Two-time Tony Award winner Donna Murphy — Ruth in the revival of Wonderful Town at the Hirschfeld Theatre — was felled by the flu before her understudy could learn the role, and the production was forced to shut down for several preview performances. Then, cabaret star Mary Cleere Haran canceled her American Songbook weekend at Lincoln Center due to illness. Now, comes news that Wicked co-star Kristin Chenoweth — who missed the musical's Nov. 18 performance — will also not appear in either the matinee or evening performances Nov. 19.
A spokesperson for the musical about the early life of the "Wizard of Oz" witches told Playbill On-Line, "Kristin will be out of both shows today. She has a cold that has settled in her throat, and her doctor has said that she needs to take the day off to rest." Melissa Bell Chait will perform the role of Glinda in Chenoweth's absence. The spokesperson added, however, that Chenoweth will likely return to the show for the Thursday evening performance, Nov. 20.
Despite acclaim for her performance — including a rave in The New York Times — Wicked has been rough going for the Tony-winning actress, who suffered a neck injury during the musical's out-of-town tryout in San Francisco that caused her to miss a performance at the Curran Theatre. That injury resurfaced during previews at the Gershwin, and Chenoweth sported a rhinestone-decorated neck collar during a few performances.
Kristin Chenoweth made her New York theatrical debut opposite Bill Irwin in a production of Molière's Scapin and followed that with a lead role in Kander and Ebb's Steel Pier. Roles in Off-Broadway's A New Brain and the City Center Encores! productions of Strike Up the Band and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever ensued. Chenoweth won her Tony for her work in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. She also starred in her own, short-lived TV series "Kristin," and her other TV appearances include roles in "Frasier" and ABC's television adaptation of the musical Annie. She was also featured in the TV production of Meredith Willson's The Music Man.
Wicked, which officially opened Oct. 30, also stars former Renter Idina Menzel as Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. The cast includes Tony and Academy Award winner Joel Grey as The Wizard, Carole Shelley as Madame Morrible, Norbert Leo Butz as Fiyero, Michelle Federer as Nessarose, Christopher Fitzgerald as Boq and William Youmans as Doctor Dillamand. The company features Ioana Alfonso, Ben Cameron, Cristy Candler, Kristy Cates, Melissa Bell Chait, Marcus Choi, Kristoffer Cusick, Kathy Deitch, Eden Espinosa, Melissa Fahn, Rhett G. George, Kristen Lee Gorski, Manuel Herrera, Kisha Howard, LJ Jellison, Sean McCourt, Corinne McFadden, Mark Myars, Jan Neuberger, Walter Winston O'Neil, Andrew Palermo, Andy Pellick, Michael Seelbach, Lorna Ventura and Derrick Williams. Directed by Joe Mantello — a 2003 Tony Award winner for last season’s Take Me Out — Wicked features choreography by Wayne Cilento. Tickets are available by calling (212) 307-4100 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.