12 Facts About Wicked to Celebrate Its Return to El Paso
In celebration of Wicked the Musical returning to El Paso, we thought we would share 12 interesting fun facts about Wicked, including what type of makeup they use to how much money the musical has grossed worldwide.
Wicked has been translated into five languages: Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish and Korean with eight productions around the world besides Broadway: London, Tokyo, Auckland, Seoul and Mexico City, plus a U.K. Tour and two concurrent North American National Tours.
Since it’s opening in 2003 – 2014, Wicked has grossed $845 million on Broadway.
Elphaba is not the original name of the Wicked Witch in the original L. Frank Baum novel. The author, Gregory Maguire who wrote Wicked invented the name for her using Baum’s initials, L.F.B., creating her name to be Elphaba.
Composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz first learned of Wicked while on vacation when a friend was reading Gregory Maguire’s novel. He loved the story line so much that he called his lawyer immediately to obtain the rights to bring the story to life on stage.
The author of Wicked, Gregory Maguire had already signed over the rights to Universal for a live-action feature until Stephen Schwartz stepped in and convinced all parties that his stage version would be best way to bring the story to life, and Universal signed on as joint producer of the stage adaptation. Most recently Universal is back in talks with Maguire to bring Wicked to the big sceen.
When Idina Menzel auditioned originally for the role of Elphaba, her voice cracked when singing the main number “Defying Gravity” that she ended up cursing out loud and walked away in tears thinking she had blown the audition, when in fact it was what clinched the role for her and won her the part.
The makeup used in creating Elphaba’s makeup does not rub off and is in fact MAC makeup and makeup artist use large brushes to cover large body parts and then use little brushes to fill in the gaps.
Wicked uses 90 wigs, with 70 of them being used during any given show and all are made of human hair, and are custom made individually for each actor, using their own hairline in the front.
Initial reviews of Wicked upon its opening back in 2003 in San Francisco were less than stellar. The New York Times wrote: “Wicked does not, alas, speak hopefully for the future of the Broadway musical,” while The New Yorker said: “Not one of [the songs] is memorable”.
The dragon’s eyes in Wicked are red LED bulbs that never burn out and its wingspan is the same as a Cessna 172.
The elaborate costumes in Wicked are very impressive – there are 179 different types and finishes of leather used in shoes, gloves, and hats.
Today Wicked souvenirs include t-shirts, posters, mugs and even key chains, but once upon a time fans could purchase two different perfumes developed exclusively for the musical. “Popular” was a sweet floral scent of sugar based scent made with notes of wild orchid, cassis, orange blossoms, and nectarines. While “Defy Gravity” was a spicier mix of fragrance notes of cedar, jasmine, plum, amber, cardamom, and patchouli leaves mixed with hints of vanilla and citrus. These fragrances are no longer offered.