As the theatre world entered a new millennium, nobody was quite sure what the future would hold for the musical. However, despite the uncertainty of the times, the musical had a number of new incarnations throughout the decade. The musical comedy made a comeback with hits such as Spamalot and The Producers setting the world alight with its hilarious songs. While Stephen Schwartz's mega hit, Wicked, entranced audiences with its story of friendship and magic. It was also the beginning of the jukebox musical - telling new stories through the songs hits of popular bands - with Mamma Mia! based on the music of ABBA, and Jersey Boys, inspired by the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
Music & lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Winnie Holzman
Based on Gregory Maguire's novel, Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Premiered at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway on 30th October 2003
My Favourite Cast (Original Broadway Cast)
Elphaba : Idina Menzel
Glinda : Kristen Chenoweth
Fiyero : Norbert Leo Butz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz : Joel Grey
Madame Morrible : Carole Shelley
Nessarose : Michelle Federer
Boq : Christopher Fitzgerald
Doctor Dillamond : William Youmans
Music by Sue Casson
Words by Simon Rae
Based on the Greek Myth of Persephone
Premiered at Grimebourne
THE SHOW & SHOW HISTORY
A global musical phenomenon, Wicked is based on the Gregory Maguire novel, Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, adapted as a musical by genius of the genre, Stephen Schwartz. A prequel to the Wizard of Oz, Wicked explores the relationship between Glinda, the Good Witch of the East, and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, in the Land of Oz before Dorothy arrives. The show follows their friendship from the very beginning when they become roommates to their final goodbye. It is a beautiful insight into the ups and downs of friendship but also digs deep into what good and evil really means and how it affects the people and the world around us.
After a successful tryout in San Francisco, Wicked premiered at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway in 2003 starring Idina Menzel as Elphaba and Kristen Chenoweth as Glinda. It is one of the longest running musicals on Broadway and the West End to date as the original productions are still running. The show also continues to tour the USA, UK and other major countries as audiences are entranced by its tale of magic and friendship.
THE SHOW & SHOW HISTORY
Based on a Greek myth, Persephone describes how the seasons may have come into being. One day, when the goddess Persephone, the beautiful daughter of Zeus and Demeter, is picking flowers in broad daylight, she is abducted by her evil uncle, Hades, god of the underworld. Obsessed by her beauty, Hades takes her to his kingdom in the Underworld by force and holds her captive. Demeter, her mother and goddess of the harvest, discovers what Hades has done and in her anger takes her power away from the earth so it lies barren. In the Underworld, Persephone is tempted by a pomegranate seed that seals her fate in that she is no longer free to live above the earth, as she always has. Her father, Zeus, decrees that although Persephone must now spend half the year in the Underworld, to appease Demeter and make the earth fertile again, she can also spend half the year as she has always lived. And so the seasons are born.
A collaboration between poet, Simon Rae, and singer-songwriter Sue Casson, Persephone is a masque in the making which premiered at Grimeborne a few years ago. Soon to be staged again, I think that Persephone is a character that would inspire many with her determination and care of the world around us.
WHY I HEART IT
Wicked has made a very significant 'handprint on my heart' to quote one of its most famous songs, For Good. The music is electric and awe-inspiring which brings excitement to the dullest of car journeys and the show is a world in itself, enveloping the theatres the show inhabits with glitter and green. I was lucky enough to see the West End production in 2015 and was blown away by the spectacle as well as the beautifully crafted story. It is a true modern classic and a musical I couldn't live without.
WHY I HEART IT
The story of Persephone is one that intrigues me as it shows a strong willed woman in the clutches of an odious man but not taking no for an answer. Although it is yet to be staged, the music that has been written so far tells the story seamlessly and makes clear how the myth still relates to today's throwaway society. Caring for and about the world is one of the messages of Persephone and will be inspirational for audiences in the future.
SONG IN CONTEXT
For Good is sung at the very of the end of the show. Having followed the ups and downs of their friendship, Glinda and Elphaba have an opportunity to say the things they never said, before they part never to meet again. It is an emotional end to a terrific show and often leaves me in tears as it reminds me of all the people who have made my life what it is and how much they matter to me.
SONG IN CONTEXT
‘Even though I cannot die' is sung by Persephone when she realises that she is stuck as a captive in the Underworld, far from the airy world she lives in. Although she is an immortal goddess, she knows that a part of her would die, even though she never could, if she couldn’t escape the darkness of the Underworld and Hades’ clutches.