On January 22, 2014, Wednesday, Wicked in Manila will open at the Cultural Center of the Philippines' main theater.
Based on a novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked is the untold tale of the witches of Oz, a re-imagining of L. Frank Baum’s stories and characters in his book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the Land of Oz. One (born with emerald green skin) is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and popular.
Wicked tells the story of how these two unlikely friends grow to become Elpalba, the Wicked Witch of the West (played by Jemma Rix), and Glinda the Good (played by Suzie Mathers).
Featuring music by Academy Award winner Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin), Lisa Leguillo will direct this stage adaptation based on the original direction by Joe Mantello. The musical also features musical direction by David Young and musical staging by Wayne Cliento.
A few days before opening night, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and select members of the media were given a sneak peak at Wicked’s stage design at the CCP.
According to organizers, the set of Wicked in Manila is the exact replica of the Broadway production. More than 300 costumes will be used in the musical, which is expected to run until February 23 at the CCP Main Theater.
On hand to welcome and enlighten us regarding the stage design were Mr. Cameron Flint (technical director) and Ms. Bec Windsor (company manager). Work was still ongoing while we were conducting the interview and the banging of metal on metal somewhat drowned the voice of Cameron.
Even then, much could already be seen on stage, notably the Time Dragon which lies over the proscenium arch, said to have been named “Stacey” by the touring company. During the play, this mechanical Time Dragon will writhe, flail and breathe smoke out of its nostrils as it suddenly comes to life, roars and glares down at the audience from above. When the dragon’s eyes turn red, there will be “magic” happening on stage.
Meet Stacey, the Time Dragon
The musical’s set design team must have had a similar impression of Baum’s novel as they built the set—it is bold, dark and edgy. Complicated gear-works surround the scaffolding flanking the stage. The stage itself is an ever-changing hue of colors (much of it green, of course) of strong dark-light gradients, while the props and stage sets boast of sophisticated contraptions.
By and large, the set design is huge and has a machine or clockwork theme which probably alludes to notions of time and history, as well as the machinations of the bureaucracy.
The Philippine staging of Wicked is produced by Marc Platt, David Stone, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and John Frost.
For tickets (P7000, P5800, P4500, P2250 and P1750) for the upcoming production of Wicked in Manila, call Tel. No. 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph. For more information, visit www.wickedthemusical.com.ph.