Leeds falls under the spell of musical

Helen Woolf (Glinda) and Amy Ross (Elphaba) in Leeds. PIC: Tony Johnson
Helen Woolf (Glinda) and Amy Ross (Elphaba) in Leeds. PIC: Tony Johnson
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The city once again fell under the spell of Wicked as fans celebrated the return of the record-breaking touring production to Leeds Grand Theatre at a launch event.

Amy Ross, who plays Elphaba and Helen Woolfe, who stars as Glinda, performed live numbers from the show, and executive producer Michael McCabe recounted the show’s remarkable journey from Broadway to the West End and all over the world.

Excited fans, including school children from across the city, were given the opportunity to get up close with some of the stunning Tony Award-winning costumes and hear about the craftsmanship that goes into creating each individual piece.
Elphaba also posed for photos.

Michael McCabe said: “The city of Leeds was incredibly kind to us the last time we were here. We had a spectacular run at the beautiful Grand Theatre and it’s exciting to be back.”

Costume supervisor Margie Bailey said there were 1,800 costumes in the show comprising shoes, gloves, hats and tights.

She said: “Our quickest costume change is 48 seconds and that is from Glinda in her bubble to her little white suit.”

Wicked is one of the most celebrated and successful musicals of all time. It tells the untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between the blonde and popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl named Elphaba, who eventually fulfill their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.

Helen Woolfe, who was part of the original 2013 UK and Ireland tour, told the YEP that she was excited to return to Leeds.

Helen, whose favourite song is Defying Gravity and favourite costume is Glinda’s ‘bubble dress’, said: “I remember waiting for the curtain to go up and there being a real buzz from the audience. It will be nice to go through that again.”

Amy Ross, whose first professional job 10 years ago saw her perform in Leeds as part of the High School Musical tour, said she was also thrilled to return.
Amy, whose favourite song is No Good Deed and favourite costume is Elphaba’s ‘Wicked Witch of the West dress, said: “It will be lovely to re-visit the city.”

FACTFILE

The ruby slippers in Wicked are silver and not red.

This is due to the shoes being silver in the original story.

In the film starring Judy Garland, MGM shot the movie in technicolour and silver was seen as a waste of colour.

The name Elphaba comes from the initials of the author of The Wizard of Oz L. Frank Baum - LFB - so he can live on through the character in every performance.