One of the decade’s most successful and beloved Broadway shows is back! Wicked returns to the stage and the cast and production team are going on tour! This spring, Wicked comes to Omaha and makes the iconic Orpheum Theatre its home. This is excellent news for Nebraskan Broadway fans because this incredible musical will be having 24 showings from April 27, 2022, to May 15, 2022! Wicked tells a story of a young woman who was born with emerald-green skin. She is talented, intelligent, fiery, and is often misunderstood. She meets a vibrant young blonde girl who’s popular among her peers. The story begins with the two ladies’ becoming rivals. Eventually, the rivalry turns into an unlikely friendship.
If you’ve seen or read the Wizard of Oz, you’re probably familiar with the green-skinned witch who terrorized Dorothy and her friends. You must have wondered why this particular witch was mean and horrible to the people of Oz. The writer of the story didn’t explain why she was terrible. However, in Wicked, the story gives the viewers another perspective of the wicked witch and why she was actually a misunderstood character. Elphaba, known as the Wicked Witch in the West, had an underlying past that can enlighten why she became the villain in the classic story of The Wizard of Oz.
The musical begins with the Ozian folks celebrating the passing of the Wicked Witch in the West. However, the good witch, Glinda (Galinda), comes in to reveal Elphaba’s past. Elphaba’s mother had a secret love affair with a traveling salesman. Her husband, the governor of Munchkinland, was always busy working to notice that there was something amiss with his wife. She later gives birth to Elphaba, a baby with emerald-green skin, which the husband detests. Instead, he gives all his love and attention to Elphaba’s younger sister Nessarose (Nessa), a beautiful but disabled girl. Years later, the two sisters were sent to attend Shiz University. Nessa received an exquisite pair of jeweled shoes from her father before going to school. The university’s headmistress, Madame Morrible, took the girls under her wing and assigned Elphaba a roommate, Glinda. The two roommates would clash as Glinda is popular and outgoing, while Elphaba kept to herself.
The story becomes complicated as these characters grow up and eventually discover one another’s secrets. Elphaba becomes friends with Glinda during a school dance, but their bewildering lives make for a turn of events, ending with Elphaba being called the Wicked Witch of the West. Elphaba only dreamt of meeting the Wizard of Oz. Still, later she discovers something regrettably significant about him that would explain why animals could not talk and why she has magical powers and green skin.
Wicked is an adaptation from many stories derived from the original classic novel, the Wizard of Oz. Wicked the musical is based on the book written by Winnie Holtzman, while the music and lyrics were written by Award-winning lyricist and composer Stephen Schwartz. The story of Wicked was inspired by the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, written by Gregory Mcquire. The book is somewhat a redo of the classic novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Franklin Baum. Mcguire used the same characters from the 1900 novel, as well as characters from the 1939 film, the Wizard of Oz. The original 2003 Wicked, the musical in New York, had a stellar Tony Award-winning cast. Elphaba was played by actress and singer Idina Menzel, while Kristin Chenoweth played Glinda. Norbert Leo Butz played Elphaba’s love interest Fiyero and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was played by Joel Grey. Carole Shelley, known for her work as Gwendolyn Pigeon in the Odd Couple, starred as Madame Morrible. Meanwhile, Michelle Federer, who portrayed Nessarose, made her Broadway debut in Wicked.
The 2022 Wicker tour cast is joined by Lissa Deguzman as Elphaba, Jennafer Newberry as Glinda, Lisa Howard as Madame Morrible, John Bolton as The Wizard, Kimberly Immanuel as Nessaarose, Michael Genet as Doctor Dillamond, Jordan Litz as Fiyero, and Jake Pedersen as Boq. The Wicked tour is directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, best known for his work with the Assassins and Take Me Out.
“The best moments in ‘Wicked’ come when the stage is least crowded. I’m done niggling. ‘Wicked’ is funny and touching and full of beans (not to mention child-friendly). – Terry Teachout from the Wall Street Journal
“What is spectacular about the show is the spectacle. That old Emerald City has never had it so good, with flying monkeys and giant Munchkins with extendable necks. – Clive Barnes from the New York Post.
“It’s an ambitious musical…There are so many wonderful things in Wicked that to dismiss it as so many critics have done strikes us as perverse…It has a heart, a brain, and the nerve to have opened on Broadway.” – Barbara and Scott Siegel from the Theater Mania.
With an outstanding cast and award-winning writers, director, and creative team, the musical predictably received raving reviews from critics. Although Wicked is a fantasy musical about witches, wizards, and magic, critics have found it very much relevant to today’s society. David Cote from Timeout New York said that “The lavishly designed musical addresses complex themes, such as standards of beauty, individual morality and, believe it or not, opposing fascism.” Elysa Gardner from USA Today added, “The triumph is not Schwartz’s alone. Adapted from a Gregory Maguire novel, Wicked offers a post-feminist, socially conscious reinterpretation of the story of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West.
“Thanks to Winnie Holzman’s witty book and composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz’s robust and pop-inflected score, Wicked soars.” – David Cote from Timeout New York
Wicked the musical received many accolades in 2004. The musical received a total of nine Tony Awards nominations, in which it won three categories; Best Actress in a Musical (Idina Menzel), Best Scenic Design, and Best Costume Design. The musical also received ten nominations are the Drama Desk Awards. Wicked was the star of the night during the award ceremony, thanks to the musical winning seven awards. In addition to winning Tony and Drama Desk Awards, the musical also won a Drama League Award, Eddy Award, and four Outer Critics Circle Awards. In 2005, Wicked won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.
Wicked’s Omaha leg takes place at the Orpheum Theatre. The state-of-the-art venue has been home to the finest entertainment in the state. The site was home to the Creighton Theater, which was built in 1895. A major reconstruction was done before the venue opened as Orpheum Theatre in 1926. In 2002, the venue underwent a $10 million renovation, allowing it to accommodate more extensive and intricate sets and scenery. Around ten years later, the venue received a $3 million refurbishment.
If you have seen the Wizard of Oz, you must come and see Wicked the musical at the Orpheum Theatre in Omaha! Find out why Elphaba may not deserve the monicker Wicked Witch in the West. Tickets are now available, so hurry up and don’t miss out on the Wicked musical in Omaha!