McClanhan replaces Carole Shelley as Madame Morrible, Ben Vereen succeeds George Hearn as the Wizard, and Megan Hilty becomes the latest actress to play Glinda, replacing Jennifer Laura Thompson. Shelley, Hearn and Thompson played their final performances at the Gershwin Theatre May 29.
Emmy Award winner Rue McClanahan is best known for her work on two classic television sitcoms, "Maude" and "The Golden Girls." Last on Broadway in the revival of The Women, she has also been seen on The Great White Way in productions of California Suite, Sticks and Bones, Father's Day and Jimmy Shine. Her film credits are numerous.
A star of stage and screen, Ben Vereen made his Broadway debut in Jesus Christ Superstar, earning a Tony Award nomination for his performance. He nabbed the Tony for his work in Bob Fosse's production of Pippin and has also starred on Broadway in Grind, Jelly's Last Jam and Fosse. The recent revival of I'm Not Rappaport marked Vereen's non-musical Broadway debut. Vereen was nominated for Emmy Awards for his performances in "Roots," "Intruders" and 1976's "The Bell Telephone Jubilee." He also received Golden Globe nominations for his work in "Funny Lady" and "Ellis Island."
Megan Hilty made her Broadway debut in the ensemble of Wicked and also served as standby for the role of Glinda. She appeared in the musical Café Puttanesca at Pittsburgh's City Theatre and was also seen in Suds at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre. Hilty is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon's theatre program.
The Broadway company of Wicked also features Shoshana Bean as Elphaba, David Ayers as Fiyero, Michelle Federer as Nessarose, Jeffrey Kuhn as Boq and William Youmans as Doctor Dillamond. With a score by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked began previews on Broadway Oct. 8, 2003, with an official opening Oct. 30, 2003. The musical earned the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album for the popular Decca Broadway original cast recording.
Directed by Joe Mantello, Wicked features choreography by Wayne Cilento and plays the Gershwin, 222 West 51st Street. Tickets are available by calling (212) 307 4100 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.