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

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30 Oct 2013

Idina Menzel
Photo by Joan Marcus
Thus far, Maguire and Newman have contributed funds to young women, striving to meet education tuition costs, in Nairobi; literacy efforts in Guatemala City; orphanages and women's college dormitories in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; A Broader Way Foundation, established in 2010 by Wicked stars Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs; and more.

"I take a great deal of proprietary glee in the fact that even the word Elphaba suggests certain things to people who see the play and read the books — about an inclination to want to do something good with whatever magical or fiduciary talents you might have," said Maguire. "It seems like a way of honoring all those people who have taken Elphaba to their hearts." Maguire explained that The Elphaba Fund may outlive him and would continue as long as the musical is bringing in profits.

As for Wicked's big birthday, the author will return to Oz for approximately the 50th time Oct. 30, and his last-minute preparations included a haircut for the big event.

"One of the reasons — I was joking to my son — I went to get the hair cut at the back of my neck is [because] the first time Idina Menzel walked onto the stage in San Francisco and sang 'The Wizard and I,' a hair stood up at the back of my neck, and it has never sat down for ten years," he said with a laugh. "So now I have to keep it cropped short because I look as if I'm sitting in an electric socket!"

Maguire added that Wicked — a story he created as a comment on pop culture and a riff on the magical Land of Oz — has "actually become a part of popular culture now." He has also had several inquires to adapt his 1999 novel "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister," a retelling of "Cinderella," into a musical or opera.

"I've launched a little paper airplane," he said, "and now it's like Starship Enterprise."

For more on Wicked's tenth anniversary, click here. To read the Playbill interview with original stars Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, click here.

( staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)

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