Okay, so the quote above is from Macbeth but as it’s spoken by the three witches it seemed appropriate to use it to celebrate the return of WICKED which is coming to Cardiff in 2024.
Wicked is one of those magical musicals that enthrals everyone who sees it. Everything about Wicked is wickedly magical, the story, the costumes and of course, some of the most incredible songs you’ll find on any stage.
I think most of us know that Wicked has its origins in the 1939 classic movie The Wizard of Oz – and with Christmas around the corner, no doubt we’ll all be watching that again. The musical however comes from a 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire called Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which in turn was a retelling of the origin L. Frank Baum book – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
So the plot is a beguiling backstory and future possibilities to the lives of some of our most characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and reveals the decisions and events that shape the destinies of two unlikely university friends on their journey to becoming Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
But like most great stories, Wicked is all about relationships, particularly between two best friends, one of whom is beautiful and popular, and the other is misunderstood as a wicked witch.
Check out our Wicked Facts a little further down the page……
We say return because the production played to sold-out audiences during its two previous visits to Cardiff, selling nearly 150,000 tickets across its runs in 2014 and 2018.
The West End and Broadway musical phenomenon, is still running in London at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, where it has already been seen by more than 11 million people and is now in its 17th year.
With a touring cast, orchestra, company and crew of 82 people, and a further 20 people employed locally, “the blockbuster stage show” (Edinburgh Evening News) won the BroadwayWorld UK Award for ‘Best Touring Production’. We’re told that casting will be announced in due course.
Michael McCabe, Executive Producer (UK & Ireland) of Wicked, said……….
“We are proud to be bringing Wicked back to the magnificent Wales Millennium Centre, where incredible audiences greeted us during two previous sold-out engagements. We’re excited to have this opportunity to share once again the spectacle, magic and emotion that has created unforgettable memories for audiences in Wales and all around the world.”
Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director at Wales Millennium Centre, added……..
“We can’t wait to welcome the witches of Oz back to delight our audiences once again, nearly ten years after Wicked’s first visit to our Donald Gordon Theatre. It speaks volumes that this musical has continued to cast its magical spell across the world for 20 years, and I just know people will queue in their droves to watch it – whether for the first, second or third time – at our home for world-class musical theatre in Wales.”
As we said, the show has been to the Wales Millennium Centre twice, the review then we’re fantastic……
- “If you haven’t seen it, go!” – Western Mail
- “A truly outstanding production, sung and performed to perfection.” – South Wales Evening Post
- “Wicked is a treat from start to finish” – South Wales Argus
Wicked has already been seen by more than 60 million people worldwide and 2023 marks the 20thAnniversary Year of its Broadway premiere. Productions continue on Broadway, in the West End and on tour across North America. Wicked will also return to Sydney, Australia and Tokyo, Japan in 2023.
SOUTH WALES LIFE – TOP 20 WICKED FACTS
- At the start, the wicked witch of the west didn’t have a name in Frank’s novel, it was only after Gregory wrote Wicked that she became Elphaba. Incidentally, that name came from Frank Baum’s initials, L.F.B (El-PHA-BA)
- Composer Stephen Schwartz added a twist to the story. The story is told unlike any other musical – from the villain’s perspective. It explains what led the villain into being what she finally became, ‘The Wicked Witch of the West.’
- Wicked was featured in the episodes of several television shows, namely ‘The War at Home’ and ‘Brothers & Sisters’ and, incredibly, ‘South Park.’
- There are something like 350 stunning costumes, 140 wigs, 244 pairs of shoes, 110 hats, 125 pairs of gloves and 30 prosthetic masks (duplicates of some are made for understudies and others)
- Various characters and songs from the musical were used as parodies in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ ‘Passions,’ and ‘Red Garden.’
- The first national tour in America happened on March 9, 2005. It’s also known as the Emerald City Tour
- In 2008, when John Barrowman came to Cardiff on his UK tour, he performed an interpretation of the song titled ‘The Wizard and I,’ renaming it ‘The Doctor and I.’
- Wicked has already been seen by more than 60 million people around the world and has been performed in over 130 cities in 16 countries
- The ruffles in the skirt of Elphaba’s Wicked Witch dress takes 40 yards of fabric to complete
- In the musical version of ‘Bring It On’ the song ‘Killer Instinct’ uses the closing notes of the chorus ‘No One Mourns the Wicked.’
- The 2023-2025 UK & Ireland Tour marks the third time the production has travelled to theatres across England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland
- It takes around 424 hours per week to maintain the costumes for Wicked in London
- There’s a minimum of 6 loads of laundry for every performance of the show
- Idina Menzel wasn’t if she would get the role of Elphaba. This was because she cracked her voice while singing ‘Defying Gravity’ on a high note after singing the first seven notes perfectly
- Stephanie Block read the part of Elphaba while the show was being developed but was eventually replaced by Idina, and the rest is musical history
- The idea for the musical came to Stephen Schwartz when he was on holiday in Hawaii in 1996 when a friend mentioned an interesting book she was reading about the origins of the Wicked Witch of the West
- Wicked has won over 100 major awards including 3 Tony Awards, 6 Drama Desk Awards, 2 Olivier Awards, 10 WhatsOnStage Awards (including 3 for ‘Best West End Show’), 6 Australian Helpmann Awards, and a Grammy
- In 2009, a clip of the aria ‘Popular’ was used in the movie Zombieland.
- The West End production has already been seen by an incredible 11 million people and continues to break Box Office records.
- Several songs from Wicked were featured prominently in the television show ‘Glee’
And one little extra fact that needs its own space. Our own SOPHIE EVANS spent a long time in the show in London from 2017 to 2019. She then returned to Wicked to reprise the role of Glinda in September last year.
Sophie said at the time……
“Playing Glinda in the West End for two years was a dream come true and I am overjoyed to be given the opportunity to play this iconic role again. To be able join all of the returning cast bringing this incredible show back to London is an absolute thrill for me.”
The show features songs by multi-Oscar and Grammy Award winner STEPHEN SCHWARTZ (Godspell, Pippin, The Prince of Egypt, Disney’s Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Enchanted). Yes, that does mean Stephen is the guy who wrote ‘Defying Gravity’.
As we mentioned the show is based on the multi-million copy best-selling novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by GREGORY MAGUIRE and written by Emmy and Tony Award nominee WINNIE HOLZMAN (creator of the landmark American television series My So-Called Life). Musical staging is by Tony Award-winner WAYNE CILENTO with direction by two-time Tony Award-winner JOE MANTELLO.
Wicked is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Stage Productions, The Araca Group, Jon B. Plattand David Stone. Executive Producer (UK & Ireland) Michael McCabe.
WICKED gets to the Wales Millennium Centre from 24th October to 23rd November 2024. When you get your Christmas diary make sure you circle the date Friday 3rd February 2023 at 10am as that is when tickets go on sale – HERE.