On behalf of his co-producers Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone, John Frost for Crossroads Live have announced the talented lead cast in the Broadway Blockbuster musical WICKED, which flies into Australia’s Emerald City at the Sydney Lyric from 25 August.
Playing the role of the conniving and manipulative Madame Morrible will be Australian theatre icon and multi-award winning actress Robyn Nevin. Robyn has played leading roles for all of Australia’s major theatre companies, in London’s West End and in the US, as well as countless roles on screen. For the musical theatre stage, she played Mrs Higgins in the Australian tour of My Fair Lady, directed by Julie Andrews.
Theatre and television favourite Todd McKenney will play the Wizard. Todd’s first professional musical role was in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance, and he has since gone on to play lead and headline roles in more than 20 musicals, most notably the role of Peter Allen in the Australian hit production The Boy From Oz, in which he performed over 1000 shows nationally. This year, Todd celebrates 40 years as a professional entertainer.
Rising star Liam Head will play Fiyero, the handsome and seemingly shallow Winky Prince. A graduate of Queensland Conservatorium, Liam made his professional debut playing the role of Nick Healy in the Australian premiere of Jagged Little Pill, then followed up with a featured role in Singin’ in the Rain at QPAC. Most recently Liam played the role of Take That band member Howard Donald in the Robbie Williams’ biopic Better Man.
Presently playing Major Metcalf in the Australian tour of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, Adam Murphy has been cast in the role of Dr Dillamond, a teacher of life sciences and a philosopher at Shiz University, and a goat. Adam’s long and distinguished career includes dozens of plays and musicals in Australia and New Zealand, most notably in Mary Poppins, Dirty Dancing, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Shakespeare in Love, MTC’s Fun Home and the role of Jafar in Disney’s Aladdin.
Shewit Belay, currently making her professional musical theatre debut understudying the three lead female roles in Hamilton, will play Elphaba’s sister Nessarose, her father’s favourite daughter. Shewit also performed The Classics of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Der Israeliten in der Wüste with the Argyle Orchestra, Hobart.
As the naïve, insecure and lovable munchkin Boq will be Kurtis Papadinis in his professional adult debut. Kurtis made his stage debut as a child in The Production Company’s Mame, then played Michael Banks in the 2010 and 2012 tours of Mary Poppins, and the role of Gustave in the Australian premiere of Love Never Dies.
These stellar performers join the already announced Courtney Monsma as Glinda, the bubbly, popular girl who becomes “Glinda the Good”, and Sheridan Adams as Elphaba, the girl born with emerald-green skin who grows up to become the “Wicked Witch of the West”.
The producers are thrilled to have been able to cast such a “thrillifying” line-up. “From over 2,000 applications when the casting call went out, we auditioned over 1,000 of Australia’s top performers and are so excited with the calibre and talent of our lead cast,” said John Frost.
“Robyn, Todd and Adam have proved over and over again that they are incredibly gifted actors and audience favourites. Liam is fast becoming one of Australia’s leading young men on stage, and he will make a tremendous Fiyero.”
“Shewit and Kurtis, both at the beginning of their professional careers, blew us away at their auditions and we have no doubt they will become huge stars on stage and screen.”
“WICKED is loved by Australia, and we have no doubt audiences will embrace our electrifying new leading ladies and stellar cast. There is a reason WICKED has become one of the most loved musicals of all time, with its strong characters and story, soaring melodies and stunning sets and costumes.”
“We can’t wait for it to open in Sydney in August, for Australia to fall in love with the show all over again,” said Mr Frost.
Almost 20 years since its premiere on Broadway, WICKED remains one of the most successful and popular musicals in the world. Winner of over 100 major awards including the Grammy Award, the Olivier Award, six Helpmann Awards, three Tony Awards® and six Drama Desk Awards, WICKED is “A Complete Triumph! An original musical that will make you laugh, cry and think” (USA Today).
The musical has played in 16 countries around the world including Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, The Philippines, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, and has been translated into six languages. WICKED is now the 4th longest running show in Broadway history (surpassing CATS).
The novel Wicked by Gregory Maguire, published in 1995, has sold 5.5 million copies, with 5 million of those sold since 2003 when the musical opened. Buoyed by the musical’s success, the novel has appeared on bestseller lists for close to two decades since its initial publication.
Long before Dorothy dropped in, two other young women meet in the land of Oz. One born with emerald-green skin is smart, fiery, misunderstood and possessing an extraordinary talent. The other is bubbly, blonde, ambitious and exceptionally popular. They become rivals, then friends… until the world decides to call one “good” and the other one “wicked.”
Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, WICKED has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Winnie Holzman. The production features musical staging by Wayne Cilento with original direction by Joe Mantello.
WICKED is produced by in Australia by John Frost for Crossroads Live Australia, Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone, and is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
Experience the unforgettable, award-winning musical WICKED in Sydney this year. New tickets for additional performances go on sale this week.
Sydney Lyric Theatre – The Star, 55 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont (Sydney)
Season commences from 25 August 2023
For more information, visit: www.wickedthemusical.com.au for details.
Image: Liam Head, Robyn Nevin, Kurtis Papadinis, Shewit Belay, Todd McKenney and Adam Murphy to star in WICKED – photo by Hugh Stewart