Gregory Maguire, Author of "Wicked," Launches The Elphaba Fund and Looks Back on Famed Broadway Musical

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30 Oct 2013

Gregory Maguire
Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire, author of "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" — the novel that inspired the hit Stephen Schwartz-Winnie Holzman musical — recently announced the establishment of the nonprofit foundation The Elphaba Fund; he chatted with Playbill.com about the foundation as well as Wicked, which celebrates its tenth anniversary on Broadway Oct. 30.

"I've been planning [The Elphaba Fund] for about five years, and it's just formalizing right now," explained Maguire, who created the foundation with his husband, painter Andy Newman. "The documents are actually still being drawn up by my lawyer, but it's far enough along — in terms of thinking and also funding — that it seems legitimate to announce this."

The Elphaba Fund, which will be registered with the government by the end of 2013, is dedicated to issues of women's and children's health and education — particularly in the third world — arts and literacy education, and environmental causes. A portion of Maguire's profit from the hit musical will fund various charities.

"As some people know, I spent some part of my life in an orphanage because my mother died in childbirth when I was born — just like Nessarose's mother [does in the musical] — and also, so did my children," said Maguire. "Each of my three children were given up for adoption and spent some time in children's homes… So, [The Elphaba Fund] is partly to do more for other kids that I can't actually adopt and carry home… The second thing — the education part — is particularly directed towards literacy, libraries and literature education. Wicked comes as a result of my deep engagement with the literature of childhood — the literature of L. Frank Baum and 'The [Wonderful] Wizard of Oz' and with the movie literature of the 1939 film. It was sort of the spontaneous combustion of those two miracles against my childish consciousness that was the termination of 'Wicked.'

"Literature, when it's at its best, is art, and art affects children… so that's why I support literacy efforts."



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