"Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But, because I knew you, I have been changed for good."
Most of you are already singing along. If not, that's a line from the hit musical "Wicked," which flies into Salt Lake City's Capitol Theatre in April.
During a sneak peek of the upcoming tour this past Tuesday, there weren't many dry eyes in the house; pretty amazing considering the ladies singing were just in street clothes and there was no set-up for the song.
Just the song which had plenty in the small gathering digging for tissues.
Broadway in Utah, producer David Stone and a video message from composer Stephen Schwartz introduced us to a musical that, frankly, needs no introduction.
But, just so no one is left out ... it's the story of what happened before Dorothy dropped in the prequel, if you will, to "The Wizard of Oz." The background of Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West, known in this musical as Elphaba. (If you're catching up, Elphaba is a derivative of L. Frank Baum, author of "The Wizard of Oz.")
With a couple of video montages in between, Stone talked about the amazing success of the musical, shared some e-mails from fans, answered questions and assured the crowd that the production values enjoyed on Broadway are present in the tour.
After an oddly placed statement encouraging us to do "everything we can" to see that Salt Lake gets a new theater, there were some really interesting facts presented.
Salt Lake City is, roughly, a No. 35 market. Meaning we're about the 35th biggest city somewhere below Portland and San Antonio but above Las Vegas and Orlando. But when it comes to purchasing the "Wicked" soundtrack, we're No. 7, beating out Atlanta, Boston and other big cities.
Capitol Theatre has already sold a record number of tickets to the show.
The musical took the creative staff about 5 years to create, from start to finish.
It takes Elphaba about 15 minutes to put on the green skin coloring, and "days" to get it all off.
In translating the show for other countries, there are often interesting hurdles to jump. For instance, the concept of being "popular" doesn't exist in Japan. They thought it meant being famous, "like Paris Hilton," so writers had to make a few changes to the story.
Yes, there will be a movie someday, but Stone said it probably won't be for seven to 10 more years. Yikes! Creators struggle with not wanting a movie to pull focus from the tours and Broadway shows. (Incidentally, he also said it will not star Kristin Chenoweth, who "just turned 40.")
After seeing the presentation and hearing the two ladies, Donna Vivino as Elphaba and Emily Rozek as
Glinda, I'm feeling pretty confident in the quality of the touring show. (Though they are not the two actresses coming to town, which is too bad, they were wonderful.)
Tickets are only on sale for season ticket holders now and will open up for single tickets sales "in December." Broadway in Utah said there will be an announcement on the sales date next month.
Here are the Broadway happenings:
Farewell to Furth: Tony Award-winning librettist and actor George Furth died at a hospital in California at 75. Furth acted in many movies, including "Blazing Saddles" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," before collaborating with Stephen Sondheim on "Company," winning the Tony for Best Book in 1970, and "Merrily We Roll Along" in 1980.
Money Mamma: The movie soundtrack of "Mamma Mia!" has hit No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200 Chart and also turned platinum after only five weeks.
Achin' for Aiken: If you missed "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken during his Broadway stint as Sir Robin in "Spamalot," you're still in luck. He's rejoining the cast Sept. 19-Jan. 4. "I'm so excited about coming back to the funniest show in the world!" he said.