It’s well established that Spokane-area theater-goers love “Wicked.”
The Tony-winning musical has played here twice before. In 2011, roughly 40,000 turned out during 16 shows to watch the so-called untold story of the Witches of Oz. That run set a revenue record for West Coast Entertainment that stood until “The Book of Mormon” broke it in 2014.
The witches of “Wicked” returned to the Lilac City in 2014 for another 24 shows. And now, West Coast Entertainment announced Monday the North American tour will return for another 24-show engagement March 9-27.
Peter Rossing, marketing director for West Coast Entertainment, which produces the STCU Best of Broadway series, said the decision to bring back “Wicked” was an easy one. It’s a show that local fans keep clamoring for.
“Anytime we put something out on Faceook, like ‘What is your favorite musical?’ or ‘What would you like to see again?’ … it’s ‘Wicked,’ ‘Wicked,’ ‘Wicked,’ ” Rossing said.
Based on a novel by Gregory Maguire and with a book and music by Winnie Holzman and Stephen Schwartz, “Wicked” tells the story of Elphaba, the so-called Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda the Good Witch. Long before a tornado deposited a girl from Kansas – and her little dog, too – into the land of Oz, Elphaba and Glinda were unlikely friends, and their relationship is explored and tested as the Wizard tries to consolidate power and begins to see Elphaba as a threat.
The show debuted on Broadway in 2003 with an original cast that included Tony winner Idina Menzel as Elphaba (before she “Let it Go” in “Frozen”), Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, and Joel Gray as the Wizard. “Wicked” is the fifth-longest running show on Broadway, and was the third, behind “Phantom of the Opera” and “The Lion King,” to earn $1 billion in Broadway revenue. Its global gross has topped $5 billion and the show has been seen by more than 60 million people worldwide, according to the show’s producers.
The North American tour is currently playing in Charlotte, North Carolina, while the Broadway show returns to the Gershwin Theatre in New York City on Tuesday night for the first time since the pandemic.
“Wicked” comes to Spokane as a special engagement to an already blockbuster season that will include “Hamilton,” “Come From Away,” “Anastasia,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Cats,” which kicks thing off next month. Beyond that are two shows that were rescheduled from the 2019-20 season, “Mean Girls” and “Jersey Boys,” and another special engagement, “A Christmas Carol” starring Bradley Whitford from “The West Wing” and “Get Out.”
A return of “Wicked” has actually been in the works for a number of years, Rossing said. “The original idea was for 2020-21, ‘Hamilton’ was the big anchor, and ‘Wicked’ would be for the 2021-22 season,” he said. “Then all the other shows started changing dates and postponing until eventually the whole season was rescheduled. But ‘Wicked’ didn’t change. They just kept an eye on things. With their routing, they have a couple other West Coast shows, so it worked for them to stay in March.
“It’s quite a season,” he added.
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