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.