Final weekend of a Wicked treat

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June 7th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – You’ve probably seen the green posters taped up around the city, with the shadowy face of a mischievous-looking witch peering out. It’s Wicked, and it’s on stage for its final weekend at the Orpheum Theater.

Wicked is based on a novel by Gregory Maguire, which is in turn based on Frank Baum’s classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” explains producer Marc Platt, speaking on a promotional video for the Broadway show.

Wicked is the story of the unlikely friendship between Elphabab, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda the Good. (Photo courtesy Wicked)

Wicked is the story of the Wizard of Oz, but told from the witches’ point of view. Beginning long before Dorothy enters the picture, Wicked centers on the relationship between two very different girls, who meet in college. One is beautiful, popular and blond; the other is dark, misunderstood, and green. The two girls go on to become Glinda the Good and the Elphabab, the Wicked Witch of the West.

The story, adapted from Maguire’s novel, was originally imagined by Platt as a film. But Platt was approached by Music Director Steven Schwartz, who suggested bringing the production to the stage. The production team, augmented by Director Joe Mantello and writer Winnie Holzman kept the cinematic feel of larger-than-life scenery and effects.

Wicked's producers brought larger-than-life effects to the stage, for a performance that involves hundreds of hours of behind-the-scenes set design work. (Photo courtesy Wicked)

“There’s magic on stage, with monkeys flying, broomsticks levitate,” Platt said.

Edward Pierce, Associate Scenic Designer, walking the promotion’s audience through a scene shop in New York City, said “There’s a lot of scenery that the audience never sees… There’s lots of staircases and things… There’s always twice as much scenery on stage than people ever see, just to make the scenery we do see that much more wonderful.”

Wicked opened on Broadway in 2003, and has since toured the country, racking up several awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards. It is now showing at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Omaha, before it heads to Vancouver, Canada and Washington D.C. It’s the final weekend at the Orpheum for the production, which ends Sunday, June 12th.

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