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NEWS: Wickedness Has Its Perks, Economic Impacts

Jennafer Newberry as Glinda in the National Tour of Wicked, which closed yesterday at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. Photo by Joan Marcus.

“Wickedness is in the heart of man,” says an old proverb. But for the Hennepin Theatre Trust, and downtown Minneapolis, it turns out that Wicked-ness has its perks.

Let’s rewind. The national tour of Wicked, the award-winning Broadway megamusical with a revisionist take on the events of The Wizard of Oz, played at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis from July 27 to August 28, 2022. More than 100,000 patrons flocked to see the show during its 5-week run.

This is not the first time that Wicked has played in the Twin Cities – this was, in fact, its sixth visit to Minneapolis. In addition to the touring company, the production employed almost a hundred local stagehands, musicians, hair and wardrobe staff, and vendors.

Bringing a hundred thousand people to downtown has many economic benefits, especially in the COVID-era doldrums that have led to many restaurant closures. According to a formula developed by The Broadway League, Wicked generated a local economic impact of around $30.9 million. If that’s wicked, Mayor Jacob Frey must be singing in Bostonian right now.

Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Winnie Holzman.  The production was directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello with musical staging by Tony Award winner Wayne Cilento.  Wicked is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Stage Productions, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt, and David Stone.

With a thrilling score that includes the hits “Defying Gravity”, “Popular”, and “For Good”, Wicked has been hailed by The New York Times as “the defining musical of the decade,” and by Time Magazine as “a magical Broadway musical with brains, heart, and courage”. NBC Nightly News called the hit musical “the most successful Broadway show ever”.

Now the fifth longest running show in Broadway history, Wicked has won over 100 international awards – including a Grammy Award and three Tony Awards. Since opening in 2003, Wicked has been performed in over 100 cities in 16 countries around the world (U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, The Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, Switzerland, and China) and has thus far been translated into six languages: Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish, Korean, and Portuguese.

Wicked has been seen by over 60 million people worldwide and has amassed over $5 billion in global sales.


Amy Donahue