Broadway blockbuster musical Wicked received its UK premiere last night (27 September 2006, previews from 7 September) in grand style at the West End’s Apollo Victoria theatre, where, rather than the usual red carpet, a special green carpet was rolled out for the star-studded first night audience (See News, 16 Dec 2005).

Wicked tells the “untold story” of the Witches of Oz - popular blonde Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, and her spin-victim friend Elphaba, the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West – who were both immortalised in the 1939 film classic The Wizard of Oz. The show has a book by Winnie Holzman, based on Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.

American Idina Menzel makes her West End debut reprising her Tony Award-winning Broadway performance as Elphaba, while Australian Helen Dallimore plays “good witch” Glinda. Adam Garcia (Fiyero), Nigel Planer (The Wizard), Miriam Margolyes (Madame Morrible), James Gillan (Boq) and Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose) also star. The London production reunites the New York creative team, led by director Joe Mantello and designer Eugene Lee.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE WICKED 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer was on hand at the theatre for arrivals and the curtain call and at the grand post-show party at the Royal Courts of Justice. First night celebrity guests included How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?’s Helena Blackman, Tonya Pinkins, Ben Chaplin, Megan Dodds, Alan Cumming, Nicola Hughes, Rhashan Stone, Bonnie Langford, Christopher Biggins, Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter, Arlene Phillips, Patricia Hodge, Lee Hall, Nicola Stephenson, New Zealander singer Hayley Westenra, Imogen Lloyd Webber, Leon Cooke and the three original Billy Elliot stars Liam Mower, James Lomas and George Maguire.

- by Terri Paddock