It’s been a Wicked ride – one more day in the Emerald City

wicked popular Jemma Rix and Suzie Mathers
Jemma Rix and Suzie Mathers as Elphaba and Glinda in the original Singapore cast of Wicked. Image by Andrew Ritchie

The Australian cast of Wicked are preparing for one more short day in Oz this afternoon after more than four years of shows across Australia, Singapore and Korea.

Opening at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre on July 12, 2008 the show starred Lucy Durack as Glinda and Amanda Harrison as Elphaba with Rob Guest, Penny McNamee, Rob Mills, Anthony Callea, Rodney Dobson and Maggie Kirkpatrick as supporting principles.

The show has had several cast changes over its 3 year run in Australia and played seasons in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth and is now lead by Jemma Rix and Suzie Mathers in the leading roles of Elphaba and Glinda.

Tragedy struck the company when Australian musical theatre icon Rob Guest (The Wizard) suddenly passed away on 2 October 2008. Bert Newton was brought in as Guest’s replacement.

After playing in Sydney for more than 12 months, (closing on 26 September 2010) the show moved to Brisbane just prior to the devastating floods which swept through QLD and northern NSW in early 2011. Lucy Durack told earlier in the year about the emergency evacuation rom the QPAC building, Brisbane, hours before their first preview:

“We were in the middle of a technical rehearsal in the QPAC building, which is on the river,” Durack recalls. (read full article here)

The show was postponed until the theatre was safe for cast and crew to return to work, and was eventually seen by over 155, 000 patrons in Brisbane over 10 weeks.

During the Adelaide season, the cast and crew celebrated Wicked’s 1000th performance in Australia. The show played at the Festival Centre from 14 April 2011 – 4 June 2011.

Wicked’s final Australian season was in Perth, closing on 11 September 2011 having been seen by 1.5 million people.

Wicked’s Asian tour commenced in Singapore in December last year, detailed by our very own correspondent, Chris Scalzo in his exclusive blog Life upon the WICKED stage.

In South Korea, Wicked broke records in ticket sales, including selling 150, 000 seats in the first fifty days of it’s season in Seoul.

The closing company includes four original Wicked cast members who have remained with the show for every season in Australia and abroad – Dance Captains Emma Delmenico and Ryan Sheppard, Jemma Rix and James D. Smith (Boq), all performing over 1400 shows.

Producer John Frost told AussieTheatre in an interview last year that while nothing is confirmed at this stage, he has plans to bring the show back to Australia after a season in New Zealand. No dates have been announced at this stage.

Fantastical Facts: 

  • Wicked took more than $2.3 million in advance bookings in just 3 hours when it was launched in Melbourne in February 2008. A record for Australian musical theatre.
  • Wicked broke the Melbourne box office record taking a phenomenal $1.5 million in ticket sales in just one day after it opened in $1.5 million in ticket sales in just one day after it opened in Melbourne on 12 July 2008.
  • Seven days after its Australian premiere, Wicked took a box office gross of $1,691,529 for the eight performance week – a Melbourne record.
  • Wicked secured an economic impact of 126 million for the Victorian economy during its 13 month season in Melbourne, making it arguably the most successful musical ever staged in Melbourne.
  • In October 2009 Wicked smashed the box office record at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre grossing $1,473,775.70 in one week.
  • On Tuesday 11 May 2010 the 1 millionth ticket to the Australian production of Wickedwas purchased. Australia’s population is only just over 22 million.
  • Glinda has flown in her bubble over 4000 times since opening in Melbourne.

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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