Favorite

'Witchy' women 

'Wicked' rides a buzz into Little Rock.

THE WOMEN OF 'WICKED': Natalie Daradich and Vicki Noon.
  • THE WOMEN OF 'WICKED': Natalie Daradich and Vicki Noon.

It's oh too easy — especially in this age of instant TMZ, Jackassery-type fame — to forget the first big celebrities in this country came from the stage. And it was the stage door not the security on the movie set that held back the average folk from the performers.

All this comes to mind when Celebrity Attractions brings to Little Rock a theatrical event on the magnitude of "Wicked," the musical that offers a different slant on "The Wizard of Oz." There is no question that the show by Steven Schwartz ("Godspell"), and Winnie Holzman (primarily a TV writer for shows such as "thirtysomething" and "The Wonder Years") is the most popular theatrical production in the United States.

Celebrity Attractions clearly anticipates a big demand for tickets. "Wicked" will be docked in Little Rock for two weeks for 16 performances; most Celebrity Attractions shows stay for two or three days. Performers in "Wicked" note the way fans aren't shy about demonstrating their affection for this sung tale focusing on the Wicked Witch of the West.

"All the time there are people showing up at stage door that have come in from other cities," says Chris Peluso, who takes on the role of Fiyero. "People fly from San Francisco and other places and they are seeing it again. The show has a very strong fan base. They really want to see every new person in the cast. They keep track of it."

While you can always count on a lag between the time a show becomes a hit on Broadway and eventually tours to Central Arkansas, "Wicked" has taken a while to arrive. The musical opened on Broadway in 2003 and though it was immediately panned by The New York Times, it's still running in New York and in various tours around the world.

Based on the 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, "Wicked" tells the story of the unlikely friendship between Glinda the Good Witch (played first on Broadway by Kristin Chenoweth) and Elphaba, the girl born with emerald green skin who eventually becomes the Wicked Witch of the West.

Certainly the characters of Glinda and Elphaba have garnered a lot of the attention, but "Wicked" is a big spectacle of a musical with a large cast and many special effects. Production notes from "Wicked" state that there's approximately 200 pounds of dry ice used per show and enough electricity to light up 18 houses.

Perhaps one shouldn't be surprised at the popularity of this new spin on "The Wizard of Oz." Celebrity Attractions recently brought in a touring production of the beloved American fantasy and the appetite for L. Frank Baum's tale doesn't seem to be slacking.

 "The closest [play as popular as 'Wicked'] I've been in is 'Mama Mia,' " says Peluso. "Even then, it's not near the reaction. Fans loved 'Mama Mia' for the music, but they don't really care for the story like they do in 'Wicked.' "

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Werner Trieschmann

  • 'Disfarmer': behind the camera

    The strange case of Arkansas photographer Disfarmer, subject of a new play opening this weekend.
    • Sep 25, 2014
  • Live Review: Eric Church and Dwight Yoakam at Verizon

    Apparently Dwight Yoakam’s acting career is sufficiently slack enough that Friday night saw him opening for bro-country kingpin Eric Church at Verizon Arena. Hollywood is taking Yoakam in small enough doses (he has a recurring part on CBS’s “Under the Dome”) that he can lend his considerable talents to country music, which currently can use any kind of flavor it can get.
    • Sep 15, 2014
  • Musical 'Shrek' succeeds, mostly

    If light family entertainment is your speed.
    • Nov 2, 2011
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Former state board of education chair Sam Ledbetter weighs in on Little Rock millage vote

    Ledbetter, the former state Board of Education chair who cast the decisive vote in 2015 to take over the LRSD, writes that Education Commissioner Johnny Key "has shown time and again that he is out of touch with our community and the needs of the district." However, Ledbetter supports the May 9 vote as a positive for the district's students and staff.

Latest in A&E Feature

  • Cool blue

    A Q&A with author Katie Kitamura.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Arkansans you should know

    Who have moved outside the state.
    • Apr 20, 2017
  • Big Room, big mission

    At Capitol View Studio.
    • Apr 13, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30  

Most Viewed

  • Alice Cooper at Robinson Center

    Also, Poetry on Pinnacle, SeanFresh, Fantastic Cinema & Craft Beer Festival, Sinkane, Etsyfest, Alexi Kenney, Monster Truck Jam and more
  • A shoot-'em-up

    Ben Wheatley's 'Free Fire' is not much more.
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation