electing from the 38 speaking characters in gregory maguire’s (http://www.musicalschwartz.com/ wicked-maguire.htm) novel WickeD, the writers of WickeD, the musical, decided to focus their show on eight key characters, plus a few others and the ensemble.
(nickname elphie), the green girl who becomes the wicked witch of the west.
origins: She hails from Munchkinland. Quote: “I’m the other daughter, Elphaba. I’m beautifully tragic.” philosophy: “Nobody in all of Oz, no Wizard that there is or was, is ever gonna bring me down.” WickeD novelist Gregory Maguire invented the witch’s name “Elphaba” based on the name for the author of The Wizard of Oz. L. F(rank) B(aum). L-F-B = Elphaba. The first thing you notice about Elphaba is her skin colour – an unconventional shade of green. Somewhat stubborn, she is a strong character of high moral standing and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes is right and rise above any taunts she may receive. Elphaba is a naturally good judge of character and has a caring nature, revealed through her love of animals and the support she gives to her sister, Nessarose, a wheelchair user. She is a brilliant student with a rather exceptional gift for magic that she tries to hide. Although Elphaba is the eldest daughter of the Governor of Munchkinland, she knows that her green complexion will make it impossible for her to ever take over the role of Governor. That role will be reserved for her father’s favourite – her younger sister Nessarose. Elphaba’s origins are shrouded in mystery, but we do know that her mother received a strange visitor before she was born. At Shiz University, Elphaba was a brilliant student with magical gifts that she tried to hide. Because of her green skin, the students, including her roommate, Galinda, shunned her. Elphaba’s momentous meeting with The Wizard in the Emerald City set her on the fateful path whereby she became “wicked”. In both the novel and musical, Elphaba is the intense, broody, smart heroine who often carries a sense of burden of her oddness. In the musical we meet Elphaba for a moment as a baby and then as a teenager. She would like it if Ozians could accept her, setting aside their prejudice for her natural hue. Everything changes when she meets Galinda, Fiyero and The Wizard. In her transition during “Defying Gravity”, she expresses her new goal and role as someone striving to right the wrongs in Oz. Amanda harrison (on playing elphaba in the Australian production): “Elphaba is born with emerald green skin and so this poses many difficulties growing up. In her life she is faced with ridicule and scorn which causes her to be very sensitive about being green. She is fiercely intelligent and has a fire inside, qualities that she uses to protect herself. She knows a lot about the world and questions the way things are. This gets her into a lot of trouble when the Wizard asks her to do something she finds abhorrent. She is cast out of society and labelled ‘The Wicked Witch of the West’ by the authority of the land and so she is completely misunderstood. Glinda is the only friend she ever has, and through this friendship they both change for the better. Through Glinda, Elphaba learns how to love and be loved, and the value of trust and friendship. It’s very exciting to be playing an amazing, well rounded and exciting character such as Elphaba. The music is wonderfully challenging and completely inspiring.”
Amanda Harrison as Elphaba. Photo of Australian Production by Jeff Busby.
Nessarose! As you can see. we might as well get this over with: No. Nessarose. I’ve always been green.meeting elphaba for the first time: Galinda and all the other students covertly stare at Elphaba. to read an interview with idina menzel (original elphaba) about the character elphaba. no.
.musicalschwartz. go to www.htm
Photo of Australian Production by Jeff Busby. do I have something in my teeth? (puts her suitcase down) Alright. I didn’t eat grass as a child… (Elphaba’s Father wheels on a beautiful young woman in a wheelchair. and this is my younger sister. She decides to cut to the chase— eLPhaBa What? What are you all looking at? Oh.
faTher Elphaba! eLPhaBa Oh.com/recordings/menzel-interview. fine.)
Costume design by Susan Hilferty. she’s a perfectly normal colour. yes. I’m not seasick.
Galinda Upland of the Upper Uplands.” Beautiful.she leads the class in making rude remarks about Elphaba and is not afraid to use others to her advantage. Through her amazing friendship with Elphaba. she’s a bit of a snob and used to getting everything she wants. who unilaterally declared Elphaba to be “wicked”. She arrives at Shiz having never had to think much about where her actions might leave her or those around her.. later to become Glinda the Good. However.. Quote: “It’s good to see me. who always mispronounced it) joined forces with The Wizard and Madame Morrible. a blatantly self-centered young blonde. challenged Glinda’s good will. and I’m sure has been told this by all around her. Not always as sugary sweet as her appearance would suggest .wiCked ChArACters Cont. privileged and shallow lifestyle she is able to live and doesn’t yet understand true goodness. Ultimately.
. Glinda saw the truth about Elphaba. I also think it’s perhaps a subconcious thing as it is a time of change in the conciousness of Glinda. pretty and popular person she knows. apart from important social powers. popular and privileged. Photo of Australian Production by Jeff Busby.
the blonde who becomes “glinda the good” witch. She initially has a tendency to get carried away with the fun.
origins: Upper Uplands of Gillikan. She believes in good and people respond to her in a very strong way without her having to do much. Glinda is an extremely multi faceted and well written character. Glinda feels a strange sense of loathing toward Elphaba when she first meets her. she is beginning a journey of self discovery. has led a sheltered and lovely life where she is the most special. The musical’s writers juxtaposed the two women who were superficially “bad (or misfit)” and “good” but underneath. lUCy dUrACk (on playing galinda/glinda in the Australian production): “Galinda. were nearly the opposite. At Shiz University. the two eventually became friends… then enemies. She was the ideal of golden girlhood – perfectly dressed and poised – to which everyone else aspired. Both the novel and musical introduce Glinda as her younger self. frivilous.”
Lucy Durack as Glinda. Glinda does not. I think it’s important to remember that she is always trying to do good. she opens herself up to a lot more of what life has to offer. Glinda (who changed her name in deference to Doctor Dillamond. until Glinda evolves as a person. she just sometimes has a strange way of going about it. Gregory Maguire dissociated her from an archetypal “good” to make her a pretentious goodie goodie. She ignores her conscience and is swayed by temptation to join The Wizard’s administration and elevate her position in Oz. rooming with the artichoke-coloured and badtempered Elphaba. making her a constant joy to play as there is always something new to learn about her and I’m always kept happily challenged. I think partly due to jealousy of the attention Elphaba gets and also for the fact that Elphaba has real magical powers whilst. responsibility and what it really means to be good. Galinda couldn’t have had a happier upbringing in the Upper Uplands. isn’t it?” philosophy: “It’s all about popular. the good and the bad and she eventually harnesses her natural gift of popularity to take responsiblilty and really look after the citizens of Oz as best she can.
VarioUS faNaTiCS Is it really her? It is.com/recordings/chenoweth
Photo of Australian Production by Jeff Busby.musicalschwartz.
. Glindaaaaa! GLiNda It’s good to see me. go to www.meeting galinda for the first time: SoMeBodY iN The CroWd Look! It’s Glinda! Glinda. it’s her! Glinda! We love yeeew.
Costume design by Susan Hilferty. that was rhetorical. isn’t it? FAnAtiCs (shrieks) Yes! GLiNda No need to respond. descends from on high on a mechanical creation that spews soap bubbles as the Celebrants point and cheer. resplendent and beautiful in her white gown and tiara. (She smiles down at them)
to read an interview with kristin Chenoweth (original glinda) about the character glinda.
wings. seeing AN ENORMOUS HEAD. He is often heard to mutter “Kansas” under his breath. Photo of Australian Production by Jeff Busby.wiCked ChArACters Cont. on a jewelled encrusted throne.htm
.” Elevated with little qualification or experience to the revered position of ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. Calculating and manipulative.musicalschwartz.” elphaba meets the wizard for the first time: (Elphaba and Glinda walk down a hallway. Oz. Not a lot is known of The Wizard’s life before he came to Oz by hot-air balloon. he certainly made an impression.com/recordings/grey. He is a lovable wizard but there’s more to him than we’ve ever seen before. go to www. the character itself has many colours.) heAd I . and because of this.. WickeD is a different show with more light and shade. his politics might be more accurately described as ‘smoke and mirrors’. who look to him for security and hold him in higher regard than he deserves. Exploiting The Grimmerie and Elphaba’s magic powers. In WickeD. Chistery. The Wizard added showbiz panache to the Emerald City and started restricting Animal rights. The Great and Terrible.” philosophy: “Where I’m from we believe all sorts of things that aren’t true. MECHANISED SOUND.
Bert Newton as The Wizard.. and why do you seek me? heAd Oh.. is that you. and out from behind the head steps THE WIZARD. The Wizard craves admiration and glory. the Wizard has much more bi-play with Glinda and Elphaba.. Quote: “Everyone deserves a chance to fly. The Wizard came to Oz in a great balloon from another world. He stirs up fear amongst the citizens of Oz. Crossing paths with Elphaba was the beginning of The Wizard’s downfall. and that helps to define the character of the wizard much more than how he has been seen in previous productions.
Bert newton (on playing the wizard in the Australian production): “This is the third time I have played the Wizard – I played it twice in Wizard of Oz. We call it – history. to read more about Joel grey (the original wizard) and lyrics to the wizard’s songs.
origins: Unclear. but once here. Elphaba? I didn’t realise — AND WITH AN ODD. am . THE HEAD dissolves. Who are you. he tricked her into giving his monkey servant. They round a corner and stop dead in their tracks.
as with all the wonderful characters of Oz. of course. we first see her as a fairly pleasant. she is a manipulative person. Fiyero’s “Dancing Through Life” is all about cruising through life and not taking chances. Carol Kane who played Madame Morrible on Broadway. She teaches sorcery to Galinda and Elphaba. usually gets what he wants and can get away with anything. allowing him to realise what he truly wants in life. at Shiz University. A young “carefree” Millsy certainly can relate to the character. Fiyero brought his “scandalous” reputation for being a pleasure-loving playboy always getting booted out of schools. gliding where turf is smooth. skimming the surface. Fiyero gets serious and makes a risky decision. highly ambitious and seeking great power for herself and for The Wizard. bossy Headmistress. However. Morrible is terribly limited in her own magical powers. Madame Morrible is the Headmistress at Shiz University. In the musical. leading to her down fall. origins: Winkie Country. Quote: “I happen to be genuinely self-absorbed and deeply shallow.FIyero. in the beginning. Her misuse of power is her undoing. Morrible is the only classic villain in this musical tale.”
Maggie Kirkpatrick as Madame Morrible. When he came to Shiz University. Photo of Australian Production by Jeff Busby. She herself has limited powers but is desperate to find other people with powers that she can manipulate. when it comes to choosing between Glinda and Elphaba. So when Elphaba comes along with her extraordinary power. her talents in sorcery are rather limited. fellow student. bows at the end of a WickeD performance. Madame Morrible makes a startling career move when she becomes The Wizard’s press secretary. Part of Madame Morrible’s diabolical propagandising includes labelling Elphaba “wicked”. There. which. He’s had it easy in life. The Winkies inhabit one of the regions of Oz (as in Frank Baum’s original). She doesn’t influence the fate of the three witches in the musical in the same way as she does in the novel. As time passes. except for himself and having fun.”
Rob Mills as Fiyero.including myself. she abuses mightily. She changes from being a relatively pleasant person in the beginning to becoming quieter. although she recognises talent in others.” shiz University. the headmistress at
origins: Unknown – Madame Morrible’s origins are shrouded in lies and secrecy. his life is changed by an uneasy friendship with Elphaba. she’s an eccentric but likeable mother-figure to the students. never look foolish” epitomises his state of mind. stronger and not so much evil as highly manipulative of Glinda in the Second Act. On the surface he’s very shallow but Elphaba reveals a much deeper. a handsome prince. that’s about it and perhaps a few spells in the groomery. However. she is determined to harness it to use it for her own good or evil. Why think too hard when it’s so soothing dancing through life…” Fiyero is a handsome Winkie prince without a care in the world. Photo of Australian Production by Jeff Busby. Head of Sorcery. however he goes through a great character change throughout the show. She amasses great power.
and love interest. Life’s more painless for the brainless.
When we first meet her. Fiyero’s emotional change is one any young person can relate to . Morrible is not all that she seems. “Those who don’t try.
.” philosophy: “Dancing through life. She pursues her connections with Oz’s chief.
madame morrIBle. mAggie kirkpAtriCk (on playing madame morrible in the Australian production): “Playing Madame Morrible is probably one of the more complex roles in musical theatre where roles/characters tend to be one dimensional. Ultimately. she can control the weather but. roB mills (on playing Fiyero in the Australian production): “Fiyero is the young charming prince (as in most fairy tales).” philosophy: “Never apologise for talent! Talent is a gift! And that is my special talent. and we see him standing up for the things he believes in. then his reluctant alliance with The Wizard and tentative engagement to Glinda. so in that regard. encouraging talent. thoughtful side. developing greater maturity and finding out what is most important to you in life. Quote: “Weather is my specialty.
provide one of the significant links back to the original story of The Wizard of Oz.
doctor dIllamond. Doctor Dillamond is WickeD’s main Animal representative and its most passionate civil rights defender. As a favour for Galinda. for whom he would do anything.” He attends Shiz University.” The Wizard says ominously.”
. rodney doBson (on playing doctor dillamond in the Australian production): “Doctor Dillamond shares a passion for knowledge and truth with Elphaba.” In Gregory Maguire’s novel. in the first act he is a happy. and the parallel between Animal subjugation in Oz and the reality of human persecution is more pronounced. Photo of Australian Production by Jeff Busby. who has convinced Ozians that allowing Animals to talk and enjoy social equality is a national danger. easy-going. He is a passionate civil rights defender. to the Ozdust ballroom dance. it supplies Elphaba with her motivation to oppose The Wizard and it gives the fantasy world of Oz a gritty and thought-provoking new dimension.”
James Smith as Boq. Photo of Australian Production by Jeff Busby. Rodney Dobson as Doctor Dillamond.
Boq. Galinda barely knows he exists. Nessarose mistakenly thinks Boq is in love with her. this changes in the second act where he becomes bitter and angry and resentful. Boq has two sides. Quote: “Something bad is happening in Oz. origins: Doctor Dillamond is a goat. but he is an Animal – a sentient being not unlike you or I. Nessa ends up falling in love with him and enslaves him when she becomes the governor of Munchkinland...” philosophy: “Animals should be seen and not heard” – not. so she tries to set him up with Nessarose (Elphaba’s sister). Boq. Quote: “I know I’m just a mere Munchkin. friendly character. in WickeD. “is to give them a really good enemy. Doctor Dillamond occupies a position of authority as a respected historian at Shiz University.wiCked ChArACters Cont. and in WickeD. yet even he falls before the repressive policies of The Wizard who has convinced the people of Oz that allowing animals to talk and enjoy social equality is a national danger. even he falls before the repressive policies of The Wizard. he becomes oppressed by the powers that be and represents the oppressed in the modern world. an unusually tall munchkin with eyes only for galinda/glinda.
origins: Munchkinland. JAmes smith (on playing the Boq in the Australian production): “Boq is a quirky munchkin who is absolutely in love with Galinda. unfortunately for him. Yet. being able to play these two different emotions with the one character is both challenging and fun. For me. along with Fiyero and the lion cub. But even a Munchkin has feelings. Nessarose.” philosophy: “I lost my heart to Glinda the first time I saw her. this political tragedy is elaborated more fully. the Animal subplot is extremely important. and someone
elphaba befriends. However. she retains Boq as a manservant. His life is utterly changed when Elphaba comes back to visit. However. a professor at shiz University who is a talking goat. Boq escorts Elphaba’s wheelchair-bound sister. Unlike most of the other Animals represented in the production (an Antelope midwife. Socially ambitious Munchkins married into height. When Nessarose becomes the Governor of Munchkinland. triggers her journey to protect animal rights. “The best way to bring folks together. she doesn’t feel the same way. a Rat waiter and Monkey servants). Doctor Dillamond is a respected historian at Shiz University. where he falls hopelessly in love with Galinda. lovable.
” philosophy: “Alone and loveless here. Still. Her journey in WickeD is an extreme one. Nessa falls in love with the munchkin character Boq. Because her older sister. the witch’s invalid sister. Nessarose crosses paths with her sister. At school. Gregory Maguire named her after Virginia Woolf ’s sister Vanessa.
origins: Munchkinland. known as ‘Nessa’. By the time Nessa comes to understand that Boq is actually in love with Glinda. Just her and me – the Wicked Witch of the East! We deserve each other…” Nessarose Thropp is Elphaba’s sister.”
Penny McNamee as Nessarose. Elphaba. She is the “tragically beautiful” daughter of the Governor of Munchkinland. sweet girl constantly battling with sympathy for her sister and frustration at Elphaba’s embarrassing and extreme behaviour. who leads her to believe he also loves her. However. her mother chewed too many milk flowers to ensure a dermatologically correct second baby. her bitterness and rage overcomes her and she loses the two people she loves the most. now the Wicked Witch of the West. Photo of Australian Production by Jeff Busby. when she becomes the cruel and reclusive Governor of Munchkinland. beginning as a shy. penny mcnamee (on playing nessarose in the Australian production): “Nessarose is the wheelchair-bound younger sister of Elphaba. with just the girl in the mirror.nessarose. Unfortunately. Nessarose becomes convinced that Boq loves her because Galinda tells Boq to pay attention to her. She learns the power of The Grimmerie and becomes “The Wicked Witch of the East” who is killed when Dorothy’s house from Kansas falls on her. she soon learns that he is only trying to prove his loyalty and love to Glinda. Later in life. Nessarose was born with deformed legs. was born green. he gives her beautiful silver slippers when she goes to Shiz. Nessarose is her father’s favourite.
. Quote: “You (Elphaba) fly around Oz trying to rescue Animals you’ve never even met – and not once have you ever thought to use your power to rescue me.