The beloved musical Wicked is celebrating a big birthday on October 30! In honor of the Broadway blockbuster’s 10th anniversary, Entertainment Weekly unveiled a special Wicked reunion feature, complete with gorgeous photos and a trip down memory lane with composer Stephen Schwartz, director Joe Mantello, original novel writer Gregory Maguire and of course, the show’s original witchy duo, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. Think you know everything there is to know about Elphie and Glinda? Read below for 10 fascinating facts about the Broadway smash hit.
Gregory Maguire Envisioned Wicked as a TV Show, Not a Musical
“The entire time I was writing the book, I had cast the story in my head as if it were a big, broad British miniseries like The Jewel in the Crown. I had Angela Lansbury playing Madame Morrible, and Melanie Griffith with her high, high voice playing Glinda, and Elphaba played by K.D. Lang because she has a beautiful voice.” (The author might get his wish!)
Stephen Schwartz Was Snorkeling When Wicked Inspiration Hit
“At the end of 1996, on a boat on the way back from snorkeling, one of my friends—the folksinger Holly Near—said in idle conversation, ‘Oh, I’m reading this really interesting book. It’s called Wicked and it’s the Oz story from the Wicked Witch’s point of view.’ I thought, ‘That’s the best idea I’ve ever heard.’”
Idina Menzel Dropped an F-Bomb in Her Audition
“For the callback they made me learn ‘Defying Gravity.’ I was doing really well, then I totally cracked on the high, high note at the end. I screamed ‘F---!’ at the top of my lungs. Then, without the piano player, I sang the note again to show that I could actually hit it and I kept going. [Director] Joe Mantello says that’s what got me the role.”
Kristin Chenoweth Was Scared of the Bubble
“I’m not afraid of heights, but I do have this inner-ear disorder and I get vertigo. Sometimes when I would go up in my bubble, I would be a little off-kilter.”
"Defying Gravity" Was “Hell” for Idina Menzel
“Singing ‘Defying Gravity’ in the air eight times a week is [hell]. But when you think about the little girl who comes from somewhere in middle America and it’s the first time she’s seeing it, you need to do it for her.”
Stephen Schwartz and the Creative Team Feuded During Previews
“Tensions were high—there were angry words and tears. I left [a meeting] quite annoyed and headed over to the theater, where I saw this huge crowd outside. My first thought was that there had been a terrible accident, like a car had gone out of control and run into the theater. I went rushing up, and it was this huge line of people waiting for the box office to open. And this was after three previews.”
Gregory Maguire Didn’t Expect Wicked to Last
“I saw the play about eight times in San Francisco because I wanted it to be deeply ingrained in my head in case it closed after three weeks.”
Kristin Chenoweth Didn’t Care About Trophies
“I always saw Glinda as a supporting role, but the producers said, ‘You’ve got these amazing reviews… You should be in Leading Actress.’ And I said, ‘Whatever—I didn’t do this job to win a Tony.'”
For Joe Mantello, No One Compares to Kristin and Idina
“To this day, and this is no slight to any of the actors that we’ve since had in those roles, there has never been the natural chemistry that Kristin and Idina had with each other. It’s nothing I did, and it’s nothing they did. They just had it."
Kristin Chenoweth Isn’t Fighting With Idina Menzel
“We’re very different actors and we don’t see each other often, but that doesn’t mean there was drama. Are the friends still seeing each other every day? Do Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow get together for lunch? They’ll forever be linked and I’m sure they’ll always have a bond, but they probably don’t get to see each other as much as they’d like.”
Wicked celebrates its 10th anniversary October 30 at the Gershwin Theatre!