For 16 years, Wicked has welcomed theatregoers to Oz. The musical spectacle features a star-studded cast singing Stephen Schwartz’s fantastical score, which has led to record-breaking grosses. (The Broadway production has broken the Gerswhin house record 24 times during its run.) A prequel to L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz based on the Gregory Maguire novel, the show focuses on the rivalry-turned-friendship between Elphaba (later known as the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda as classmates at Shiz University long before Dorothy’s arrival in Oz. Broadway has been changed for good since the opening of Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre in 2003, but what have the leading players of the show been up to since their departures?
Idina Menzel, Elphaba
No one mourns the wicked, but if you’re reading this you probably worship the ground Menzel walks on. Having won the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance, Menzel went out with a bang when she fell through a trap door and cracked a lower rib, during her penultimate performance. While Menzel could not perform the full show of her final scheduled performance, she did complete the final scene and bow with the cast January 9, 2005. Shortly after exiting as the Green Girl, Menzel reprised her role as Maureen in Rent for the big screen, released in November 2005. She continued her screen work as Nancy in Disney’s Enchanted, released in 2007, before playing mom to Lea Michele’s character on Fox’s Glee. (Who could forget that rendition of “Poker Face”?) Menzel provided the voice for Queen Elsa in Disney’s 2013 Oscar-winning animated feature Frozen before she returned to Broadway, starring in If/Then in 2014. She originated the role of Elizabeth, who explores two different paths her life could take as Liz and Beth; her work in the role earned her a third Tony nomination. After touring the world with her solo concert, Menzel returned to the New York stage in the straight play Skintight Off-Broadway with Roundabout Theatre Company in the summer of 2018. This past year she went out on tour with Tony nominee Josh Groban. We’ll soon be able to hear her again in Disney’s Frozen 2, when it hits theatres nationwide November 22.
Kristin Chenoweth, Glinda
Already having one Tony win under her belt for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (1999), Chenoweth returned to Broadway several times after her Tony-nominated performance as Glinda the Good. Chenoweth starred in The Apple Tree (2006), Promises, Promises opposite Sean Hayes (2010), On the Twentieth Century (2015), and her one-woman show Kristin Chenoweth: My Love Letter to Broadway (2016). Her performance in The Apple Tree was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, while her performance in On the Twentieth Century earned her a third Tony nomination and Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award wins. She joined with Alan Cumming to host the Tony Awards in 2015. In addition to her vast theatre résumé, Chenoweth has appeared in several films and on television, namely The West Wing as Annabeth Schott, Pushing Daisies as lead Olive Snook, GCB as lead Carleen Cockburn, Glee as April Rhodes, Hairspray Live! as Velma Von Tussle, American Gods as Easter, and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. She starred on season 2 of Trial & Error alongside Broadway alumni Krysta Rodriguez and John Lithgow. Her proudest project is her Broadway Boot Camp at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center in her home state of Oklahoma. Chenoweth returns to Broadway for a limited concert engagement with Kristin Chenoweth: For the Girls, playing the Nederlander Theatre November 8–17, 2019.
Joel Grey, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The legendary performer who originated the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret—and won a Tony for the role—returned to the stage in Wicked to play the Wizard, earning an Outer Critics Circle nomination for his gravity-defying performance. Since then, Grey has returned to Broadway many times, performing in Anything Goes (2011) and making his Broadway directorial debut with Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart (2011). Grey’s direction of The Normal Heart earned him his fifth career Tony nomination. In 2015 the Drama League awarded Grey an award for Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre. A year later, Grey starred in The Cherry Orchard (2016), originating the role of Firs. Grey’s post-Wicked television and film credits include Warehouse 13, Grey’s Anatomy, and House. Most recently, Grey has made waves with his National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s Yiddish production of Fiddler on the Roof at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, which extended four times due to wild acclaim and its sold-out run. The production moved to Off-Broadway’s Stage 42 and will close in 2020.
Carole Shelley, Madame Morrible
Shelley made good on her admiration of the theatre since leaving Wicked, originating the role of Billy’s Grandma in Billy Elliot: The Musical in 2008, for which she was nominated for both a Tony and an Outer Critics Circle Awards. Shelley later performed as Miss Shingle in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (2013). Additionally, Shelley appeared in many films and TV shows, including playing Aunt Clara in Bewitched alongside Wicked costar Kristin Chenoweth. She has also lent her voice to many Disney animated movies such as The Aristocrats, Robin Hood, and Hercules. Sadly, Shelley passed away August 31, 2018.
Norbert Leo Butz, Fiyero
Before Wicked, Butz made his Broadway debut replacing in Rent and appearing in Thou Shalt Not, which earned him his first Tony nomination. After originating the heartthrob Fiyero in Wicked, Butz went on to star in several shows Broadway shows starting with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005), for which he won a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical, as well as a Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle Awards. Butz then starred in a straight play Is He Dead? (2007), playing an artist who fakes his own death and re-enters society disguised as a long-lost twin sister. He later performed in Enron (2010) and Catch Me if You Can (2011), that latter which earned him his second Tony, an Astaire Award for Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show, a Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics Circle nomination. Butz then led Dead Accounts (2012) and Big Fish (2013) on Broadway. After Big Fish, the musical theatre giant mainly remained working on set (rather than onstage), starring in Netflix’s on Bloodline and PBS’ Mercy Street. But he returned to the stage to star in Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of My Fair Lady as Alfred Doolittle and was nominated for yet another. He and his Last Five Years co-star Sherie Renée Scott took to the cabaret stage together in the original show Twohander, the truth behind their 23-year personal and professional relationship. Butz also starred in FX’s limited series Fosse/Verdon as Paddy Chayefsky.
Michelle Federer, Nessarose
After understudying in several Off-Broadway productions, Federer made her Broadway principal debut in Wicked, creating the role of Nessarose. After leaving the show in 2006, Federer understudied Julia Roberts in the play Three Days of Rain (2006). In 2008 Federer took part in The Yellow Brick Road Not Taken, a concert of Wicked commemorating the show’s five-year anniversary. The concert featured many actors who played either Glinda or Elphaba in the past, including Stephanie J. Block, Shoshana Bean, and Jennifer Laura Thompson. Coming full circle, Federer returned to Wicked to reprise her role as Nessarose for a limited engagement in 2009. Federer was also part of the ensemble of NBC’s Smash alongside fellow Broadway performers Katharine McPhee and Leslie Odom Jr., and guested on the first season of network drama New Amsterdam and has returned for Season 2.
Christopher Fitzgerald, Boq
Wicked catapulted Fitzgerald to originate numerous iconic roles on Broadway, including Igor in Young Frankenstein (2007), for which he was nominated for a Tony, Outer Critics Circle Award, and a Drama Desk Award. Next, he starred in the 2009 revival of Finian’s Rainbow as Og, earning a Drama Desk Award, and Tony and Outer Critics Circle nominations. Fitzgerald later performed in The Merchant of Venice (2010) alongside Al Pacino and Lily Rabe, and then in 2013 performed in Chicago, first as Amos Heart and then as Billy Flynn. Most recently, he starred in An Act of God (2015) and Waitress (2016)—which he returned to again in September 2019—the latter for which he won a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award, and his Tony nomination. Fitzgerald has also broken into television, starring in three season of Happy!. Next, he will star as David in the highly anticipated 2020 Broadway revival of Company.
William Youmans, Doctor Dilamond
While you may not recognize Youmans’ face from production photos of Wicked, it’s there underneath Doctor Dilamond’s prosthetics! Youmans has appeared in many Broadway shows following Wicked, starting with The Pirate Queen in 2007 where he originated the role of Sir Richard Bingham. Later Youmans performed in The Farnsworth Invention (2007) as well as the 2009 revival of Finian’s Rainbow, which also featured Wicked castmate Christopher Fitzgerald. Youmans then replaced the role of George in Billy Elliot: The Musical, starting September, 2011. After performing in Hands on a Hardbody (2013), Youmans was a member of the ensemble for Bright Star (2016), which won an Astaire Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show. He appeared in the most recent revival of Carousel as part of the ensemble. Besides performing live, Youmans has also appeared on television in The Equalizer and NYPD Blue, and has recently guested on series like Madam Secretary and The Code. He will next take the Broadway stage as Mr. Roscoe/Dr. Reynolds as part of the replacement company of To Kill a Mockingbird.