Spellbound by a Wicked tale

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Invercargill Musical Theatre president Fergus More and vice-president Bernadette Gourley check out some of the costumes for its upcoming musical – Wicked (The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz). Photo: Janette Gellatly

GRAB your brooms, Wicked is arriving on stage at the Civic Theatre.

Long before Dorothy arrived in Oz, there was another girl called Elphaba.

Born with emerald-green skin, this smart, fiery, misunderstood girl possessed an extraordinary talent.

When she met Glinda, a bubbly and popular blonde as sorcery students at Shiz University, their initial rivalry turned into the unlikeliest of friendships… until people decided to label one “good” and the other “wicked”.

This is the foundation story of the Witches of Oz before Dorothy flew in from Kansas, where the audience can meet Glinda – the Good Witch, and Elphaba – the Wicked Witch of the West, and gain an understanding of their complex relationship.

With spectacular costumes, sets, choreography and featuring hit songs, the long-awaited musical Wicked (The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz) will finally appear next month.

Presented by the Invercargill Musical Theatre (IMT), vice-president Bernadette Gourley said Wicked was the second-highest grossing show on Broadway and “IMT was extremely proud and excited to bring it to the Civic stage in Invercargill”.

“It is a fabulous opportunity for Southlanders to see this spectacular production with all the same production values as the professional productions of Wicked.”

Wicked has been performed nationally by amateur companies throughout the North Island, as well as Dunedin and Christchurch.

“Now, it is Invercargill’s turn.”

With music written by Grammy, Tony and Academy Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz, the IMT season will be directed by Doug Kamo with musical direction by Michael Buick and choreography by Emma Holloway.

Although most of the cast had been sourced locally, two had also been “imported”, Mrs Gourley said.

“We held exhausted auditions and are excited to welcome Rebekah Head, of Auckland, back to play Glinda, and Luke Butson, of Dunedin, to play Fiyero,” Elphaba’s love interest.

“We are so proud that the rest of the crew are locals.”

Playing Elphaba, Libby Frazer was an extremely talented local actor who had preformed in a number of IMT productions, and would be taking the limelight in this latest production, Mrs Gourley said.

IMT president Fergus More agreed, saying “Libby has really taken to the role”.

There would be a cast of 30 with eight backing vocalists, as well as a crew of about 80 including stage, sound, wardrobe, hair, makeup, lighting and props people, and a 17-piece live orchestra.

“It will sound incredible in the Civic Theatre,” Mrs Gourley said.

“People will have the opportunity of seeing a splendid show, and not even have to fly out of Invercargill.”

Wicked (The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz), Invercargill’s Civic Theatre, July 12-27, Tickets, Invercargill City Council booking office, www.TicketDirect.co.nz or www.TicketRocket.co.nz

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