Everything you need to know about ‘Wicked’ in London
Having defied gravity at the Apollo Victoria Theatre for over a decade, West End audiences are left entranced by the magic of Wicked. Having wowed over ten million audience members in London alone, the stories of Elphaba, Glinda and Fiyero are sure to charm crowds for generations to come. With showstoppers like “No Good Deed” and even flying witches, it’s no surprise that audiences go back to Wicked time and time again.
Here’s our complete guide to the West End production of Wicked, with Wicked tickets available on LondonTheatre.co.uk.
What is Wicked about?
Born with green skin, Elphaba had always found herself to be a bit different from the rest — standing out from the crowd. When she’s enrolled at Shiz Academy, Elphaba just wants to knuckle down and study. Instead, she’s met by her new roommate Glinda, a super-feminine woman who can’t stand Elphaba.
Unbelievably, Elphaba and Glinda become close friends, embarking on a journey to meet the Wizard of Oz. But, when Ozian heartthrob and Glinda’s fiance Fiyero comes on the scene, this time to support Elphaba, hopes are crushed. Elphaba must decide whether to use her newfound abilities for good, or become wicked.
Is Wicked the Musical based on a true story?
No, Wicked is based on fictional events. However, Wicked is inspired by Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. The sequel attempts to explain how Elphaba dealt with Ozian areas like Munchkinland and the Emerald City.
When did Wicked premiere?
The world premiere of Wicked began performances at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre on 28 May 2003. The California engagement ran for one month, before its subsequent Broadway premiere.
Wicked began Broadway performances at the Gershwin Theatre on 8 Oct. 2003, with an official premiere on 30 October, the night before Halloween. Broadway performances of Wicked have continued at the Gershwin Theatre ever since, and has played over 6,800 performances.
After three years in New York, Wicked finally transferred to London’s West End, arriving at the Apollo Victoria Theatre from 7 September 2006. Like the Broadway production, Wicked in London has only ran at one theatre, with shows at the Apollo Victoria Theatre for over a decade.
International productions of Wicked have opened in Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico and The Netherlands.
Who wrote Wicked?
The Wicked storyline was created by Winnie Holzman, an American screenwriter who actually made her Broadway writing debut with the show. For television, she has written thirtysomething, Once and Again and Roadies. Holzman has also written the screenplay for the upcoming Wicked film adaptation.
Who wrote the songs in Wicked?
All music and lyrics featured in Wicked are written by Stephen Schwartz. An American musical theatre lyricist and composer, Schwartz has worked on a variety of productions including Pippin and Godspell. He’s also the musical mastermind behind the world premiere of The Prince of Egypt, currently running at the Dominion Theatre.
Who is in the cast of Wicked?
The Wicked cast in London currently stars Laura Pick as Elphaba and Helen Woolf as Glinda. Alistair Brammer plays Fiyero, with Kim Ismay as Madame Morrible, Andy Hockley as The Wizard, Nicholas McLean as Boq, Simeon Truby as Doctor Dillamond and Carina Gillespie as Nessarose.
The Wicked ensemble is completed by Chanelle Anthony, Meg Astin, Rebecca Botterill, Michael Colbourne, Lewis Easter, Nolan Edwards, Kerry Enright, Chris George, Rebecca Gilliland, Lucie Horsfall, Nicole Lupino, Maggie Lynne, Stuart Maciver, Carl Man, Rhidian Marc, Joanna Sawyer, Scott Sutcliffe, Genevieve Taylor, Grant Thresh, James Titchener, Libby Watts, Bryony Whitfield, Chad Wilder, Dickie Wood, Chiarina Woodall and Tom Woollaston.
Have any celebrities starred in Wicked in London?
As one of the biggest West End musicals in London, Wicked has attracted its fair share of celebrity casting. In fact, Frozen actress Idina Menzel originated the role of Elphaba in London, reprising her Broadway performance. Menzel starred in the production from 7 Sept. - 30 Dec. 2006, with Kerry Ellis taking over the role.
Adam Garcia originated the role of Fiyero in Wicked, having previously starred in Saturday Night Fever at the London Palladium. Busted’s Matt Willis also got a taste for theatre playing Fiyero, taking over the role in 2012. Since then, Willis has starred in Little Shop of Horrors at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
What theatre in London is Wicked playing at?
Wicked is currently running in London at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Wicked has run continuously at the Apollo Victoria Theatre since the musical opened in 2006. Opening in 1930 as a cinema, the theatre was then converted into a performance space. Previous shows at the Apollo Victoria Theatre include Bombay Dreams and Starlight Express.
What is the running time of Wicked?
The running time of Wicked in London is 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one 15 minute interval.
What are the songs in Wicked?
Wicked features modern-day musical classics including “One Short Day” and “The Wizard and I”. We’ve listed all the songs in Wicked below.
"No One Mourns the Wicked" - Glinda, Witch's Father, Witch's Mother, Midwife, Ensemble
"Dear Old Shiz" - Ensemble
"The Wizard and I" - Madame Morrible, Elphaba
"What is this Feeling?" - Glinda, Elphaba, Ensemble
"Something Bad" - Dr. Dillamond, Elphaba
"Dancing Through Life" - Fiyero, Glinda, Boq, Nessarose, Elphaba, Ensemble
"Popular" - Glinda
"I'm Not That Girl" - Elphaba
"The Wizard and I (Reprise)" - Elphaba
"One Short Day" - Elphaba, Glinda, Emerald City Citizens
"A Sentimental Man" - The Wizard
"Defying Gravity" - Elphaba, Glinda, Company
"No One Mourns the Wicked (Reprise)" - Ensemble
"Thank Goodness" - Glinda, Madam Morrible, Ensemble
"The Wicked Witch of the East" - Elphaba, Nessarose, Boq
"Wonderful" - The Wizard and Elphaba
"I'm Not That Girl (Reprise)" - Glinda
"As Long As You're Mine" - Elphaba, Fiyero
"No Good Deed" - Elphaba
"March of the Witch Hunters" - Boq, Ensemble
"For Good" - Glinda and Elphaba
"Finale: For Good (Reprise)" - Elphaba, Glinda, Company
What are the reviews of Wicked?
Even if Wicked isn’t an original story, the fantastical production still managed to entertain critics. In a review for LondonTheatre.co.uk, Peter Brown said: “Wicked is pure fantasy entertainment… this is a rippingly wicked show, that even the hardest of hearts will find difficult to resist. Its stunning production values alone will have [many flooding] through the emerald doors for years to come.” The Telegraph’s Charles Spencer agreed that Wicked’s production values are unmissable. On Stephen Schwartz’s meloldies, he said the “lyrics are occasionally touched with wit, but what he really specialises in are big gloopy power ballads that allow the two female leads to stand centre stage and soar into the stratospheric.” This sentiment is shared by Time Out, stating “Wicked is a spectacle that rises or falls around its central performance, and it’s a gigantic production full of bangs, bells and whistles.”
What awards has Wicked won?
Wicked was nominated for four Olivier Awards in 2007, including Best New Musical. Unbelievably, Wicked did not receive any wins, walking away emptyhanded. However, the Broadway production did scoop up some awards. Here’s all the major awards that Wicked has won.
Best Actress in a Musical - Idina Menzel
Best Scenic Design - Eugene Lee
Best Costume Design - Susan Hilferty
What are some fun facts about Wicked?
Did you know that Elphaba isn’t actually named in The Wizard of Oz? Her name came directly from L. Frank Baum’s initials. Sounding out the three letters becomes El-ph-b and so Elphaba was born.
Thankfully, there isn’t just one of each prop. All the hats, wands and brooms have stunt doubles (of sorts) so the magic can still happen on stage.
You too can achieve Elphaba’s vertigris if you want. To achieve the desired green colour, makeup artists use Chromacake, a MAC product.
The production also requires about 250 pounds of dry ice to create all of the dramatic fog.
It’s not just witches that fly. So do spacemen. Infact, NASA has even used “Defying Gravity” to accompany their space travels.
Is there a film adaptation of Wicked?
A movie adaptation of Wicked has been rumoured to premiere from as early as 2012. However, production hasn’t started yet and the Wicked film is currently pushed back to at least 2022. So far, Idina Menzel, Lea Michele and Ariana Grande have all been attached to the production, but we can’t wait to see Wicked on screen.
How do I get tickets for Wicked?
Book Wicked tickets on LondonTheatre.co.uk.
Photo credit: Laura Pick and Helen Woolf (Photo by Matt Crockett)