BWW Feature: WICKED Celebrates 13 Years in the West End!
Now flying into its 14th year, Wicked continues to charm audiences at the Apollo Victoria. On Thursday, 26 September, there was a special performance at the Apollo Victoria Theatre to mark the 13th birthday of the untold story of the Witches of Oz, complete with balloons and confetti a plenty - green, of course.
Wicked opened in London in 2006 after premiering on Broadway and continues to dazzle audiences with its magical story of friendship. It is the 9th longest-running musical in West End history and has now been seen by almost 10 million people in London alone, and many more thanks to various UK tours and productions further afield.
The musical is an adaption of Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West which he wrote while living in London. Stephen Schwartz's dazzling score and Winnie Holzman's witty book bring the novel to life. Schwartz will soon have two musicals running in the West End when The Prince of Egypt opens at the Dominion Theatre in 2020.
The story suggests what might have happened before Dorothy dropped into Oz in the well-loved classic, The Wizard of Oz by Franklin L. Baum. The show asks audiences to question whether the Wicked Witch of the West or Glinda the Good Witch are really all they seem.
Wicked's West End cast are currently led by Nikki Bentley, who dons the green paint as Elphaba, and Helen Woolf, who sparkles as Glinda. Alistair Brammer charms as the Winkie Prince, Fiyero, and Idriss Kargbo plays Boq the lovelorn munchkin.
Woolf explains why she thinks Wicked hasn't lost its magic after 13 years of performances: "I think it's just an incredible story of acceptance and being true to who you are. Anyone can relate to that in this day and age."
The role of Elphaba's sister, Nessarose, is performed by Natasha Ferguson. Dr Dillamond and Madam Morrible are played by Simeon Truby and Kim Ismay, respectively. Andy Hockley rules over Oz as the Wizard.
Wicked has won over 100 major international awards, including two Olivier Awards. The gravity-defying spectacle continues to break records and, judging by the audience's reaction this evening, the Apollo Victoria will be lit up in emerald for some time yet!
Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre until 23 May 2020
Photo credit: Matt Crockett