So Much Happened Before Dorothy Dropped In
Hot off the heals of New Plymouth Operatic highly attended 2019 production of Priscilla – Queen of the Desert – The Musical, which closed last weekend at the TSB Showplace, the Society moves straight into preparations for its next major production, Wicked, which will play at New Plymouth’s TSB Showplace in June 2020.
Wicked tells the back-story of “The Wizard of Oz” (a ‘Prequel’ – think Star Wars). The show tells the story from before and continues after Dorothy Gale arrives in Oz, and includes many references to the 1939 Judy Garland film and Baum’s novel. The story centres around the unlikely friendship between two witches – one popular and one wicked! Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfill their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
With a score written by Grammy, Tony and Academy Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz, this family-friendly musical is the definition of ‘Broadway Spectacular’. Wicked has been running continuously on Broadway (New York) since the show opened on 30 October 2003, notching up 6,552 performances so far, and still plays to full houses on Broadway 8 shows per week. Wicked is the second highest grossing musical in Broadway history (behind only The Lion King, and surpassing The Phantom of the Opera).
Wicked’s broad appeal to the general public is thanks its mix of nostalgia for audiences back through to one of the most loved and known films of all time, combined with a girl-power message and a visual spectacle only mega-musical can deliver.
Wicked looks set to continue on New Plymouth’s growing reputation as the theatre capital of the North Island. Approximately 15% of the attendees to New Plymouth Operatic’s productions each year now are travelling from out of Taranaki to see the show. “When we do our show planning, we look to provide a range of shows over a range of years for a range of people – both in terms of casting and audience appeal” said New Plymouth Operatic’s Mark Leuthard. “Wicked certainly is a different sort of show to Priscilla, and both are different again to Les Miserables which we staged in 2018”.
New Plymouth Operatic’s preparations for Wicked now start to ramp up, with Priscilla now closed, and the set, props and costumes for Wicked due to arrive in New Plymouth in just over 12 weeks time, while both Wicked auditions and tickets on sale are expected prior to Christmas this year as well.