Guides London West End Musicals

Everything you need to know about Wicked, the spell-binding London sensation


Everything you need to know about Wicked, the spell-binding London sensation

Fly into the Apollo Victoria and defy gravity with Wicked, a musical that has dazzled audiences for the last 12 years. With a hit score including “No Good Deed”, “Popular” and “Dancing Through Life”, the show has mesmerised over nine million audience members in London alone and is a cultural phenomenon.

Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre

What is Wicked?

Photo credit: Darren Bell

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked tells the story of how Elphaba and Glinda became the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch of the East. After being forced to dorm together at Shiz University, the pair become good friends, but nothing’s ever easy in the Land of Oz. Faced with friendship and relationship dilemmas, they quickly realise that staying true to yourself is the best way to get through a tricky situation.

Packed with flying monkeys and a dragon, you’ll be sure to fall under the alluring spell of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.

What’s the story?

Born with green skin, Elphaba’s always been a bit different. So when she starts at Shiz Academy, she doesn’t expect to be thrust into the spotlight by Glinda, her new roommate. Forming an unlikely friendship, they begin their journey to meet the Wizard of Oz, where Galinda ends up as the Wizard’s right-hand woman. Enter Fiyero, Glinda’s fiancé who suddenly begins to support Elphaba and an ongoing feud falls at the centre of everyone. A tale of envy, love and trust, Elphaba has to decide whether she’ll use her magic abilities for the right or wrong reasons. Wicked has entertained audiences across the globe as Elphaba plays the unexpected hero in a story where her life is a constant battle between good and evil.

What is the show based on?

Photo credit: Astrocoz (Flickr)

Wicked is based on the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. Taking the characters from the L. Frank Baum novel, the story tells readers how Elphaba dealt with being in Munchkinland, Gillikin and the Emerald City and meeting dark, mystic characters along the way. The story is the first in a four-part series, continuing L Frank Baum’s narrative of the Land of Oz. The three later books were published after the production opened on Broadway, with these books making references to the musical.

Who’s in the current West End cast of Wicked?

Nikki Bentley – Elphaba

Helen Woolf – Glinda

Alistair Brammer – Fiyero

Kim Ismay – Madame Morrible

Andy Hockley – The Wizard

Idriss Kargbo – Boq

Simeon Truby – Doctor Dillamond

Carina Gillespie – Nessarose

The cast is completed by:

Laura Pick (Standby for Elphaba) Lisa Anne-Wood (Standbys for Glinda), Chanelle Anthony, Meg Astin, Rebecca Botterill, Michael Colbourne, Lewis Easter, Nolan Edwards, Kerry Enright, Chris George, Rebecca Gilliland, Lucie Horsfall, Nicole Lupino, Maggie Lynne, Stuart Maciver, Carl Man, Rhidian Marc, Joanna Sawyer, Scott Sutcliffe, Genevieve Taylor, Grant Thresh, James Titchener, Libby Watts, Bryony Whitfield, Chad Wilder, Dickie Wood, Chiarina Woodall and Tom Woollaston.

Who has previously starred in Wicked?

Since the West End production opened, numerous people have starred in Wicked including Miriam Margolyes, Gina Beck, Adam Garcia, Kerry Ellis and Louise Dearman. Read our guide to our top 10 favourite Elphabas and decide who your favourite Elphaba is.

How many awards has it won?

Photo credit: Darren Bell

The West End production was nominated for four awards at the 2007 Olivier Awards, including best director, best costume design, best lighting design and best set design. Kerry Ellis won the award for best takeover in a role at the 2008 WhatsOnStage Awards for her performance as Elphaba, taking over the role from Idina Menzel. It’s still popular with audiences today, winning the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Audience Choice award at the 2015 Olivier Awards.

What songs are in Wicked?

Unusual facts about the show

Photo credit: Matt Crockett

The Wicked Witch was not named in The Wizard of Oz. Elphaba only got her name in the Gregory Maguire novel, inspired by the initials of L. Frank Baum. Taking this “L.F.B” became Elphaba

Elphaba’s costume and broomstick can be found at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. in the ‘American Stories’ exhibition.

There are multiple brooms, witches hats and wands backstage. They all have “stunt doubles” so that the more elaborate versions won’t get damaged.

Where can I see the show in London’s West End and how do I get there?

Wicked is playing at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, located on Wilton Road in London (SW1V 1LG). The closest train station is Victoria, serving the Circle, District and Victoria lines.

Does Wicked have an age restriction?

The show is recommended for audience members aged 7 and over. Children under 3 will not be allowed inside the venue.

What is the running time?

The production is 2 hours and 45 minutes, with a 20 minute interval. Arrive promptly, as latecomers will not be admitted until a designated point in the show, which is around 25 minutes into the production.

How long has it been running for?

The show has been running at the Apollo Victoria Theatre since 27th September 2006. Idina Menzel and Helen Dallimore led the original London cast as Elphaba and Glinda. On 9th August 2018, the production celebrated their 5000th show anniversary.