'Wicked' celebrates 20th Broadway anniversary

The musical has played the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway since October 2023, and the creators and many former cast members attended the celebratory performance.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

Oh, what a celebration they had today! On October 30, Wicked played its 20th-anniversary Broadway performance at the Gershwin Theatre. The show now has more than 7,700 performances under its broom and, as of April 2023, is the fourth-longest-running show in Broadway history.

In attendance were Wicked composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz, book writer Winnie Holzman, and Gregory Maguire. He wrote the 1995 novel Wicked, the Wizard of Oz prequel about Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch), which inspired the musical.

"This is like a fever dream," Maguire told New York Theatre Guide. "It was like a fever dream 20 years ago when Idina Menzel [as Elphaba] finished her first big number, and the audience went crazy for her. And I thought, there's no repeating that — but here we are 20 years later. And I was wrong that night. There is repeating that, over and over again."

Since its Broadway opening on October 30, 2003, Wicked has played across the U.S. and on four other continents, broken box office records at theatres worldwide, and inspired an upcoming two-part movie musical adaptation. Numerous previous Wicked cast members from Broadway and the U.S. touring production also attended the 20th-anniversary performance, including original stars Menzel, who won a Tony for playing Elphaba, and Kristin Chenoweth, who was nominated for playing Glinda. They took the stage alongside Schwartz, Holzman, and the current Wicked cast after curtain call.

"Nights like this don't just happen, as we know — they are crafted and created and made possible by all of you," Holzman said, addressing the audience and onstage cast in her curtain call speech.

The current cast of Wicked features Alyssa Fox as Elphaba, McKenzie Kurtz as Glinda, Jordan Litz as Fiyero, Michele Pawk as Madame Morrible, John Dossett as The Wizard, Jake Pedersen as Boq, Kimber Elayne Sprawl as Nessarose, and original cast member William Youmans as Doctor Dillamond.

"I'd wanted to come back to Wicked for 18 years," Youmans told New York Theatre Guide. "When I took my final bow in July of 2005, I came out with a sign saying, 'I'll be back.' But it was wishful thinking [...] when I came back, it was the most wonderful moment of my entire professional life."

"I've been doing this show on and off for 13 years, so the buildup to this moment and this night has been unlike anything else I've ever experienced," said Fox. "Tonight felt like such a beginning."

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Photo credit: The 20th anniversary company of Wicked on Broadway. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

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