Monday, October 28, 2013

WICKED Week: The Road to Broadway

The most successful musical of this generation, Wicked, is celebrating a great milestone on Wednesday. As of October 30, they will have been on Broadway for 10 years. (Scroll down to the bottom for a synopsis and main character list)

So let's start off the week by taking a look back at what it took to reach Broadway. Here is a short documentary (from the last episode of PBS's Broadway: The American Musical) about the journey of the Wicked team from a rehearsal room to their opening in San Fransisco, and finally to opening night on Broadway.

This first video is mostly more of an overview with short clips featuring many members of the creative team, including composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz, director Joe Mantello, as well as leading ladies Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, giving insight into the production from rehearsal to the opening on Broadway.


The next part of this documentary transitions into a more detailed look at the formative stages, with footage from the San Fransisco tryout production. This is probably my favorite one, because there is a great sequence where we get to see choreographer Wayne Cilento setting a number, which was actually cut, called "Which Way's the Party?" I don't love the song itself, but the choreography was great! Please check out Norbert Leo Butz's awesome moves. It was eventually replaced by "Dancing Through Life." There are also interviews with book writer Winnie Holzman, as well as Joe Mantello, Stephen Schwartz, and producer Marc Platt.


The last video takes a closer look at the insanely detailed and elaborate costumes by costume designer Susan Hilferty (who received a Tony Award for her designs), in addition to scenic details with lighting designer Ken Posner. There are also interviews with the leading ladies.


Wicked is about Elphaba (later known as the Wicked Witch of the West) who goes to Shiz University as a social outcast and ends up rooming with Glinda. Despite the odd pairing, the two become best friends. The story is about loyalty and friendship as it follows their journeys as they have to decide who they want to be as opposed to who other people think they are. The original cast included Idina Menzel (Tony Award, Elphaba), Kristin Chenoweth (Tony nomination, Glinda), Norbert Leo Butz (Fiyero, the ridiculously good-looking and self-proclaimed shallow guy at Shiz), and Joel Grey (the Wonderful Wizard of Oz).

Sally Henry www.BroadwayWorld.com/author/Sally-Henry // Twitter: www.twitter.com/bwayginger // Facebook: www.facebook.com/singularsensationbway

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