Ever wondered where the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion came from to the magical land of Oz?
Turns out the Scarecrow and the Tin Man were once human beings and the Cowardly Lion was just an ordinary cub before being struck by an unfortunate event. Welcome to the Oz land!
Apollo Victoria is operated by the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) covered in my Lyceum Theatre post.
Apollo Victoria opened in 1930 as a cinema and presented movies as well as variety shows. It was closed for a short period of time during the second World War, but reopened in May 1941. The theatre was saved from demolition in 1950 and presented ballet and live performances along with the film shows. The theatre was closed for major refurbishment in 1975 and only reopened in 1981 with Shirley Bassey concert. From 1980s on Apollo Victoria presented musicals including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express and Bombay Dreams, the Bee Gee’s musical Saturday Night Fever, also, Movin’ Out, which ran for only 2 months. Since 2006, Apollo Victoria has been house for Wicked.
Wicked is based on Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, an alternate story of the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz and Frank Baum’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Not surprisingly the story evolves in the magic land of Oz and tells the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, who is not wicked at all. Glinda (Galinda), is the narrator of the story as she announces the death of the Wicked Witch of the West. We travel with Glinda back to the University when she first met Elphaba. Elphaba was born green as her mother drank green substance with her lover while still pregnant with Elphaba. Elphaba’s father did not express much love toward her as her green skin reminded him his wife’s infidelity. Elphaba spent her childhood and teenage years taking care of her sister, who was born with disability. Elphaba’s father blamed her for her sister’s disability and her mother’s death, who did not recover after the second childbirth. Everybody made fun of Elphaba at the University as she would dress in her way in addition to having green skin. But soon everyone discovers that Elphaba has great power and she becomes headmistress’ favourite student. Glinda, who is perfect in every way but not half as capable as Elphaba is jealous and decides to make fun of Elphaba in front of everyone at the ball. Glinda changes her mind as she discovers, Elphaba sent her a magic wand. They become best friends. Glinda is dating the most attractive guy at the university, Fiyero and they look like a perfect couple. Fiyero and Elphaba are in the same class for history with Dr. Dillamond who is the only Animal professor at the university. Something strange is happening at the university as animal professors are discriminated against and there is a conspiracy to stop the animals from speaking. During the class Dr. Dillamond announced his resignation and he is replaced by a professor who introduces a tiger cub in the cage and declares animals should be in a cage. Elphaba uses her magic to freeze everyone, kidnap the tiger and run from the class with Fiyero. They spend whole afternoon together and start to have feelings towards each other. Soon Elphaba is sent to meet the Wizard of Oz by the headmistress and she asks Glinda to go with her. Glinda accompanies Elphaba as Fiyero seems rather strange and she decides to give him some time alone. Elphaba and Glinda meet the Wizard and the Wizard gives Elphaba the book of spells. As Elphaba reads the spell she realises that the Wizard is a fraud, he has no power and he stands behind the conspiracy against the animals. Elphaba confronts the Wizard and decides to fight against him and the injustice. She runs away with the book of spells. Glinda decides to stay and bring people happiness in the times of fear. Wizard declares Elphaba as a wicked witch starts a hunt against her. Fiyero leads the police force to find Elphaba, but he runs away with her instead of capturing her. The Wizard uses Elphaba’s sister to capture her. Fiyero and Elphaba are trapped and supposed to be executed. Elphaba turns Fiyero into a scarecrow to save his life and stages her own death to stop the hunt against her. At the end Glinda makes the Wizard resign and leave the land, she becomes the Wizard and brings peace to Ozians. Elphaba and Fyiero (Scarecrow) start a new life looking for adventures.
Wicked premiered on Broadway in 2003 at the Gershwin Theatre. The creator of music and lyrics is Stephen Schwartz, who persuaded Gregory Maguire to adapt his book into a musical. Wicked has been running on West End since 2006.
Director: Joe Mantello
Producers: Mark Platt, David Stone, Universal Stage Productions, Jon B. Platt, Michael McCabe
Casting: Jim Arnold (Pippa Ailion Casting)
020 7738 7556
Eurolink Business Centre, 47 Effra Parade, London, SW2 1BZ
Major casting change took place in July 2017. There are no open auditions for West End production, except for dancers, only the performers under consideration are invited.
Got my ticket straight at the theatre! Just walked in before performance and bought a side seat in the middle row of the stalls for £24.5. Apollo Victoria is the largest theatre in London and even though I had a side seat I had a great view and my neck muscles did not get strained. The rows are slightly curved and no matter where you sit the stage is still in front and not on the side, so smart!
Running time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The Theatre Rat