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‘Wicked’ stars Ariana Grande, Cynthia Erivo dazzle in new footage

April 11, 20243 Mins Read


LAS VEGAS – Ariana Grande was obviously bedecked in pink, Cynthia Erivo wore green and the two stars of “Wicked” worked their magic on a bunch of theater owners for what is potentially this year’s biggest holiday movie.

“This whole experience is absolutely impossible to put into words,” Grande said Wednesday during a presentation for “Wicked” (in theaters Nov. 27) at CinemaCon, the conference for movie theaters and studios.

Director Jon M. Chu and producer Marc Platt introduced a new four-minute extended trailer for the highly anticipated Broadway stage adaptation and “Wizard of Oz” prequel. Elphaba (Erivo), aka the woman who’s not yet the Wicked Witch of the West, comes to Shiz University and butts heads with popular girl Glinda (Grande).

A social misfit because of her green skin, Elphaba has a ton of potential when it comes to magic, the two very different youngsters foster a budding friendship, and Elphaba takes Glinda with her to Oz when she’s summoned by the not-so-wonderful Wizard (Jeff Goldblum). But that’s just the beginning of their story, which will be told over two big-budget musical films: The second “Wicked” chapter is scheduled for Nov. 26, 2025.

A dapper Goldblum kicked off the festivities after an opening segment with his giant Oz head. “I’ll be a ringtailed flying monkey if that’s not the biggest talking cranium that I’ve seen in all my days,” he said. Over his “longish” career, he’s been chased by dinosaurs, turned into a fly and gone into the belly of an alien spaceship, “but I’ve never been part of the particular flavor of magic as this movie.”

Michelle Yeoh, who plays Shiz headmistress Madame Morrible, reunited with her “Crazy Rich Asians” director Chu for “Wicked.” “Jon even git me to sing in this movie. It was terrifying,” Yeoh confessed, with Chu responding, “You played a literal rock in a movie so I had to give you some challenge.”

But Grande and Erivo get the cowardly lion’s share of belting in this movie, including favorites like “Popular” and the showstopper “Defying Gravity.” The two reminisced about when they first were exposed to “Wicked”: Grande was 10 when she first saw it on Broadway, while Erivo said she took herself on a “date” to see it “and I couldn’t fathom actually getting to play the Wicked Witch.”

Elphaba and Glinda are “two roles that have been so pivotal in our lives and meant the most to us,” Erivo said. Grande added that both felt the responsibility and “poured our hearts, our souls, so many lashes, wands, and we gave it all we possibly could.”

Platt, a producer on the original stage production of “Wicked” that debuted in 2003, feels the characters will have an “indelible and profound impact on audiences for years to come.” Chu added that his two stars “more than lived up to every demand. You, your kids and your kids’ kids will adore them from now on.”

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