Wayne Cilento, who gave Aida and Tommy their dance work, will be back on Broadway arranging fancy footwork for the Wicked Witch of the West for the world premiere of Stephen Schwartz's Wicked, beginning performances April 15, 2003, at San Francisco's Curran Theatre. Joe Mantello is directing the new musical with Kristin Chenoweth as a definite for the role of Glinda, the Good Witch.
Casting notices name Idina Menzel as Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West and Dana Ivey as Madame Morrible, the formidable headmistress of both witches' college, Shiz University. A press representative could not confirm the casting of either actress.
Other roles, including the (infamous) Wizard of Oz, Nessarose (Elphaba's crippled sister, the Wicked Witch of the East), the handsome young Fiyero, Boq and Dr. Dillamond, a talking goat and professor at Shiz, have yet to be cast.
Wicked is based on the novel by Gregory Maguire ("Lost," "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister"), which purports to tell the true story of Elphaba, "Oz"'s Wicked Witch of the West. Raised in the backwaters of Oz but sent to school in the city, the future Wicked Witch suffers through her dormmate Glinda's prissy behavior, becomes a radical animal rights activist (when the Wizard arrives, he immediately reduces all animals, even the talking ones, to their former roles as beasts of burden and food) and falls in love. She is first a revolutionary, then a reclusive ruler, disgusted by the tactics of her armless sister's tyrannical religious regime and her schoolmate Glinda's pompous royalty. Maguire conceived "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" as a funny and twisted look at how good and evil is perceived.
Schwartz, creator of the hits "Godspell" and "Pippin," is writing the score with a book by Winnie Holzman. In recent New York readings, Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown) played Glinda, the Good Witch, with Idina Menzel of Rent as her polar opposite, Elphaba. Wicked will play the Curran through May 18, 2003. It will continue on to Broadway in October, 2003 with an opening expected on Halloween at a theatre-to-be-announced.