Original Wicked Star Rejoins Musical for National Tour in December

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and Andrew Gans
26 Oct 2005

Carole Shelley in <I>Wicked</I>.
Carole Shelley in Wicked.
Joan Marcus

Carole Shelley — who originated Madame Morrible in Wicked — will return to the role in December for the musical's national tour, the actress told Playbill.com.

"I'm going back into [Wicked] in December, on the road," revealed Shelley. "I can't do [the] Broadway [run] anymore because that show has a raked stage which does dreadful things to my back, but I'm going to go and do eleven weeks with the national company."

Shelley left the role on Broadway in May and played Lady Bracknell in the Barrington Stage Company's summer production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Carol Kane currently fills the shoes of Oz's press secretary on tour.

The London-born actress made her stateside debut as Gwendolyn Pigeon in the original cast of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple. Other Broadway credits include Cabaret, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Show Boat, The Miser, Noises Off, The Misanthrope, The Norman Conquests, Hay Fever, Loot, Stepping Out and Absurd Person Singular — earning Tony Award nominations for the latter two and winning a Tony for The Elephant Man. Shelley recently appeared on screen opposite her Wicked co-star Kristin Chenoweth in the film "Bewitched."

The Wicked tour — which features Stephanie J. Block as Elphaba and Kendra Kassebaum as Glinda — currently plays Houston's Hobby Center for the Performing Arts through Nov. 13. For a complete list of tour dates, visit www.wickedthemusicaltour.com.



Based on Gregory 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 repeated his duties for the tour — continues to play the Gershwin Theatre.

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