A very “popular” show hits a milestone
On October 30, 2003, I had the incredible good fortune to be in the opening night audience of Wicked, the beloved musical that is about to become the fourth longest running production in Broadway history.
As I sat in the massive house at the Gershwin Theatre that evening, surrounded by Broadway royalty, I witnessed the realization of years of hard work, development, and all that it takes to actually mount a Broadway show. It was particularly meaningful for me to be at opening night, because a year or so earlier, I had met and spent time with the brilliant composer and life force behind Wicked, Stephen Schwartz. I interviewed Stephen for a radio show, and we stayed in touch. At that time, I had co-written a play about two female best friends who change each other’s lives (“for the better”) and then have a falling out. I mentioned it to Stephen, and he told me then that he was working on a musical with a similar theme, having its pre-Broadway run in San Francisco. Little did I know then that the musical he was referring to would go on to become a world-famous theatrical blockbuster.
Despite Ben Brantley’s less than stellar review in the New York Times in 2003 (which at the time was still a crucial publication in determining success of a show) Wicked has amassed over 5 billion dollars in ticket sales worldwide and has been seen by 65 million people.
This Tuesday, April 11th at 7 PM, Wicked, the Musical will play its 7,486th performance, surpassing Cats to become the 4th longest running production in Broadway history. And even more congratulotions (“congratulations” in Ozian speak) are in order! Wicked will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Broadway this October.
If you are not one of the 65 million people who have seen Wicked, now is a great time to go! https://wickedthemusical.com
Valerie Smaldone is a 5-time Billboard Magazine Award winner and is well known for her unprecedented success holding the #1 on-air position in the New York radio market on 106.7 Life-FM, an iHeart station. She has hosted, produced, and created several award-winning nationally syndicated programs featuring in-depth interviews with stars like Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Elton John and Mariah Carey among others. Her radio talk show "Bagels and Broadway" highlighted theatre and food personalities. She is an accomplished interviewer and voice artist heard on commercials, narrations, promos and audiobooks, as well as a sought after live announcer.
Most recently, Valerie produced and directed a film, The Thursday Night Club, featuring pop diva Gloria Gaynor in her movie acting debut. She is one of the creators and producers of a docu-series, Divine Renovation, starring Erik Estrada, on streaming networks soon.