Every so often there comes a musical that not only defines the times but defies gravity and soars into Broadway history.
“Phantom of the Opera” was one of those musicals. So was “Rent.” And “Hamilton.”
And then there’s “Wicked,” now the 5th longest-running show in Broadway history. Since opening on Broadway in 2003, “Wicked” has won more than 100 international awards including a Grammy Award and three Tony Awards. The show has been performed in over 100 cities in 16 countries around the world, and has been translated into six languages. Overall, “Wicked” has been seen by over 60 million people worldwide and has amassed over $5 billion in global sales. And it made stars out of original cast members Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth.
Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, “Wicked” has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman. The production is directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, with musical staging by Tony Award winner Wayne Cilento.
Why so “Popular?”
“Wicked” plays off the popularity of “The Wizard of Oz” to tell the story of what happened in Oz before Dorothy and her house dropped in. The “Wicked” story follows a young woman born with emerald-green skin—smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. She meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular. Their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships until fate intervenes and the world decides to call one “good” and the other “wicked.”
The score includes the hits “Defying Gravity,” “Popular” and “For Good.” The show has been hailed by The New York Times as “the defining musical of the decade,” and by Time Magazine as “a magical Broadway musical with brains, heart, and courage.”
Courage and heart are certainly present in the touring production of “Wicked” that comes to Segerstrom Center February 9 through March 6.
The show had been touring for several years with Allison Bailey as the understudy for Glinda, the good witch. Bailey took over the lead role in September of 2019, but after six months the tour, like all other shows, came to a sudden halt in March, 2020.
The tour resumed after a 17-month hiatus, but what did Bailey during the pandemic pause?
“I went home to Florida—it was nice to be with my family,” said Bailey during a phone interview from Tucson, where the show was enjoying a multi-week run before coming to Costa Mesa. ”It was a time of uncertainty. I did some teaching online, and connected with fans of the show.”
So how did it feel to finally resume the tour?
“It was like riding a bike, like coming back home,” said Bailey. “Wicked has been a part of my life for over six years, but at the same time it was like having a fresh start. I saw the show differently. Things resonated in a different way.”
“Wicked” is certainly resonating with audiences, said Bailey.
“They are excited to be in the theater together—I think we all forgot what it was like to be around 3,000 of our closest friends.”
Bailey admitted that playing the part of Glinda was a dream role for her, especially after seeing the original “Wicked” on Broadway when she was a young girl.
“It’s a dream come true,” stated Bailey. “It had been my dream to go on stage in a bubble (as Glinda does). And ‘Wicked’ is so magical, there is not another theater show like it. It has so much heart and lessons like don’t judge a book by its cover. The show speaks to everyone from age 8 to 80.”
Single tickets for “Wicked” start at $44.75. Tickets are available online at www.SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, or by calling (714) 556-2787.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts Audience Advisory
Our updated COVID-19 policy requires ticket holders to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to attend all indoor performances and events at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. “Fully vaccinated” means your performance is at least 14 days after your final vaccine dose. To enter the theatre, please bring proof of vaccination, either your physical vaccination card, a picture of your vaccination card, or a digital vaccination record. Most California residents may request a digital vaccination record at www.myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov.
Those who are under age 12 and anyone without proof of being fully vaccinated must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours (3 days) prior to entering the theatre.
Masks are required at all times for all patrons and visitors regardless of vaccination status in all indoor spaces at Segerstrom Center.
Performance ticket holders who do not comply with these policies will not be admitted.