Shelley, who originated the role of Madame Morrible, will be succeeded by "Golden Girls" Emmy winner Rue McClanahan. Hearn, who followed Joel Grey as the Wizard, will leave his role to Tony Award winner Ben Vereen. And, Jennifer Laura Thompson, who replaced Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, will be succeeded by Megan Hilty. McClanahan, Vereen and Hilty all begin performances May 31.
Carole Shelley made her Broadway debut as Gwendolyn Pigeon in Neil Simon's The Odd Couple and has since played roles in Cabaret, Show Boat, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, The Miser, Noises Off, The Norman Conquests, Stepping Out, Absurd Person Singular and The Elephant Man. She earned Tony Award nominations for her work in Absurd Person Singular and Stepping Out and won the Tony for The Elephant Man. Shelley will next play Lady Bracknell in the Barrington Stage Company's production of The Importance of Being Earnest, July 21-Aug. 7 at the Consolati Performing Arts Center in Sheffield, MA.
George Hearn won Tony Awards for his performances in La Cage aux Folles and Sunset Boulevard and was also nominated for his work in Watch on the Rhine, A Doll's Life and Putting It Together. Hearn's other Broadway credits include Meet Me in St. Louis; Ghetto; Ah, Wilderness!; Whodunnit; I Remember Mama; Sweeney Todd: An Almost Perfect Person; Hamlet; The Changing Room; 1776; and A Time for Singing.
Jennifer Laura Thompson received a 2002 Tony Award nomination for her performance as Hope Cladwell in Urinetown. She also appeared on Broadway as Ariel Moore in the original cast of Footloose as well as in the City Center Encores! production of Strike Up the Band. Off Broadway Thompson was seen in Tip-Toes, Little Fish and A Doll's Life and in the national tours of Carousel, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
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.