The Story Of Wicked

Wicked is a musical with songs and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman. The story is based on the best-selling novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, a parallel novel of L. Frank Baum’s classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from the perspective of the witches of the Land of Oz.

Wicked tells the story of Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West and her relationship with Galinda, the Good Witch of the North. (In the album notes, Gregory Maguire explained that he derived the name “Elphaba” from the initials of L. Frank Baum.) Their friendship struggles through their opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, their reactions to the Wizard’s corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba’s public fall from grace. The plot is set mostly before Dorothy’s arrival from Kansas, and includes several references to well-known scenes and dialogue in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz as a backstory.

The musical debuted on Broadway on October 30, 2003. It is produced by Universal Pictures and directed by Joe Mantello, with musical staging by Wayne Cilento. Its original stars were Idina Menzel as Elphaba, Kristin Chenoweth as Galinda, and Joel Grey as the Wizard. Although the production received mixed reviews and was panned by The New York Times, it has proved to be a favorite among patrons. The Broadway production’s success spawned productions in Chicago, Los Angeles, London’s West End, Tokyo, Melbourne, and Stuttgart, along with two North American tours that have visited over 30 cities in Canada and the United States.

Wicked has broken box office records around the world, holding weekly-gross-takings records in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, and London, and the record for biggest opening in the West End (£100,000 in the first hour on sale). The West End production has played to more than 1.4 million people, and the North American tour has been seen by over two million patrons. The show was nominated for ten 2004 Tony Awards, winning those for Best Actress, Scenic Design and Costume Design. It also won six Drama Desk Awards.