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'Wicked' good: hit musical comes to Gammage


June 16, 2009

“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”

This question asked to Dorothy Gale in the “Wizard of Oz” begs a simple answer, but in the Broadway hit musical “Wicked,” there are no simple answers.

Coming this summer to ASU’s Gammage Auditorium, “Wicked” is the untold story of the two witches of Oz – before Dorothy arrives – and how they came to be known as the “Good Witch of the North” and the “Wicked Witch of the West,” and has ultimately revealed to audiences all over the world that rarely do people fit such simple terms.

The show will play at Gammage July 1-26.

Glinda, the future “Good Witch of the North,” is described as beautiful and popular, while Elphaba, the future “Wicked Witch of the West,” is described as “smart, fiery and misunderstood.” The two women struggle to navigate a friendship that is challenged by opposing viewpoints and divergent personalities – and, of course, a boy. 

“There’s lots of love circulating in this show,” says cast member Ben Liebert, who performs the role of Boq, the only munchkin to attend university, who becomes entangled in a bitter love triangle between the two witches.

Liepert joined the national Broadway tour in late 2008 after a nine-month international tour of “Grease,” which cast him as the nerdy Eugene.

“I play nerds,” says Liebert. “It seems to be a trend in my career.” The national tour of “Wicked” marks Liebert’s first major job in theater.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and script by writer Winnie Holzman of such acclaimed television programs as “My So-Called Life” and “thirtysomething,” “Wicked” has broken box office records around the world, won several Tony awards, and has been the darling of Broadway since 2003.

“The nice thing about this national tour is the quality of the show – it is spectacular,” says Liebert, who has enjoyed visiting and performing in a long roster of major metropolises scattered across the United States. “The set is amazing, the cast is superb, and the orchestra is fantastic. I’m very proud to be doing it.

“And everywhere we go, the towns are thrilled to have us. They are so excited to see the show.”

Liebert, who visited Arizona once when he was very young, is looking forward to his return to the Grand Canyon State and is excited to perform at Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium.

To view a complete listing of show times, or to buy tickets, visit the Web site www.asugammage.com.