How did the Mad Hatter get to be so mad? What was Dumbledore like in his 30s? Just what is Gaston’s deal, anyway? For every classic story, there are dozens of side characters whose own stories beg to be told. Every so often, though, audiences are lucky enough to be provided with one of them. The most prominent example of this is the musical Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, which shifts the lens of focus from Dorothy to Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West, and how they came to be. This alternate view of the world of Oz was first depicted in the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. The book was adapted into a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Pocahontas) and book by Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life).
The show was a hit upon opening on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre in October 2003. The original cast featured Idina Menzel, who has since become a superstar thanks to her vocal performance in Disney’s Frozen, and her Best Actress win was one of three Tony Awards that the show took home. Enthusiasm for Wicked has never waned since—Over 5,700 performances in, the show will pass Mamma Mia! in 2017 as the eighth-longest-running show in Broadway history. Long over a decade in, the show maintains its original spark today. “A return visit reveals that the producers have been careful, not to say monomaniacal, about replicating the experience they gave audiences in the opening months,” wrote New York Times critic Charles Isherwood after seeing the musical in 2014.