It seems everyone has an obsession with Wicked. During the last five years, the show as dominated Broadway as the most popular musical, with big city natives and tourists nationwide trying to snap up tickets. At least 10 people immediately come to my mind who know every single last word to “Defying Gravity” and who are not afraid to sing the song in public.
To celebrate the show’s five year mark this year, Stephen Schwartz, Wicked composer, and Kelly Ellis, the actress who plays Elphaba, made their way up to the very top of New York’s Empire State Building to turn the tower’s lights to green. You would feel like celebrating too if you were part of a gig as successful as this one. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that approximately 3.75 million people have seen Wicked since the muscial first opened in 2003- and that figure is for just New York.
In terms of how well merchandise for the show has sold, the recording done by the original cast not only won a Grammy award but has also sold almost two million copies. Then there is the CD package, mugs, t-shirts, hats, magnets and other types of sourvenirs that total $100 million in sales. It’s hard to think of a musical that has had as big a success as this one. Les Miserables? Rent? What the Wicked show has always going for it was the familiar storyline that theater audiences never grew tired of, outstanding vocal performances, and an interesting and captivating underdog. Then there’s the part of the plot where the dreamy guy goes after the plain girl instead of the wildly popular one- which is always a successful formula.
Whatever the reasons are, it certainly looks like Wicked’s fifth anniversary will not be its last.
All photos made available via creative commons licensing courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.