It’s been over 10 years since the hit Broadway musical “Wicked” premiered. In that time, the show has made amazing advancements in technology and amassed millions of fans. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see this backstory about the witches from Oz, take some time to learn a few interesting facts about the show in London night out and then make sure you get your tickets.
London Night Out
Critics Panned the Show When it First Came Out
So far, “Wicked” has earned over $3.1 billion in ticket sales and entertained more than 38 million theatergoers. With numbers like these, you’d think the performance was a smash hit with everyone. However, critics actually trashed the musical when it first premiered. The New Yorker didn’t think any of the songs were memorable, and Newsday called it “overproduced” and “overblown.” Perhaps the worst review came from The New York Times, which didn’t think the musical would stick around very long. Yet devoted fans and incredible special effects actually made this performance a massive hit.
Incredible Production Achievements
A lot of manpower and actual power goes into putting on each “Wicked” performance. In fact, the carpentry department has to handle around 175,000 pounds of scenery and about 5 miles of cable. Additionally, enough power goes into the performance to supply roughly 12 homes. And that’s not all. The crew also uses approximately 250 pounds of dry ice to create all that smoke and drama.
Finally, the makeup used to create Elphaba’s infamous green skin isn’t foundation. Instead, the makeup department uses Chromacake from MAC cosmetics. The makeup artists use wide makeup brushes to cover her hands, face, and neck, and then use smaller brushes fill in any spots that didn’t get covered the first time.
Making an Actress Fly
One of the most memorable parts of the show occurs when Elphaba realizes her powers and appears to fly without the help of any harnesses or cables. The secret behind the trick is a hidden deck that the actress herself operates. When she steps into the device, she’s standing on a steel plate. The plate lifts off the ground and it looks like she’s flying. However, she’s completely safe and locked securely in place around her waist.
Performed Around the World
In a testament to just how popular this musical actually is, consider how quickly it has become a worldwide phenomenon. The show has performed in over 13 countries and 100 cities around the world. It’s also been translated into five languages: German, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, and Korean. Plus, along with nearly daily productions on Broadway, there’s also a tour hitting different cities across the United States and a production currently showing in London.
A Piece of History
“Wicked” holds such an important part of history that the broom and costume from Elphaba are on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Costume designer Susan Hilferty, who won a Tony for the creations, presented the pieces to the American Stories exhibit at the museum.
When you’re looking to turn a night out in London from magical to wickedly fun, you can’t go wrong when you check out “Wicked.”