`Wicked’ witches head west, Taylor Hicks follows

Sep 15

Wicked, the hit musical positively rolling in green, had its world premiere at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre before heading to Broadway ‘s Gershwin Theatre, where it has broken the house record 18 times and regularly grosses more than $1.4 million each week.

Now one of the most successful shows in Broadway history (3.6 million people have seen it on Broadway alone since 2003, and all told, the Broadway production and its four North American companies have grossed nearly $950 million), Wicked is coming back to where it all started.

“There’s no place like home,” as Dorothy Gale learned at the end of The Wizard of Oz, the inspiration for Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked, which in turn inspired composer Stephen Schwartz to create the musical.

SHN/Best of Broadway celebrates the Wicked homecoming with a giant party in San Francisco’s Union Square from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26, which also happens to be the day tickets go on sale for Wicked‘s run at the Orpheum Theatre beginning in January 2009 (tickets are $30-$99).

The party will feature cast members (currently at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles) and a whole lot of fans participating in trivia contests , karaoke contests, CD giveaways and “magical makeovers” (which must involve, as Elphaba the witch might put it, a degree of verdigris, meaning green faces). The free bash is hosted by Don Bleu from Star Radio and Jessica Aguirre from NBC TV.

In other SHN/Best of Broadway news, it was announced today that “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks, now playing the Teen Angel on Broadway in the revival of Grease, will reprise that role when the show goes on the road and heads into the Golden Gate Theatre next March.

This is the production used a reality show, “Grease: You’re the One That I Want,” to cast its leads and marks the first Broadway production of the show to incorporate songs from the 1978 movie, “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “Sandy,” “Grease” and “You’re the One That I Want.” (and p.s., shouldn’t it be “You’re the One WHOM I Want?” Just asking).

Visit www.shnsf.com for more information on both Wicked and Grease.

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