Since opening in 2003 on Broadway 'Wicked' has grossed over $500 million at the Gershwin Theatre. No doubt that number well exceeds over one billion once the grosses from the other North American companies of the musical. The musical continues to sell out performances regularly eight years later without the need to sell discounted tickets at the TKTS discount booth in Times Square.
That kind of popularity is funneling audiences to Wicked Behind the Emerald Curtain, a behind-the-scenes look at the musical which I had the opportunity to attend in June 2009. First of all there is fine print:
Behind the Emerald Curtain is a museum tour and presentation. Because of insurance liability, Behind the Emerald Curtain does not go backstage.
What is offered is the up-close experience to view props, costumes, models and photos of the production. This presentation is offered in one corner of the lobby just outside of the auditorium. The tour guides are actors who performed in the production. The presentation continues in the auditorium with a film presentation about the making of the musical. Q&A sessions are offered during both parts of the tour. The tour lasts approximately 90 minutes and the merchandise booth is opened after the film presentation.
Among the items worth seeing is a model of the set and the close look at the detail in the costumes. The tour also gives an mini-lesson in the economics of Broadway with the guide's description of the costs and people to undertake a musical from workshop to opening night to daily operations. For comparison purposes, the guides stated that 'Wicked' will continue to run as long as the operating costs are met and tell about a Broadway musical called 'Glory Days' opened and closed on opening night at the Circle in the Square Theatre located downstairs the Gershwin Theatre. (note: all photos taken June 2009).
More info at emeraldcurtain.com. The tour is offered Saturdays at 10am. Admission is $30 and available online at ticketmaster.com. Tickets also available at the door 30 minutes prior to the tour on a first come, first served basis. The Gershwin Theatre is located at 222 West 51st Street. Click here for a fan site offering tips to purchase 'Wicked' tickets. Visit wickedthemusical.com for more about the show.