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Rob Guest and the Wicked witches visiting NZ

Rob Guest and the Wicked witches visiting NZ next week

The winners of the three most sought after roles in the Australian theatre - Amanda Harrison, Lucy Durack and Rob Guest, the witches and Wizard from WICKED The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz - will fly in to Auckland next Tuesday, 1 April and Wednesday, 2 April to launch the hottest musical in the world.

WICKED has its Australian premiere at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre on 12 July.

Rehearsals begin in Melbourne on 19 May.

Amanda Harrison is Elphaba, the ‘Wicked’ Witch. Born with emerald-green skin, Elphaba is smart, fiery and misunderstood. She has a rough childhood and is an outcast from the beginning.

Lucy Durack is Glinda, the ‘Good’ Witch. Pretty, charming, entrancing, ambitious, perky, and vain, Lucy is very popular, but also vulnerable and sympathetic.

And Rob Guest is the Wizard the strong, but engaging charmer whose presence is so powerful in the wonderful world of Oz .

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WICKED is the untold story of the witches of Oz. Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. WICKED tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.

WICKED, with seven companies performing internationally, has grossed more than $800 million and been seen by more than 10 million people worldwide. Melbourne will be the fourth city outside North America to stage the musical.

The casting of the Principals of WICKED followed the most exhaustive auditions in Australian music theatre history, the musical’s Australian co-Producer John Frost, said. More than 1700 performers auditioned in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.

Speaking on stage at Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre, where WICKED is setting new box office records, he announced casting for the Australian production and said: ‘Amanda Harrison will be delicious as the green- hued Elphaba. No one in music theatre in Australia can give a role edge and attitude like Amanda. She was the spitfire wild child Oz, sexy and vulnerable in We Will Rock You and in the original London cast, in the West End, she played the Teen Queen, Madonna.

‘So she can act, but she also has a powerful voice with a great range, and the ability to emotionally move an audience. The two don’t always go together.’ As Betty Schaefer Amanda starred alongside Hugh Jackman in Sunset Boulevard. She was Liza Minelli with Todd McKenney in The Boy From Oz, and Ellen in the 2007 Sydney production of Cameron Mackintosh’s Miss Saigon.

Lucy Durack ‘is Australia’s fastest rising music theatre star,’ John Frost says. ‘Australian television viewers know Lucy as the lead, Cassie Bennett, in Channel 7’s Headland, but to theatre audiences she’s racked up a remarkable series of principal roles. Lucy is beautiful, of course, and that’s what the role calls for, but like Amanda she also has a stunning voice - the prerequisite for this role.

Rob Guest, for almost two decades one of the foremost stars in music theatre in New Zealand and Australia, has the plum role of the Wizard.

‘Rob is, of course, one of the greats of New Zealand entertainment,’ John Frost said. ‘And in Australia, too, first as Valjean in Les Miserables, and then as the Phantom on The Phantom of the Opera, he is a household name. ‘Rob has “star” stamped all over him and he will be a warm, sweet and enchanting Wizard.’ In Australia, WICKED The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz set new box office records when, in just three hours the musical took more than $2.3 million in advance bookings.

Group bookers rushed to buy 24,750 tickets – a record for Australian music theatre.

John Frost said the advance sales beat the previous record holder, his own production of The Phantom of the Opera, by almost 15 per cent.

‘But I can’t say the advance sales came as a huge shock. Wherever it opens WICKED smashes box office records. At the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway alone it holds $40 million in advance bookings: an unheard of figure of a show that is now into its fifth year.’ WICKED opened at the Gershwin Theatre in October 2003, regularly grosses more than $US 1.4 million a week and is already, says the New York Times, ‘one of the most successful shows in Broadway history.’ More than five million have seen the show in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and on tour in North America. Combined box office sales top $US 700 million in North America alone.

The smash-hit musical with (music and lyrics) by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, Academy Award-winner for Pocahontas and The Prince of Egypt)and book by Winnie Holzman (‘My So Called Life,’ ‘Once And Again’ and ‘thirtysomething’) is Produced by Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B Platt and David Stone.

For information on WICKED travel packages call Qantas on 0800 767 400 or contact your travel agent.


ENDS

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