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Wicked is Coming!

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Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee

Pretty sure that 2013 is the Year of Awesome Stuff for Auckland (official name is a work in progress.)


Coming up this month for three days only we have the National Theatre of Great Britain’s One Man Two Guvnors showing as part of the Auckland Arts festival. The world-renowned Babel, from Belgium, is also hitting this month. The critically acclaimed Slava's Snow Show will be arriving on our shores in July. War Horse is coming in August, and Wicked arrives in September.

That’s not to say we don’t have some amazing home-grown Awesome Stuff occurring as part of the Fringe Festival, Auckland Arts Festival, and the Comedy Festival – we also have plays courtesy of Silo Theatre, Auckland Theatre Company and the like slated that are sure to have a popular run (Auckland Theatre Company’s Chicago , for example.)

I’m excited to see the continued growth of arts culture in New Zealand in general and Auckland in particular. Thanks to the efforts of passionate Kiwis working tirelessly both to market us to overseas producers as a viable option to do a show run and then to pitch said shows to Aucklanders as a real option for entertainment of an evening, this means more and more amazing shows will hit our shores.

Mary Poppins’ warm welcome and resulting extended run last year showed that Kiwi audiences can and will take to big musical theatre.

Wicked’s arrival this year is highly anticipated by musical geeks like myself – but the storyline will certainly appeal to Kiwis of all stripes. It is based on the book by Gregory Maguire and is his version of the events that led to The Wicked Witch of the West and Good Witch of the North becoming the characters made famous in L. Frank Baum’s books - and the 1939 The Wizard of Oz movie.

The musical follows Glinda and Elphaba as they meet and become unlikely friends. The story’s themes of friendship, love and personal integrity, its costume and set design, and its songs (in particular anthem song Defying Gravity) have made it an international hit as well as a Drama Desk, Tony and Laurence Oliver Award winner.  It features many characters from The Wizard of Oz, (including the Cowardly Lion) but it’s definitely not The Wizard of Oz revisited – Wicked has a tone and style – and cult following all its own.

I’m looking forward to this being a smash hit in New Zealand, too!

View the trailer and join the waiting list for tickets here – it’s definitely not one to miss.

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