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On the Twentieth Anniversary of “Wicked”

Twenty years ago, the hit Broadway musical Wicked finally opened on Broadway. Since then, the show has been a musical hit for the ages. It has become the fourth longest-running show in Broadway history while grossing $1.5 billion in ticket sales. The original show starred two Broadway icons, Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda and Idina Menzel as Elphaba.

As casting changes have been made, several notable ones are Amanda Jane Cooper as Glinda and Saycon Sengbloh as Elphaba. Cooper played Glinda for two years, starting in 2015. She shared with CBS News how she was able to see the show’s value as Glinda. “Someone had bought two seats. They had just lost their mom and they still came to the show and left that seat beside them empty and we got to hug after the show and share in that moment.”

Sengbloh shared with CBS how playing Elphaba was a dream come true. “I actually was the first Black woman, African-American woman, to perform the role of Elphaba. I was the Elphaba standby. It’s just a dream come true. It’s one of my favorite roles I’ve ever done.”

Wicked‘s 20th Anniversary

To celebrate the anniversary, composer Stephen Swartz called both Menzel and Chenoweth to the stage after another performance at the famous Gershwin Theatre. Both actresses, starting with Menzel, told CBS, “Would I have known it would be 20 years later?” She continued, saying “The reason why it has been around forever is because of the themes of the show. It’s about really owning who you are and what makes you different is what makes you extraordinary.” Chenoweth added, “And now, 20 years later, it’s still running. I’m happy that something I did lasted.” As the musical first premiered back in 2003, Menzel went on to win a Tony a year later.

A prequel to the hit book and film The Wizard of Oz, the musical is set to become a film adaptation. It will be released in November of next year, having been pushed back because of the writers’ strike that ended earlier this year. The film stars Ariana Grande as Glinda and Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba. It will be interesting to see how popular the film is compared to the musical itself.

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