You can’t have Halloween without a good witch, and you don’t really have a good witch unless she’s truly wicked. NBC knows this and as part of the 15th anniversary celebration of Broadway’s Wicked, the network will be presenting A Very Wicked Halloween concert special on Monday, Oct. 29.
“Wicked is a blockbuster musical playing all over the world and still selling out night after night after 15 years on Broadway, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Emmy and Tony-winning producer Marc Platt and the entire Wicked team to celebrate the enduring success of this show,” said Doug Vaughan, Executive Vice President, Special Programs and Late Night, NBC Entertainment. “We’re especially excited to have Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth reunited along with big guest stars in front of an audience — in costume hopefully — to help us celebrate the Halloween season.”
As noted, A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway will reunite the show’s original stars Idina and Kristin — the original Elphaba and Glinda, respectively — who serve as hosts and will perform. Other expected performers will be Ariana Grande, Pentatonix, the current Broadway company of Wicked, and more.
With a score that includes the hits “Defying Gravity,” “Popular,” and “For Good,” Wicked makes a return visit to the Land of Oz, but from a different point of view. Set a long time before Dorothy Gale arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin, who is smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalty turns into the unlikeliest of friendships — until the world decides to call one “good” and the other one “wicked.”
Wicked is based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, adapted by writer Winnie Holzman and composer Stephen Schwartz. As Holzman expresses in this never-before-posted interview, her imagination was immediately captured by Maguire’s story.
“The excitement for me was being able to take a story that people feel they know so well and say to them, ‘There’s something about this story that you never thought about, and what if you thought about it from this angle?’” she enthused. “To me, that’s such a fascinating thing for a writer to be privileged to do. We strayed from the novel in many ways and kind of recreated the plot apart from the novel, but the premise of the novel is, ‘Here’s this well-known story, but I’m going to tell it to you from this perspective, and that’s going to change everything. I’m going to tell it to you from the perspective of the character that you think is the villain, and you’re going to see that you don’t even know what’s really a villain and what isn’t. You’re going to see you don’t know what the truth is and what goodness is, because what you’ve been told is goodness, might be a lie.'”
“That was a mind-expanding idea to me, and it also touched me so much, because it has something to do with re-examining somebody that you summed up, dismissed, and thought you knew everything about. I find that something I like to write about is looking at people that you might want to dismiss, but instead you decide to explore them. This was the perfect story for me to do that.
“Also,” closed Holzman, “there are very few things where you can go, ‘That should be a musical.’ Very often I’ll see something and say, ‘Why did they make that musical.’ As soon as Stephen expressed his vision that Wicked should be a musical, I saw how right he was.”
A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway will air on NBC on Oct. 29.