Get ready to defy gravity: this 'Wizard of Oz'-inspired blockbuster musical is sweeping into Brisbane.
Sarah Ward
Published on March 22, 2024


When 2023 arrived, it marked two decades since composer Stephen Schwartz and playwright Winnie Holzman took a book inspired by The Wizard of Oz, put it to music and turned it into one of Broadway's biggest hits of the 21st century. Now, before 2024 is out, this year will give Brisbane musical theatre fans their latest chance to see that very show right here at home — because Wicked is flying into the Queensland capital from Thursday, September 12.

Even if you haven't seen the stage blockbuster before, including on its past Aussie run from 2008–11, then you've likely heard of it. Following the Land of Oz's witches — telling their untold true tale is the musical's whole angle, in fact — Wicked has notched up more awards than you can fit in a hefty cauldron over the years. That includes three Tonys from ten nominations, a Grammy, an Olivier Award and six Drama Desk Awards.

Also huge: its worldwide footprint, playing in 16 countries around the globe since its 2003 debut. And, when it makes its way to QPAC's Lyric Theatre for its next stop on its current Aussie run, following its Sydney season and Melbourne season, it'll do so after enchanting itself into fourth place in the list of longest-running Broadway shows ever — even surpassing Cats.

Story-wise, Wicked starts before The Wizard of Oz and continues its narrative after Dorothy Gale lands, adapting Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. The text itself has sold 5.5-million copies, including five million since the musical first opened.

Here, before Dorothy blows in, two other women meet in the Land of Oz: Elphaba and Galinda. One will later be known as the Wicked Witch of the West, while the other will become Glinda the Good Witch. Exactly why that happens, and how, and the pair's relationship from rivals to unlikely friends to grappling with their new labels, fuels the show's tale.

Popping on your ruby slippers, clicking your heels three times and defying gravity at the Brisbane stage show means seeing Courtney Monsma in her debut lead role as Galinda/Glinda, Sheridan Adams as Elphaba, Robyn Nevin as Madame Morrible and Todd McKenney as the Wizard — plus Liam Head as Fiyero, Adam Murphy as Dr Dillamond, Shewit Belay as Nessarose and Kurtis Papadinis as Boq.

Wicked has been brought back to Australia by John Frost for Crossroads Live Australia, Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B Platt and David Stone — and is taking to the stage again before the two-part film adaptation starring Cynthia Erivo (Pinocchio) as Elphaba and Ariana Grande (Don't Look Up) as Galinda, and directed by Jon M Chu (In the Heights, Crazy Rich Asians), is due to start reaching cinemas from November 2024.

Images: Jeff Busby.


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