Why Wicked is A West End and Broadway Musical Sensation
Wicked is a musical production and cultural phenomenon that, from the time of its debut, shaped the future of theatre around the globe. First hitting the stage in 2003, Wicked is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which is in turn based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film adaptation.
In October of 2003, the Gershwin Theatre marked the beginning of an era by running a show that would forever alter the future of West End and Broadway musicals. Musical theatre was set on a new path by a production that wickedly challenged critics and audiences alike to expand their understanding of theatre and what could be achieved on stage.
With productions ongoing around the world, Wicked’s theatre production at the Apollo Victoria Theatre still wows audiences and manages to make waves decades after its initial run.
Told from the perspective of, and focusing on, the witches of the Land of Oz, Wicked breathes life into the relationships and struggles of two unlikely friends and brings viewers along for the ride. Join us as we explore why Wicked is a West End and Broadway musical sensation that has changed the world of entertainment forever.
A Story That Compels & Sells
Breaking multiple box office records with 1.3-billion-dollars in ticket sales to date, Wicked still bewitches its audience with larger-than-life visuals, powerful storyline, and spectacular acting. This celebrated show was brought to life by the magical music and lyrics of Steven Schwartz, while Winnie Holzman’s script made the musical a phenomenal hit with viewers.
Wicked has been running for nearly twenty years, and viewers are still fascinated by this classic tale of friendship, magic, and fantastical music numbers that defy expectations (and gravity). This bombastic production has a legacy unlike any other and has ruled the West End since its London debut at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in September of 2006.
What makes Wicked so compelling and an all-time favorite for many is its incredible storytelling with characters and situations that inarguably mirror today’s reality.
The antagonistic turned friendly relationship between the two witches is so reminiscent of real-world relationship that viewers can’t help but relate to their characters’ struggles. The subtle remarks that make up the sub-plot of a suspect government agenda, corruption, and color discrimination paint a world none too different from our own.
Magical Singing, Acting, & Characters
Unlike many other black and white and good versus evil stories, Wicked deviates from being a simple fairytale. Instead, the musical is a not so simple fairytale with a twist.
The witch of Wicked is not so wicked and the good can be surprisingly selfish. The underlying story is far deeper than what audiences have come to expect from the wicked witch they thought they knew from The Wizard of Oz.
The green-skinned witch Elphaba shows distinctive character development and growth throughout the production. Likewise, the friendship between Elphaba and Galinda develops a believable, if somewhat fraught with tension, friendship.
Still wondering why Wicked is a West End and Broadway musical sensation? Wicked has been such a big hit with audiences not only due to its incredible sets, singing, and storyline, but also because of its believability and heart. Viewers grow right alongside the two central characters, Elphaba and Galinda, and are rooting for them to end up on top.
With over-the-top drama, laugh out loud humor, sentimental moments, and heart-wrenching twists, Wicked is a tale of an anti-heroine finding her way that perfectly blends the imaginary with the contemporary.
The Far-Reaching Land of Oz
With over 6,000 shows across the world, the success of the Wicked Broadway production has spawned many productions worldwide, including a long-running West End production.
Wicked has broken box-office records around the world, and in the week ending January 2, 2011, both the London West End and Broadway North American touring productions simultaneously broke their respective records for the highest weekly gross.
In the final week of its seasonal run in 2013, the Broadway production broke this record again, earning $3.2 million. In 2016, Wicked surpassed $1 billion in total Broadway revenue, joining The Phantom of the Opera and The Lion King as the only Broadway shows to do so.
In 2017, Wicked surpassed The Phantom of the Opera as Broadway’s second-highest grossing musical, second only to The Lion King. In fact, Wicked has been performed in 16 different countries and is still going strong today.
Awards, Accolades, and Adaptations
The record-breaking musical Wicked has won three Tony Awards, one Grammy Award, and two Olivier Awards, and is the ninth longest-running West End musical of all time at the time of this publication. With ongoing shows and support in the West End, it’s anyone’s guess how long the award-winning production will last as a fan favorite.
In addition to positive reception from musical theatre critics, the long-running production of Wicked has become a cult classic to millions of viewers due to its incredible score and unforgettable adaptations.
Wicked’s score is wildly popular, with iconic musical numbers that shine just as bright as the characters who sing them. In particular, the famous songs “Defying Gravity” and “Popular” have transcended the worlds of the West End and Broadway and have embedded themselves in everyday pop culture.
Covers of both songs have been performed by musical theatre and mainstream music artists alike, including a hit remix of the song “Popular” by Ariana Grande and MIKA in 2012. Wicked itself is largely popular for its reimagining of the classic tale of the Wizard of Oz characters and has given rise to several adaptations.
A two-part film adaptation, directed by Jon M. Chu is scheduled for release in Christmas 2024 and 2025, respectively. The film is set to star Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba, Ariana Grande as Galinda, and Jonathan Bailey as love interest Fiyero. We can’t wait to see what surprises will await us in the land where all is just “smoke and mirrors”.
A Wicked Good Watch for All
The long-standing musical theatre history, compelling story, and wicked-good musical numbers are just a few reasons why Wicked is a West End and Broadway musical sensation.
Full of laughs and heart-tugging moments, Wicked takes audience members through the Land of Oz and a growing friendship that defies odds and circumstance.
Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in the West End welcomes the whole family for a magnificent theatre experience. After seeing the show, you will have been changed for good. Don’t miss out on your chance to see the show that has crept into the hearts and minds of millions.
Get your Wicked theatre tickets online at Ticket Here and take the whole family to see a performance filled with magic, mayhem, and mystery.