Oz Witches, Behind the Music: Wicked Begins Broadway Previews Oct. 8

News   Oz Witches, Behind the Music: Wicked Begins Broadway Previews Oct. 8
After a delay of one day, previews begin Oct. 8 at the Gershwin Theatre for Wicked, the new musical by Stephen Schwartz, starring Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel.

Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda in Wicked.
Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda in Wicked. Photo by Joan Marcus

Wicked marks Schwartz's first new Broadway entry in more than a decade. His last new musical was 1986's short-lived Rags (as lyricist to composer Charles Strouse); he also composed the scores for such hit musicals as Godspell, The Magic Show and Pippin, all from the early '70s.

The Oct. 7 first preview was canceled in order to give the production more time to work out technical details added to the show since its San Francisco tryout. A performance to make up for the Oct. 7 loss will be added Oct. 14. Such changes in schedule are not unusual for new, technically complicated works.

Wicked song titles include "No One Mourns the Wicked," "Dear Old Shiz," "The Wizard and I," "What Is This Feeling?," "Something Bad," "Dancing Through Life," "Popular," "I'm Not That Girl," "One Short Day," "A Sentimental Man," "Defying Gravity," "Thank Goodness," "The Wicked Witch of the East," "Wonderful," "As Long As You're Mine," "No Good Deed," "March of the Witch Hunters" and "For Good."

With a score by Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked opens Oct. 30. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, the musical explores the early life of the witches of Oz: Glinda and Elphaba. According to a press statement, the untold story of the witches of Oz takes place "long before Dorothy drops in. . . One [witch], born with emerald green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. Wicked tells the story of a remarkable odyssey in which these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch."

Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth, who recently starred as “Marian” in the TV adaptation of The Music Man, plays Glinda, the Good Witch, and former Renter Idina Menzel is Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. The cast also includes Tony and Academy Award winner Joel (Cabaret) Grey as The Wizard, Carole Shelley as Madame Morrible, Norbert Leo Butz as Fiyero, Michelle Federer as Nessarose, Christopher Fitzgerald as Boq and William Youmans as Doctor Dillamand. The company features Ioana Alfonso, Ben Cameron, Cristy Candler, Kristy Cates, Melissa Bell Chait, Marcus Choi, Kristoffer Cusick, Kathy Deitch, Melissa Fahn, Rhett G. George, Kristen Lee Gorski, Manuel Herrera, Kisha Howard, LJ Jellison, Sean McCourt, Corinne McFadden, Mark Myars, Jan Neuberger, Walter Winston O'Neil, Andrew Palermo, Andy Pellick, Michael Seelbach, Lorna Ventura and Derrick Williams.

Directed by Joe Mantello — a 2003 Tony Award winner for this season’s Take Me OutWicked boasts choreography by Wayne Cilento. The creative team comprises Eugene Lee (set design), Susan Hilferty (costume design), Kenneth Posner (lighting design), Tony Meola (sound design), Stephen Oremus (musical director), William David Brohn (orchestrations) and Jim Abbott (dance arrangements).

The Gershwin Theatre is located in Manhattan at 222 West 51st Street. Wicked will play Tuesdays at 8 PM, Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8 PM with matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 PM and Sundays at 3 PM; tickets range from $40-$100. (Beginning Nov. 4, Wicked will offer Tuesday evening performances at 7 PM.) Tickets are available by calling (212) 307-4100 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.

Norbert Leo Butz and Idina Menzel in <i>Wicked</i>.
Norbert Leo Butz and Idina Menzel in Wicked. Photo by Joan Marcus
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