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Wicked: From Broadway to Film

Ariana Grande wearing a glittery-black halter top and leather skirt and boots with kneeling on stage with a microphone in her hand Theater & Shows

Stephen Schwartz’s musical masterpiece, Wicked, will be hitting the big screens next year with a two-part film adaptation. The theater production debuted in 2003 and became an instant Broadway staple. Fans of this beloved musical will be thrilled when Wicked: Part One is released on Nov. 27, 2024. Wicked: Part Two is scheduled to be released in 2025. Discover more about the talented cast and crew bringing the Wicked film to life.

Who Is Involved With The Wicked Film Production? 

Crazy, Rich Asians’ director, Jon M. Chu, will be taking the reins on the development of this project. Chu, a famed director and producer, is well-suited for this position, especially his prior experience directing two musical drama films: Jem and the Holograms (2015) and Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights (2021). Joining Chu in the development of the Wicked films will be Schwartz as the composer and co-screenplay writer with his peer, Winnie Holzman. 

A Star-Studded Cast

With Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande as the lead roles, audiences can at least expect a great musical experience from the films. Erivo is an English actress and singer that has won a Grammy Award as well as nominations for two Oscars and a Primetime Emmy. Her Broadway career began in 2011, but Erivo would gain widespread acclaim and recognition in 2015 for her portrayal of Celie Johnson in The Color Purple revival. This role won Erivo the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Her performance as Elphaba is sure to stun audiences.

Cynthia Erivo Singing under a spotlight wearing a gold dress with a high collar

As the soon-to-be Wicked Witch’s rival, Glinda, Ariana Grande also has a theater background alongside her acting and music career. In 2008, Grande’s career began after debuting in Broadway’s 13 (2008). She was cast later in several Nickelodeon series before signing with Republic Records. Grande has received many accolades for her singing including two Grammys, nine MTV VMAs and broken more than 30 Guinness World Records. These achievements along with her popularity on social media and in pop culture make Grande an excellent choice to play Glinda. 

Jonathan Bailey (Bridgerton) is slated as the girls’ love interest, Fiyero Tigelaar, with Michelle Yeoh (Everything, Everywhere All At Once) as Shiz University’s headmistress, Miss Morrible. Other prominent celebrities making an appearance will be Bowen Yang (SNL), Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman) and the infamous Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard of Oz. 

Films vs. Musical: What Changes to Expect

Initially, there were thoughts of having Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel reprise their past roles of Elphaba and Glinda, but it was decided that new faces would better suit the film’s development. Another difference is Chu’s goal to have the film’s main focus be on the sister-like relationship between Elphaba and Glinda.

The production team decided early that it would do the Broadway classic injustice if certain characters and songs were cut so the decision was made to split Wicked the film into two parts. Another notable difference will be the addition of four new songs to the film’s soundtrack. One of these songs was cut from the musical, while the other three will be new compositions by Schwartz.  

Kristin Chenoweth smiling

The Broadway Classic 

When Wicked made its Broadway premiere in October 2003 at the Gershwin Theatre in New York. The musical starring Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel as Elphaba and Glinda, respectively, earned a mass critical reception. In 2004, the musical received and won three of its ten Tony Award nominations as well as seven Drama Desk Awards and in 2005 the Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.  

Spotlight is cast on the origins of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch. The story occurs both before and after Dorothy gets swept away to the land of Oz. Before these girls became notorious witches of Oz, they were simply Elphaba and Galinda, two friends-turned-rivals at school. Wicked follows how the duo interacted with each other, over a shared love interest and opposing personalities and views on Oz society. Audiences would experience Elphaba’s fall from grace and her journey to becoming, well, wicked. 

The musical has put on performances in more than 100 cities in nearly 20 different countries and in October 2019, surpassed Les Misérables to become the fifth longest-running production in Broadway history.

See Wicked In Theatres

While the film isn’t set to premiere just yet, relive the magic when you buy Wicked tickets from TicketSmarter. You can also check out these 2023 musicals that have made a splash in the theater scene.