Tony winner Menzel remains contracted to end of year

Jennifer Laura Thompson is the new Good Witch in “Wicked.”

Last seen on Broadway in “Urinetown,” Thompson replaces Kristin Chenoweth, who originated the role of Glinda opposite Idina Menzel’s Elphaba, the Wicked Witch.

Chenoweth has been with the Stephen Schwartz-Winnie Holzman tuner since its early readings in West Hollywood in 2001, and she opened the show on Broadway Oct. 30. Her last perf will be July 18.

Thompson begins her stint in “Wicked” two days later. Off Broadway, she originated the ingenue role of Hope Cladwell in “Urinetown” and stayed with that production when it transferred to Broadway in fall 2001. Her previous Broadway credit was “Footloose.”

Menzel, who won the 2004 Tony for leading actress in a musical, has contracted with “Wicked” through the end of the year. However, she will be out of the show beginning Tuesday and returns July 2. During her hiatus, she will be shooting the film “Ask the Dust,” opposite Colin Farrell, in South Africa. Eden Espinosa will perform the role of Elphaba during her absence.

“Wicked” lost the Tony for musical to “Avenue Q” but came out of the 2003-04 season the box office winner. Its current advance stands at more than $20 million.

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