Murney Over Manhattan: New Elphaba Flies Into Wicked Jan. 9

News   Murney Over Manhattan: New Elphaba Flies Into Wicked Jan. 9 Julia Murney, who played the green-faced, misunderstood Elphaba in the national tour of Wicked, joins the Broadway company of the hit Stephen Schwartz-Winnie Holzman musical in that same role Jan. 9.

Julia Murney in Wicked; Murney and Sebastian Arcelus in Wicked.
Julia Murney in Wicked; Murney and Sebastian Arcelus in Wicked. Photo by Joan Marcus

Murney succeeds Ana Gasteyer in the role created by Idina Menzel to Tony-winning effect. Other Broadway Elphabas include Shoshana Bean and Eden Espinosa; the latter will soon open the sit-down production of Wicked in Los Angeles.

The New York company of Wicked also welcomes Kendra Kassebaum as Glinda and Sebastian Arcelus as Fiyero Jan. 9. Both Kassebaum and Arcelus appeared in the tour of Wicked as well.

The Broadway cast also features David Garrison (the Wizard), Jayne Houdyshell (Madame Morrible), Cristy Candler (Nessarose), Logan Lipton (Boq) and Steven Skybell (Dr. Dillamond).

Julia Murney made her Broadway debut last season in Lennon. She received a Drama Desk nomination for her work in Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party, and her other theatrical credits include Crimes of the Heart, Time and Again, A Class Act, Cloud 9, Snapshots, Mata Hari and the national tour of Wicked. Murney also portrayed Florence in the Chess benefit concert for The Actors' Fund of America and was part of the all-star Children of Eden concert as well.

Kendra Kassebaum, who created the role of Glinda in the national tour of Wicked, has been seen on Broadway in Rent and the Tony-winning revival of Assassins. She has toured in productions of A Chorus Line and Grease and has numerous regional theatre credits. Kassebaum also appeared on TV's long-running "Guiding Light." Sebastian Arcelus played Jan in Broadway's Good Vibrations and Roger in Rent. His other theatrical credits include The Full Monty, Hamlet—A Rock Opera, Caligula, Aida, Floyd Collins and the world premiere of William Finn's Songs of Innocence and Experience.

With a score by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked began previews on Broadway Oct. 8, 2003, after a summer tryout at San Francisco's Curran Theatre.

Based on Gregory Maguire's novel, which turned every Oz myth inside out, Wicked 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.

The Broadway company, directed by Joe Mantello, plays the Gershwin Theatre. Tickets are available by calling (212) 307-4100 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.