‘Wicked’ celebrates 15 years of casting spells on Broadway-goers

The Broadway classic "Wicked" has continued its gravity-defying run to remain popular since it opened in 2003, and on Tuesday the show celebrates its 15th anniversary.

An extension of the timeless tale of "The Wizard of Oz," "Wicked" originally opened with Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, Idina Menzel as Elphaba and Norbert Leo Butz as Fiyero. Set in the wonderful land of Oz, the plot revolves around Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and her unlikely friendship with Glinda the Good Witch before the turbulent arrival of Dorothy Gale.

It is based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West," an alternative take on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," and later Victor Fleming’s 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz."

The sixth-longest running and the second-highest grossing Broadway show of all time, with 6,254 performances and counting as of Oct. 21,  "Wicked" was nominated for 10 Tonys, taking home three for best actress in a musical (Menzel), best scenic design and best costume design. It also earned six Drama Desk Awards and was nominated for 11. For theater-goers, the reason behind the show’s lasting popularity varies.

“I just like the steampunk kind of vibe to it when they had all the decorations,” said Kelly Iozowski, 32, outside the Gershwin Theatre. She traveled from Pennsylvania to see the Sunday matinee, her third time seeing "Wicked."

For those who have witnessed Tony Award-winner Menzel’s outstanding performance as the original Elphaba, their positive reception was almost unanimous.

“The singing and their voices were amazing,” said Sara Ismail, 23, of New Jersey, “Honestly I wasn’t expecting anything when I first saw it so I was in shock to see the backstory of it.”

After Menzel’s success in "Wicked," she would go on to provide the voice for Elsa in Disney’s hit animated musical fantasy film "Frozen" in 2013.

To mark this special occasion, "Wicked" has teamed up with vendors such as Baked by Melissa, the NBC Store, Ben & Jerry’s, Inglot and Schmackary’s to offer special edition items throughout the month of October. You can even order special "Wicked" Barbie dolls decked out like the main characters.

And even if you can’t make it to the theater to celebrate the anniversary, New Yorkers just need to look to the sky Tuesday night where the Empire State Building will be lit up in emerald in commemoration of "Wicked’s" milestone.