Friday, June 25, 2010

Wicked World

Wicked World

If you're among my regular Steve On Broadway (SOB) readers, surely by now you know that the Broadway musical Wicked rates as the tuner the Love Of My Life (LOML) and I have adopted as "Our Show."

While some couples have their song, we have our musical. And we make no apologies for it whatsoever.

If you've ever wondered what a major international blockbuster this show has become, consider this -- worldwide, Wicked has grossed over $1.9 billion and it has entertained more than 24 million people, who have seen it in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Australia. Soon, it will also be seen in Finland and Denmark.

While the musical has that tagline, "So much happened before Dorothy dropped in," so much has happened with Wicked since I last wrote about the show late last year. Here's a rundown on Wicked's global reach, where it is currently playing and where it will be performing:

Wicked - Broadway
Gershwin Theatre - New York, New York

After opening October 30, 2003, to mixed reviews, the original production of Wicked is still going strong.

Not only does it regularly rank as the top grossing Broadway show week after week, but after more than six and a half years, it's also one of those rare shows that still sells every single seat.

Tonight, it will have played its 2755th performance, and it ranks as the 18th longest running show in Broadway history. By year's end, it will eclipse Hello, Dolly! currently in 17th place.

From my own tally, my LOML and I have seen the show on Broadway at least six times, most recently about a year ago when I found the musical still in tiptop shape.

Wicked - San Francisco
Orpheum Theatre - San Francisco, California

Once the Los Angeles sitdown production closed January 11, 2009, after 791 performances, the company moved up the coast to San Francisco, which was home to the initial Broadway tryout that opened June 10, 2003.

The San Francisco sitdown production opened February 6, 2009, and is currently slated to close on September 5, 2010, after playing a total of 672 regular performances.

While my LOML and I never saw the show in LA, we enjoyed a performance at San Francisco's Orpheum last September when Patty Duke was portraying Madame Morrible.

Wicked - National Tours
Currently playing Dallas, Texas (Music Hall at Fair Park) and St. Louis, Missouri (Fabulous Fox Theatre)

The two national touring companies of Wicked are still going strong, typically pulling into a major city (and many second-tier cities) for an entire month.

Currently, the tour schedule for two companies run through next summer in Omaha and Washington, DC.

To date, I've seen the touring companies perform four times: once in Chicago (not counting all the times I subsequently saw its sitdown production there), twice in Minneapolis and one more time in Des Moines.

While the touring company doesn't come with all the bells and whistles of the Broadway or other sitdown productions, the stagecraft ranks among the best I've ever seen in any touring show, and the casts are every bit as good as you'll find anywhere.

Wicked - London
Apollo Victoria Theatre, London, United Kingdom

As the first international production Wicked to open, this production was voted "Most Popular Show" by audiences earlier this year in a special Olivier Award category.

The West End incarnation of Wicked opened September 27, 2006, and enjoyed its 1500th performance on April 23, 2010. The show is currently booking through April 30, 2011.

My LOML and I caught a performance in April 2007. Of all our Wicked experiences, this ranked as the weakest of the bunch. But I readily admit it could have just been an off-performance.

Wicked - Osaka
Osaka Shiki Theater - Osaka, Japan

The first foreign-language version of Wicked opened June 17, 2007, at Tokyo's Shiki Theatre. The Japanese-language production closed September 6, 2009, before transferring to Osaka, where it opened October 11, 2009. The show is still playing.

At the close of 2007, my LOML and I journeyed to see the Tokyo production. If you've never seen an American musical in a different language, it's quite a unique experience. Fortunately, since we already knew the show backwards and forwards, we had little difficulty following it. Since that time, we've purchased the Japanese language cast recording, and it's a real hoot to listen to.

Wicked - Die Hexen Von Oz - Oberhausen
Metronom Theater - Oberhausen, Germany

On November 15, 2007, the second non-English language production of Wicked opened.

This time, Wicked - Die Hexen von Oz (or "The Witches of Oz) was produced entirely in German at Stuttgart's Palladium Theater. After closing January 29, 2010, it transferred to Oberhausen's Metronom Theater, where it opened March 9 and is still performing.

For the first time in our Wicked experience, my LOML and I enjoyed front-row seats when taking in the Stuttgart production over Thanksgiving 2007. We thought this incarnation had some of the best talent we had ever seen in the show, and when the cast recording was issued that December, we couldn't resist in purchasing it immediately.

Wicked - Sydney
Capitol Theatre - Sydney, Australia

Given Australians' penchant for calling their nation "Oz," it was inevitable that Wicked would find its way there.

On July 12, 2008, Wicked opened at Melbourne's Regent Theatre. As the musical's fourth international production, it played there through August 9, 2009, having enjoyed 464 performances.

On September 12, 2009, Wicked opened in Sydney, where it continues to play at the Capitol Theatre and breaking records as the venue's highest grossing musical. While the show is currently slated to close exactly one year after it opened (September 12, 2010), it will continue to live on Down Under. My LOML and I will see the production on the evening of August 18.

In January 2011, Wicked will transfer to Brisbane's Lyric Theatre, followed by an April 2011 opening at Adelaide's Festival Theatre.

My LOML and I were fortunate to see the production shortly after it first opened in Melbourne.

Wicked - Helsinki
Helsingin Kaupungin Teatteri - Helsinki, Finland

On August 26, 2010, the first non-replicated production of Wicked premieres in Helsinki of all places.

Non-replicated essentially means it will be staged differently than the Broadway original with its own production and creative team. And it will be mounted in Finnish.

Currently, this production of Wicked is selling tickets through December 31, 2010.

Wicked - Heksene Fra Oz - Copenhagen
Det Ny Teater - Copenhagen, Denmark

Beginning in January 2011, the second non-replicated production of Wicked takes root, this time in Denmark. Currently, Wicked - Heksene Fra Oz is scheduled through May 2011. This production will be in Danish.

To date, my LOML and I have made over 20 visits to Wicked beginning with our first time at the Gershwin on November 1, 2003. Since then, we've seen the show in nine different venues in five different countries.

Where in the world will our fascination with Wicked take us next? Only the time dragon clock knows for sure.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post.

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At 25 June, 2010, Blogger Heather said...

My friend Charity is in the Japan production of Wicked. I haven't seen the show but I hear it's amazing. I've only seen the national tour... but loved it!

At 25 June, 2010, Blogger Esther said...

Hey SOB, thank-you for encouraging me to see Wicked. I loved it the first time, from the mezzanine on tour, and last December, on Broadway with Rondi Reed as Madame Morrible. I listen to the Broadway cast recording all the time. I love all the little asides to The Wizard of Oz and what it says about friendship.

At 25 June, 2010, Blogger Win in Wisconsin said...

Thank for the reviews...can't wait for the show in Milwaukee in August....can never see too much Wicked!!!


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