Ashford will begin performances at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts' Oriental Theatre June 3. Ensemble member and Glinda understudy Kate Fahrner is now performing the role through June 1.
Ashford will join a cast that includes Dee Roscioli is Elphaba, Barbara Robertson is Madame Morrible, Gene Weygandt is The Wizard, Heidi Kettenring is Nessarose, David deVries is Dr. Dillamond, Stanton Nash is Boq and Michael Seelbach is Fiyero.
Annaleigh Ashford made her Broadway debut originating the role of Margot in Legally Blonde and later assumed the role of Glinda in the New York company of Wicked. The singing actress has also appeared in the tour of Wicked and in workshops of Catch Me If You Can, Pal Joey and Black Suits.
The open-ended Chicago production of Wicked began performances at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts' Oriental Theatre June 24, 2005, and officially opened July 13. The original Chicago company included Ana Gasteyer and Kate Reinders as, respectively, the gravity-defying and "Popular" witches.
Based on Gregory Maguire's novel, which turned every Oz myth inside out, Wicked — with a score by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman — explores the early life of the witches of Oz: Glinda and Elphaba. The two main characters meet at Shiz, a school where both hope to take up sorcery. Glinda is madly popular and Elphaba is, well, green. By a misunderstanding, they wind up roommates and, after an initial period of mutual loathing, begin to learn something about each other. Their life paths continue to intersect through a shared love, entry into the Emerald City and interaction with the Wizard himself. Eventually, their choices and convictions take them on widely different paths. Chicago's Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre is located at 24 West Randolph Street. Tickets for Wicked are available at all Broadway in Chicago box offices (22 W. Monroe Street, 24 W. Randolph Street and 151 West Randolph Street) or by calling (312) 902-1400.
For more information visit www.wickedthemusical.com/chicago.