Witches jump on brooms for Sydney

Wicked has played its last performance at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre, with the mammoth task of moving the show to Sydney now underway.


The musical, which stars Amanda Harrison as Elphaba and Lucy Durack as Glinda, has proved a mammoth success in Melbourne, where it opened in spectacular fashion last July.

Producers are hoping Sydney accepts the show just as well as Melbourne did. In the Victorian capital, the show was very much treated as a tourist attraction and had major support from the Victorian Government.

Wicked, which won the 2009 Helpmann Award for Best Musical recently, is the untold story of the witches of Oz. You may have loved The Wizard Of Oz, but what was the story behind the witches’ lives?Wicked reveals all in a two-and-a-half hour spectacle that has won rave reviews right around the world.

Wicked comes with all the blockbuster bells and whistles, certainly, but aside from its spectacle, wonderful lyrics and score, its wit and warmth, Wicked also touches other, unexpected, and intriguing emotions,” said co-producer John Frost.

“This show brings in people who’ve never seen a musical; people who never thought they would go inside a theatre. They all spread the Wicked word. This is a show that grows by word of mouth in a way and to a degree unlike any I know.”

After somewhat of a drought, Sydney is now hotting up when it comes to musical theatre with not only Wicked‘s arrival but the fun, hit production of Avenue Q also heading to town this week, with an opening at the Theatre Royal on Wednesday night. Mamma Mia! is the next big project heading to Sydney, with performances to commence at the Lyric Theatre in October.

Wicked will be a true indicator of Sydney’s commitment to musicals because, quite simply, shows don’t get much bigger. The only problem it could face is the fact that the Melbourne season featured a strong ticket base from interstate fans, suggesting many Sydney-siders may have already seen the show while in Melbourne.

Either way, Frost is confident of success at the Capitol.

Wicked  is unique,” he said.

“It’s a phenomenon, quite unlike any other musical.”

The show has not been as heavily marketed in Sydney as it was in Melbourne but there is still a strong campaign behind it, particularly on radio where Sydney’s leading station 2GB has been heavily promoting the show.

The show did well at the recent Helpmann Awards, but the concept’s lack of connection with the general public means the victory – including the top honour of Best Musical – probably didn’t do much for ticket sales.

The Sydney season commences September 5 at the Capitol Theatre with previews, ahead of a September 12 opening night.

The season at the Capitol is expected to run for at least six months. It is understood there are no plans to tour the show, though Frost hinted at the Helpmann Awards that additional seasons are not out of the question.

Bookings: www.showbiz.com.au.

Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com'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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