Ever wonder what the real Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, was like?
Back before Dorothy's
house turned her sister into Yellow Brick Road-kill, and Dorothy gave her a
shower, Elphaba was a student just trying to do what was right.
This is the story of her college years,
meeting Glinda, the fact it is no fun being
green...and in love - magical or not.
The show welcomed its 8 millionth theatregoer to London’s Apollo Victoria
Theatre on Thursday 9th February 2017.
Louise and David McCarter attended the performance and enjoyed a back stage
visit with the cast after the performance.
Photo credit: Troy Johnston.
The multi record-breaking UK & Ireland Tour will return in February 2018,
revisiting the following ten cities:
BRISTOL Hippodrome, Tuesday 5 February - Saturday 3 March 2018
LIVERPOOL Empire, Wednesday 7 – Saturday 31 March 2018
BIRMINGHAM Hippodrome, Wednesday 4 – Sunday 29 April 2018
EDINBURGH Playhouse, Tuesday 8 May – Saturday 9 June 2018
LEEDS Grand Theatre, Wednesday 13 June – Saturday 7 July 2018
DUBLIN Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Tuesday 17 July – Sunday 26 August 2018 -
Tickets on sale Friday 30 June at 10am
SUNDERLAND Empire, Tuesday 4 – Saturday 29 September 2018
SOUTHAMPTON Mayflower Theatre, Wednesday 3 – Saturday 27 October 2018 -
Tickets on sale September 2017
CARDIFF Wales Millennium Centre, Wednesday 31 October – Saturday 24 November
MANCHESTER Palace Theatre, Tuesday 4 December 2018 – Saturday 5 January 2019
Almost £1 million raised for charity through its FOR GOOD programme and many
other charitable endeavours, including the planting of over nearly 35,000 new
trees in support of The Woodland Trust.
Launched in 2010 with the National Literacy Trust, the Wicked Young Writer
Awards, spearheaded by Michael Morpurgo and Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall,
has inspired the writing of over 25,000 original stories from young people
across the UK.
Winner of 2 Olivier Audience Awards, 9 WhatsOnStage Awards (including ‘Best New
Musical’ and ‘Best West End Show’), a Visit London Gold Award, an Evening
Standard Theatre Award and over 100 awards worldwide.
In celebration of Wicked’s 10th birthday, theatre owner ATG has invested in the
complete refurbishment of the Apollo Victoria Theatre auditorium and Front of
House areas. All seats and carpets have been replaced with designs replicated
from the original design of the Grade II* listed venue that first opened its
doors, as the New Victoria Cinema, in 1930.
Executive Producer (UK) Michael McCabe said: “On behalf of Marc Platt, David
Stone, Universal Stage Productions and all of the producers, I would like to
offer our heartfelt thanks to all of our casts, musicians and production staff
who have worked so tirelessly, and with such diligence and dedication, in
helping to achieve this incredible milestone. It continues to be an absolute
privilege to work with so many exceptionally talented individuals and companies
and we couldn’t be more proud of, and grateful to, every single one of you. And
to our audiences, who have so passionately supported and championed Wicked over
the past decade, we offer our deepest gratitude.”
From 30th January 2017, the show stars
Willemijn Verkaik (above, photo by Matt Crockett and film) returns as ‘Elphaba,’ with Sue
Kelvin as ‘Madame Morrible’ and Sarah McNicholas as ‘Nessarose.’
Suzie Mathers (Glinda), Oliver Savile (Fiyero),
Willemijn Verkaik (Elphaba) has previously played ‘Elphaba’ on Broadway, in both
Stuttgart and Oberhausen in Germany (and she can be heard on the Original German
Cast Recording), at the Circustheater in Holland and in the West End. She is the
only actor in the show’s history to perform the role in more than one language.
She returns to the Apollo Victoria Theatre as part of the production’s ongoing
10th anniversary celebrations. Willemijn recently starred as ‘Kala’ in Disney’s
Tarzan at the Apollo Theater in Stuttgart, Germany and provided the singing
voice of ‘Elsa’ in the Dutch and German language versions of Disney’s Academy®
Award-winning film Frozen. Her many other starring roles include ‘Donna’ in
Mamma Mia! in Germany; ‘Paulina’ in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in
London; ‘Amneris’ in Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida in Germany and the title
role in the musical Elisabeth in Switzerland. She has also made multiple
acclaimed concert appearances across The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland,
North America and in the UK.
Sue Kelvin (Madame Morrible) is currently starring in her acclaimed one-woman
show Bette Midler... and Me. Her other most recent London theatre appearances
include ‘Rita’ in Barmitzvah Boy and ‘Louise’ in Private Lives.
Sarah McNicholas (Nessarose) recently played ‘Peron’s Mistress’ in Evita
(Dominion Theatre, also UK & European Tours) and ‘Sue Snell’ in the musical
Carrie (Southwark Playhouse).
The show currently stars Willemijn Verkaik, (Elphaba),
Suzie Mathers (Glinda), Oliver Savile (Fiyero), Sue Kelvin (Madame Morrible),
Mark Curry (The Wizard), Martin Ball (Doctor Dillamond), Sarah McNicholas (Nessarose),
Idriss Kargbo (Boq), Alice Fearn (Standby for Elphaba) and Carina Gillespie
(Standby for Glinda).
Hear the show: a dedicated SoundCloud channel has been created to showcase
snippets of the incredible music by multi GRAMMY® and Academy Award® winner
Stephen Schwartz. You can take a look at the channel here:
for a taste of some of the show-stopping tunes from the musical?
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(Seen at the Evening performance on 11th February 2015). Some actors have
since left the cast.
There's a reason the monkey is able to re-visit this show after 9 years... it
remains a (pure) waterproof hit, as slick as its first night.
After all these years, it's very clear just what a well-constructed piece it
is. Memorable songs, satisfying story that makes its two and three-quarter hours
fly by like a magic broomstick.
Best of all, at the performance the monkey saw, a prediction it made back in
September 2011 came true. With regular Emma Hatton unavailable, Natalie Andreou
stepped in at the shortest notice as Elphaba - just as Ms Andreou did in
September 2011 for Amy Pemberton in "Rock Of Ages." The monkey said then that
"Ms Andreou isn’t known – but should be, and soon. A leading lady who producers
should be falling over themselves to sign to whichever musical takes her fancy."
The monkey is so glad the producers of "Wicked" took its advice.
At the risk of channelling its "Wicked inner fangirl" Natalie Andreou smashes
her role out of the ballpark. The monkey was almost in tears with her "I'm Not
That Girl," and "Defying Gravity" is a triumph. If this is her third
performance, her 103rd will be something. Andreou is someone special in musical
theatre. If you can catch another of her nights "on," do.
Savannah Stevenson (Galinda) and Martyn Ellis (The Wizard) are the other
stand out performances, both managing engaging performances. The ensemble too
put in a fine effort on a "double performance" day, taking the show at a slower
pace which helps the narrative.
This show remains the perfect teen treat as an introduction to musical
This review refers to the original cast. Casting has now changed.
"Lyrics and music and book, oh my!" Proof, if proof were needed, that the
old-fashioned Broadway musical isn't dead. The story is basically the
traditional "green girl wants boy, boy wants yellow girl" ending with green girl
turning boy yellow, and yellow and green girl settling their differences - with
some animal rights stuff and zingy one liners thrown in. The satisfaction is in
the neat dovetailing with the classic film - find out how the well loved
characters became what they are; the downside is overlong sequences that look
great but add twenty minutes of ballast to the proceedings.
This is very much a show of two halves. The first has Winnie "My So Called
Life" Holzman channel female adolescence with acuity once again. If business
starts to slip, producers should re-paint the theatre walls powder pink,
replace seats with furry-toy strewn beds and provide free popcorn, cosmetics and
a pizza delivery service. Very much attuned to the sleepover crowd, the fun
"Popular" and 'I wish' numbers "The Wizard and I" and "I'm
Not That Girl" are
arrows to teenage hearts. Once the director realises "Popular" works way better
with an American air-head accent than it does with a British spoof-Sloane one,
it'll be the perfect "DVD night in" substitute. That isn't to say Helen Dallimore
should be upset by frank analysis, but the director should consider the show in
need of personality dialysis and restore it to the original (United States)
state at the next cast change. Oh, and that line is probably the "wittiest" in the
show - you can almost hear Sondheim scream as it is sung.
Act two grows progressively darker, and the resolutions come late into it.
Tighter than act one, and noticeably more adult, it eschews the clumsy shifts of
place for a smoother cinematic feel but feels rushed to ensure the show comes in
at the sub-three hour mark. The searing "As Long as You're Mine" and insightful
"For Good" deserved time that "Wizomania" pointlessly occupies and could have
turned a good show into an unforgettable one. Time to contemplate motives, cause
and effect are limited, and the monkey would have appreciated more of it spaced
through the production.
Expensively staged, occasionally buckling under its own spectacular mass,
set (Elphaba could perhaps have flown properly had there been space) and a
desire to give the audience every penny of the production costs in spectacle
over substance, this is the golden era of musicals brought into the 21st
century. Those old musicals had their faults, as does this, but ultimately a
show succeeds on how deep its songs and images engrave themselves in the memory.
Probably too crass for the current "post war" musical lover (though Schwartz
produces some of his best work here), Wicked will still worm its way into the
affections of many - younger people especially - perhaps ultimately ending up as
a "standard" in fifty years time. As the dragon signifies, it is time that
tells, and this show is mostly worthy of the audiences' hours.