September 27, 2011
Mega-hit musical Wicked celebrates 5 years at the Apollo Victoria Theatre
When it opened at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London on 27 September 2006 the reviews for Broadway musical Wicked were decidedly lukewarm, with Paul Taylor of the Independent declaring that “I enjoyed very little…”
Fast-forward five years and the show’s reign as one of the most successful musicals in London theatre history continues unabated, having taken over £145m at the box office and about to welcome its four millionth visitor in the next couple of months.
The show premiered on Broadway in 2003, where it also continues to pack them in and appear week after week at the top of the box office charts. Stephen Schwartz’s musical is based on Gregory Maguire’s best-selling novel, which in turn is inspired by L Frank Baum’s classic story Wizard of Oz, which is also running in the West End at the Palladium Theatre.
The book and musical tell the “untold” story behind Baum’s classic, envisioning the Wicked Witch starting life as a good, green-skinned girl who turns evil due to the prejudice of those around her, notably her spoilt sister Glinda, who later becomes the Good Witch.
The show enjoys enormous levels of support from a loyal fanbase, many of whom have seen the musical countless times.
A new cast will join the show from 12 December this year, including Gina Beck as Glinda and and Matt Willis as Fiyero, plus Desmond Barrit returning to the show to play The Wizard, alongside current Wicked stars Rachel Tucker as Elphaba and Julie Legrand as Madame Morrible.
Wicked recently played its 2000th performance at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and has won numerous awards including the 2010 Olivier Award for Most Popular Show. Long may the success continue.
OTHER ANNIVERSARIES COMING UP
Autumn is always a big time for theatre anniversaries, being prime season for the opening of new shows. Already this month we’ve seen The 39 Steps celebrate its 5th birthday at the Criterion Theatre on 20 September and STOMP celebrate its 9th birthday on 25th September, having opened in the West End in 2002.
Coming up, Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre turns 26 on 8 October 1985 and is still riding on a massive high following its 25th anniversary celebrations last year and continuing news and gossip about the upcoming Hollywood movie version of the show.
Last year may have been all about Les Mis but this year it’s The Phantom of the Opera’s turn to bask in the spotlight as the show turns 25 on 9 October. The show, which has played continuously at Her Majesty’s Theatre since 1986, and subsequently all around the world, will celebrate with a special The Phantom of the Opera 25th anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
Also in October Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre turns 12 on 19 October.
Gina Beck And Matt Willis To Join Cast of Wicked From Monday 12 December 2011. Desmond Barrit Returns To Play ‘The Wizard’
September 14, 2011
WICKED, the smash hit musical that tells the untold story of the Witches of Oz, is pleased to announce that Gina Beck and Matt Willis will join the cast on Monday 12 December 2011 to star as Glinda and Fiyero respectively. Desmond Barrit is returning to the show to play The Wizard. They will be joined by Lillie Flynn (Nessarose), Christopher Howell (Doctor Dillamond) and Adam Pettigrew (Boq).
Gina Beck (Glinda) recently finished a two-year season starring as ‘Christine Daaé’ in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera at London’s Her Majesty’s Theatre. She made her West End debut in 2006 as ‘Cosette’ in Les Misérables at the Queens Theatre and recently performed in the 25th Anniversary Concert at The O2. Gina is currently starring in The Belle’s Stratagem at the Southwark Playhouse.
Matt Willis (Fiyero) first shot to fame as a member of the chart-topping, BRIT award-winning band Busted. In 2006 he won the popular ITV show I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!. He has subsequently made countless TV appearances, many alongside his wife, presenter Emma Willis. Having originally trained at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, Matt returned to his theatre roots in 2010, to make his West End debut as ‘Nick Hurley’ in Flashdance. He most recently starred as ‘Chuck’ in the UK national tour of Footloose.
Desmond Barrit (The Wizard) originally starred in WICKED in 2008/09. The Olivier award-winning RSC and National Theatre actor has just finished playing ‘Falstaff’, directed by Sir Peter Hall, to great acclaim.
Gina Beck (Glinda), Matt Willis (Fiyero), Desmond Barrit (The Wizard), Lillie Flynn (Nessarose), Christopher Howell (Doctor Dillamond) and Adam Pettigrew (Boq) will join current WICKED stars Rachel Tucker (Elphaba) and Julie Legrand (Madame Morrible) from Monday 12 December 2011.
WICKED recently played its 2000th performance and will celebrate its landmark 5th birthday on Tuesday 27 September 2011. The “hugely popular musical” (The Times) has now been seen by almost 4 million people since its West End premiere in 2006.
Acclaimed as “the hit musical with brains, heart and courage” (The Sunday Telegraph), WICKED has won multiple awards including the 2010 Olivier Award for Most Popular Show and the Whatsonstage.com Award for Best West End Show in both 2011 and 2010.
Release issued by: Wicked Press Office