Broadway theatre is often considered the highest professional form of theatre in the United States. Broadway theatre, or a Broadway show, refers to a performance (usually a play or musical) staged in one of the thirty-nine larger professional theatres located in New York City, with 500 seats or more, that appeal to the mass audience. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway show is usually considered of the highest level of English language theatre.
One of the most popular directions of Broadway shows is a musical. Typically, off-Broadway and regional theaters tend to produce smaller and therefore less expensive musicals, and in recent times more and more development of new musicals has taken place outside of New York. Wicked, for example, first opened in San Francisco, and its creative team relied on the mostly mediocre reviews to assist them in retooling the show before it reached Broadway, where it ultimately became a healthy hit.
Broadway show Wicked is a musical that premiered on Broadway at the George Gershwin Theatre on October 30, 2003. New York Broadway show is touted as the untold story of the witches of Oz and is loosely based on the best selling novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. Wicked takes a revisionist look at an American icon of evil and discovers how the young Elphaba, a passionate, committed young woman from Oz becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. Her character is contrasted with that of her school roommate Glinda, who grows up to be the Good Witch.The musical features music and lyrics by Mr. Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman. With musical staging by Tony Award winner Wayne Cilento, Broadway show Wicked is directed by Tony winner Joe Mantello.
The original cast included Idina Menzel as Elphaba, Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, and Joel Grey as The Wizard. Business and popularity boomed due to very good word-of-mouth, and the box office was boosted when the show was nominated for ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical. (It subsequently lost that award, however, along with the Tony Awards for best score and best book, to another new musical of the season, Avenue Q). Menzel was named Best Actress in a Musical. The musical received two additional Tony Awards to Eugene Lee for scenic design and Susan Hilferty for costume design. The cast recording received a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.
Broadway show Wicked earned back its entire initial investment by December 21, 2004. The show had a $14 million capitalization. In its first year it grossed more than $56 million. The show, which is open-ended, has been playing to capacity crowds for almost every recent performance and grosses more than a million dollars every week. In the week ending January 1, 2006, it was announced that Broadway show Wicked had broken the record for the highest weekly box office gross in Broadway history, with $1,610,934; a record that was previously held by The Producers.
The show began its first national tour in early 2005 with extended runs in cities such as Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, and Boston. In New York this show ultimately became a healthy hit. In late June of 2005 a permanent production of Wicked, separate from the national tour, opened at Chicago's Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre with an open-ended run, which many consider to be a harbinger of things to come for Chicago theatre. Wicked is the first show in decades to run on a permanent basis simultaneously on Broadway and in Chicago's North Loop theatre district. In addition, another engagement is scheduled to open in London's West End theatre district in late September, 2006 where performances are provisionally planned to begin on the 27th.