mean prior to her being in Wicked she did have work on Broadway. She wasn't one of the Rent original cast members who pretty much fell off the face of the earth when their time in Rent was done. She did work on Broadway in shows like Aida and the Wild Party. However, Wicked was her big break. I would say that she was known amongst people who followed Broadway actors and actresses and not as big of a name as she is now. But, once she started in Wicked and the show took a life of its own she got a name for herself just by doing the show.
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Wicked wasn't written to be a children's show. It was taken from a book where the character who Idina played has lesbian experiences and has a psychotic meltdown. But even if she was playing the Explorer, no one would have cared. Actors go from playing killers to Disney characters. That's why they call it ACTING.
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No one said that Wicked was a children's show. Everyone on here knows that the show is a dumbed down version of the book. If your making referring to me and the fact that I did list a Disney show she was in. I was only listing a couple ( even though she does have more) things that she did between Rent and Wicked. Those were two that came to mind. Even though she does have more.

I was trying to say that unlike some of the Rent OBC she didn't fall of the face of the earth and and had success doing Broadway shows. However, it wasn't until Wicked became its own big thing and Idina won the Tony that she became this "star" that she is now.
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it never ceases to shock me how a simple question about wicked/idina turns into ammo for ridicule and belittlement. bravo freaks, bravo.
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^ hahaha
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re: Question about Idina's casting in Wicked#10
Posted: 6/24/08 at 11:33pm
Winston, I Love yer Car;in quote.
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re: Question about Idina's casting in Wicked#11
Posted: 6/24/08 at 11:47pm
Idina wasn't in the Broadway version of Wild Party for the record. And i am not correcting you to be a douche either.
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re: Question about Idina's casting in Wicked#12
Posted: 6/25/08 at 12:47am
I'm actually more curious why they had Idina than Stephanie J Block? Rather than Idina was in RENT and then Wicked, she's been in other stuff too and proves not to be known JUST as Maureen before that.

...or do I really care? :P
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back then, Block had no Broadway credits to her name whiel Idina did. The producers also did not wan tto put a 14 million dollar musical on the shoulders of someone who had no broadway experience.
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re: Question about Idina's casting in Wicked#14
Posted: 6/25/08 at 10:34am
i could be wrong, but didnt I see somewhere that block turned down wicked to be in boy from OZ?
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re: Question about Idina's casting in Wicked#15
Posted: 6/25/08 at 10:57am
Stephanie J. Block was in the ensemble (and was Idina's understudy) in the pre-Broadway tryout of WICKED in San Francisco. She auditioned and got the role of Liza Minnelli in the soon-to-open-on-Broadway production of THE BOY FROM OZ, so she wisely chose to leave her ensemble gig in WICKED and make her Broadway debut (and create a role) in THE BOY FROM OZ.
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re: Question about Idina's casting in Wicked#16
Posted: 6/25/08 at 10:58am
She turned down an understudy gig in WICKED to be in THE BOY FROM OZ. She was not offered Elphaba to open the show.
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re: Question about Idina's casting in Wicked#17
Posted: 6/25/08 at 11:51am
Ok thanks for clearing up that for me, it did sound rather odd when i first heard of it.
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re: Question about Idina's casting in Wicked#18
Posted: 6/25/08 at 11:58am
Ok, I'm confused. As far as I know, Stephanie J. Block did do the role in a workshop, but the producers didn't just go and offer it to Idina Menzel. They held auditions, and I distinctly remember Julia Murney telling a story that it came down to herself and Idina in the auditions. It sounds to me like they went looking for someone other than Block.
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re: Question about Idina's casting in Wicked#19
Posted: 6/25/08 at 12:01pm
Was it a workshop or a reading? I know Block participated in a VERY early reading (or workshop of the show) back when David Burnham was still associated with it as Fiyero.

I believe, however, that by the time they got to an actual workshop, they had cast Menzel, who according to Schwartz (in one of those books) was the first actress to audition. Menzel talks about that audition, how she sang "Easy as Life," from Aida, how they had her sing Defying Gravity and she cracked on the last note, and thought she blew it.
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re: Question about Idina's casting in Wicked#20
Posted: 6/25/08 at 12:28pm
Bwaybaby, I think they were being metaphoric in saying she had been on broadway in the past with Wild Party. While it was off-bway, it was rather successful and quite well known in the bway community.

Also I think Steve said that one of the reasons Idina got the role was the producers could 'see' her in the role; I believe there is some story about her wearing green eyeshadow and black clothes.
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She also wore green blush!
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yeah they say in the 'Grimmerie' i think, that Idina came in, wearing Elphaba inspired make up and she sang Defying Gravity and cracked, swore loudly and nailed it on the second attempt i believe?

haven't read it in a while, but thats basically the story.