The cast of A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years On Broadway. Photo credit: Eric Liebowitz/NBC
It was good to see them, wasn't it?
For fans of Wicked The Musical, just the chance to see the two iconic original stars, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, onstage together again was worth the price of tuning in.
Wicked, which opened October 30th, 2003, is in the midst of celebrating an enormous Broadway milestone: fifteen years on the Great White Way. With a highly publicized primetime special that aired Monday night on NBC called, A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years On Broadway, both home viewers, and the taped event’s live audience were treated not only to performances and appearances by some of their favorite witches and citizens of Oz but a number of A-list celebrities, too.
The televised special, hosted by Menzel and Chenoweth, featured performances by the two original stars, anecdotes of some of their favorite backstage moments, and a chance for fans to reminisce.
The home audience was also treated to trivia and facts about what keeps the “green machine” up and running eight times a week, and some of the fascinating and epic history surrounding Wicked’s fifteen years on Broadway.
Menzel, who won the 2004 TONY® Award for Best Lead Actress In A Musical for her work creating the role of, Elphaba, sang a newly arranged version of her signature song, “Defying Gravity”.
Chenoweth, who originated the role of Glinda and won the TONY® Award for her performance as Sally in the 1992 revival of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, performed a version of her well-known song, “Popular”. Many in the live studio audience seemed to be filming the performance on cellphone cameras, and Chenoweth, who appeared to indulge them, even snapped a selfie with a young fan and invited another up on-stage.
Pop A-Listers Ariana Grande, Adam Lambert, and Pentatonix also all dropped by to the celebrate the festivities.
Ariana Grande, who made her Broadway debut back in 2008 in the original production of Jason Robert Brown’s 13, performed the iconic song, “The Wizard And I”.
Adam Lambert who, before his pop-star-turning stint on American Idol in 2009, understudied the role of Fiyero in the musical’s first national tour, showed up to sing the second act love duet, “As Long As You’re Mine” with jazz and pop sensation, Ledisi.
The Grammy® award-winning a cappella vocal-band, Pentatonix —whose very own Kirstin Maldonado recently finished up a short run on Broadway in Kinky Boots— performed a version of the immediately recognizable favorite, “What Is This Feeling?”
Original Wicked choreographer Wayne Cilento, who won the 1993 TONY® Award for Best Choreography for his work on The Who’s Tommy, was given a shout out by Menzel and Chenoweth when the current Broadway company performed “One Short Day” from the Gershwin’s stage.
The final performance of the special featured a touching number in which many of the women who have played the roles of Elphaba and Glinda over the years came together to sing the musical’s finale number, “For Good”.
Three-time Grammy® Award, three-time Academy Award, and six-time TONY® Award-winning composer, Stephan Schwartz also made an appearance at the end of the special, joining Menzel, Chenoweth, and the rest of the reunion of witches onstage.
Wicked continues to defy gravity, and box office records to this day. The musical is currently running on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre, has a US national touring company, a West End company, and numerous international companies.
For more on Wicked and the 15th-anniversary celebrations, visit the musical’s website here.
Michael Mahany is a writer, host, actor, and serves as the New York City Correspondent for Dance Network. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. *Fun Fact: Michael also appeared in the first national touring company of Wicked!