It's good to see Wicked, isn't it? The show has been incredibly popular, enjoying a seemingly unlimited run after first opening in the West End in 2006. But then something bad happened forcing the doors to close in March 2020. Nobody expected the doors to be closed for so long but then we do have a Government who don't give a toss toss.
On September 15th 2021, the doors to the Emerald City were reopened, nearly 18 months after the Apollo Victoria last had an audience in them and just one short day after the iconic show reopened on Broadway.
I was there tonight - in the front row, no less. As with my other first night posts, I'll talk about the wonderful experience as well as post photos and videos from the night:
So first of all let me tell you my history with Wicked. Now I am a sentimental man - I hold this show very dear to my heart. I was a bit of a late bloomer with theatre, only seeing a handful of shows in my youth. Wicked was one of the first shows I saw as an adult and I hold it responsible for me falling in love with musical theatre. To this date, it remains my most visited show ever - tonight being my 26th trip (25 in the West End, once on Broadway). While I don't call it my favourite show anymore, it is still up there in my top 5.
Entering the theatre felt like a safe experience with Covid passes being required and more face masks being worn than has been seen in other theatres. The foyer was still as beautiful as always - it's all green!
I was hoping for a lot of new merchandise sporting tjhe gorgeous XV logo they used on Broadway to celebrate its 15th anniversary. Sadly, the only new items are this XV Charm:
And this new "Together we're unlimited" face mask - though at £16 it's a tad pricey:
Here's the merchandise and price list:
Tonights cast list:
Walking in to the theatre, the sight of that dragon and gorgeous curtain never fails to take my breath away. What a beautiful sight! This theatre is always my favourite to enter and proves there really is no place like home.
As so much was filmed on the first Broadway night and the fact one of the cast members even told me to film it for the front row, i was tempted to capture Glinda's "It's good to see me, isn't it?" line but decided filming the loud applause before the curtain started was all I could do so my hands could clap for that amazing cast instead:
We all knew that iconic line was going to receive a massive reaction and it didn't disappoint. The audience were on their feet the moment Glinda descended in her bubble - Sophie Evans chose to utter the line during the extra loud applause meaning it was inaudible for the audience. While we had been challenged to beat the Broadway record of 2 minutes 53 seconds after that moment, sadly Sophie decided to utter her next line, forcing the audience to take their seats again.
We were all back on our feet moments later the second Laura Pick appeared on stage as Elphaba. Further standing ovations were given to 'Defying Gravity' and a particularly amazing 'No Good Deed'.
The whole show was pretty smooth - it almost felt like no time had passed at all. Though I'll be honest - last time I saw the show in February 2020, it felt a little bit stale, almost like "going through the motions" so if anything good came from the show pausing for 18 months, it reinvigorated it, bringing more life to the show.
Highlights tonight including Sophie Evans brilliant new "Toss, toss" complete with outstretched leg and a near-miss when she couldn't find Elphabas green bottle under her pillow forcing her to say the longest "Greeeeeeeeeeeeen... bottle" she's ever had to say.
The entire audience were on their feet before any cast members returned to the stage for the curtain call, ensuring every single member of that brilliant cast got the credit they deserved. Here are some pictures:
The curtain call included a speech from Michael McCabe who talked about the struggles of the show on the pandemic and the amazing cast
Here's the first part of his speech:
One highlight of the speech was when he talked about the amazing swings in the cast. Without prompting, the cast turned around, knelt down and applauded them - as seen here. What a stunning moment.
I also need to single out swing member Lewis Easter who began the show in the audience but was called on to stage suddenly when one of the cast members was unwell. Swings really are incredible and don't always get the credit they deserve.
What a special night. You could really tell how much the cast loved being back on that stage - and the full capacity audience had no hesitation showing how much them and the show meant to us all. There's nothing like being in a room with likeminded individuals to reaffirm just why you love musical theatre with all your heart. There really was an overwhelming sense of community tonight - he
With constant cheers and multiple standing ovations, this was a night to remember and made us all incredibly happy that Wicked was back for good. Thank goodness!