Wicked Casting Announced for Pre-Bway Run in San Fran, May 28-June 29

News   Wicked Casting Announced for Pre-Bway Run in San Fran, May 28-June 29
"So much happened in Oz before Dorothy dropped in..." is the way the San Francisco world premiere tryout run of Wicked is being explained.

Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel.
Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel. Photo by Joan Marcus

Further casting for the new Stephen Schwartz musical about the early life of the Wicked Witch of the West — inspired by L. Frank Baum's "Oz" tales and Gregory Maguire's revisionist novel, "Wicked" — was announced March 7 in San Francisco. Performances play the Curran Theatre May 28-June 29. Tickets go on sale in April, on a date to be announced.

As previously known, Tony Award-winner Kristin Chenoweth (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown) is Glinda and Idina Menzel (a Tony nominee for Rent) is Elphaba (the titular witch). Also confirmed are Robert Morse (of the original How to Succeed...) as the Wizard of Oz, Carole Shelley (late of Cabaret and remembered from the original Odd Couple) as Madame Morrible, John Horton (Noises Off, Kiss Me, Kate) as Doctor Dillamand, Norbert Leo Butz (Thou Shalt Not, The Last 5 Years) as Fiyero, Michelle Federer as Nessarose and Kirk McDonald (Parade, The Boys From Syracuse) as Boq.

The company includes Ioana Alfonso, Stephanie J. Block, Ben Cameron, Cristy Candler, Mellissa Bell Chait, Marcus Choi, Kristoffer Cusick, Kathy Deitch, Melissa Fahn, Rhett George, Kristen Lee Gorski, Kisha Howard, Manuel Herrera, L.J. Jellison, Sean McCourt, Corrine McFadden, Mark Myars, Jan Neuberger, Walter Winston ONeil, Andrew Palermo, Peter Samuel and Michael Seelbach.

Music and lyrics are by Schwartz, known for Godspell, Pippin, The Baker's Wife and collaborations on Rags, "Pocahontas" and "Prince of Egypt." The libretto, drawn from the novel by Gregory Maguire, is by Winnie Holzman, the writer known for her work on TV's "thirtysomething," "Once and Again" and "My So-Called Life."

Joe Mantello (Take Me Out, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune) directs, with choreography by Wayne Cilento (Aida, The Who's Tommy). The untold story of the witches of Oz takes place "long before Dorothy drops in," according to the casting announcement. "One, born with emerald green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. Wicked tells the story of a remarkable odyssey in which these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch."

Producers are Marc Platt, Universal Pictures and David Stone. It's expected for Broadway in fall 2003.

Designers are Eugene Lee (set), Susan Hilferty (costume), Kenneth Posner (lighting) and Tony Meola (sound). Musical director is Stephen Oremus, with orchestrations by William David Brohn and dance arrangements by Jim Abbott.

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