Wicked Cancels First Toronto Preview Due to Block's Injury

News   Wicked Cancels First Toronto Preview Due to Block's Injury
 
The first performance of the eagerly awaited tour of Stephen Schwartz's Wicked — scheduled for March 8 at the Canon Theatre in Toronto — has been canceled.

Stephanie J. Block, who portrays the not-so-Wicked Witch of the West, is unable to perform due to an injury sustained during the show's rehearsal period.

A press statement reads, "[Block] has suffered a minor injury during rehearsal. She is experiencing muscle spasms which are preventing her from performing. As a result, tonight's preview performance has been canceled and has been rescheduled for Sunday, March 13 at 7:30 PM. . . All tickets for this evening's performance will be honored for this new Sunday evening performance."

Block, according to the press statement, is expected to return to the musical in a few days. Kristy Cates, one of the standbys in the Broadway production of Wicked, will play the role of the misunderstood Elphaba until Block returns.

Wicked is proving to be a bit of a dangerous proposition for its leading ladies. Kristin Chenoweth, who originated the role of Glinda, suffered a neck injury during the show's out-of-town tryout in San Franciso. And, Tony Award winner Idina Menzel broke a rib during her final weekend of performances on Broadway.

* The tour of Stephen Schwartz's Wicked kicks off this week at Toronto's Canon Theatre. The limited engagement of the musical — based on Gregory Maguire's novel of the same name — will play the Ontario theatre through April 24. Block, who was part of the out-of-town San Francisco tryout of the musical, is cast as the green-faced Elphaba with Kendra Kassebaum as the golden-locked Glinda. The company also includes David Garrison (the Wizard), Carol Kane (Madame Morrible), Derrick Williams (Fiyero), Jenna Leigh Green (Nessarose), Logan Lipton (Boq) and Timothy Britten Parker (Dr. Dillamond).

The Wicked ensemble comprises Katie Adams, Timothy Anderson, Terra Lynn Arrington, Aaron Albano, Peter John Chursin, Matt Clemons, Nicholas Drommard, Laura Dysarczyk, Maria Eberline, Brooke Elliott, Lori Holmes, Adam Lambert, KW Miller, Kristen Oei, Chris Peluso, Don Richard, Emily Rozek, Chris Russo, Brian Slaman, James Tabeek, Barbara Tirrell, Brooke Wendle and Nicole Winhoffer.

Following its run at the Canon, Wicked will head to Chicago's Ford Center for the Performing Arts, playing April 29-June 12. Wicked will then make a stop at Hollywood's Pantages Theatre, June 17-July 31, and is also scheduled to play San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre Aug. 4-Sept. 11. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Buell Theatre will offer Wicked Sept. 15-Oct. 2, and a Dallas engagement at Music Hall at Fair Park is set for Oct. 5-23. The hit musical will then play engagements at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL (Feb. 8-19, 2006) and at the Kimmell Center in Philadelphia, PA (beginning March 22, 2006).

Based on 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.

Wicked, with a book by Winnie Holzman, began previews on Broadway Oct. 8, 2003, with an official opening Oct. 30, 2003. The Broadway company — directed by Joe Mantello, who repeats his duties for the tour — continues to play the Gershwin Theatre. Tickets for Wicked's national tour are available by calling Ticketmaster at (312) 902-1400.

For more information about Wicked visit www.wickedthemusical.com.

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