Wicked flew onto the Broadway scene (by broomstick, of course) 10 years ago today, and in honor of the hit musical’s big birthday, Gregory Maguire, the author of the original novel, has a special surprise: He’s launching The Elphaba Fund, a nonprofit family foundation committed to health, education, arts and literacy among women and children throughout the world. “With Wicked [on Broadway] being so successful, even I—the grandfather, the author of the novel—have a few extra bucks to rub together,” Maguire tells Broadway.com. “I wanted to follow the theme of the musical and turn something wicked into something good.”
Maguire and his husband Andy Newman will fund the organization entirely out of their own pockets, and they’ve already chosen a few causes they’d like to support. “We’ve been giving already to Cambodian orphanages and to Guatemalan literacy campaigns,” Maguire says, “and one great project in Nairobi that feeds and teaches young girls from the slums and gives them a head start on life.” The organization will also support the Concord Free Press, a publisher that gives away their books for free, simply asking that readers pay the kindness forward and donate to a charity of their choice.
These causes hit especially close to home for Maguire, who had a turbulent childhood. “My mother died when I was born, and I spent some time in an orphanage when I was a kid,” he says. “I’ve always had a yen to try to help other kids who have had some hardship of one sort or another.” The author and his husband, who have three adopted children, reside in Massachusetts.
“People talk about painting the town green—and money is green, so why not spend a little?” Maguire says with a laugh. “Why not spend it in defense of people who don’t have enough? It seemed like a suitable birthday present to the world, which has been so kind and gracious to Elphaba and her friends.”