Move reps tuner's first venture outside of North America
“Wicked” has firmed up plans to bring its version of Oz to London. The hit tuner will start previews around Sept. 11 at the Apollo Victoria Theater for a Sept. 27 opening.The U.K. stand will mark the first time the tuner is seen outside North America. (Its current tour began in Toronto.) Show’s Broadway producing team, headed by David Stone and Marc Platt, remains in place for London, with Brits Michael McCabe and Nick Salmon on board in various capacities to ensure a smooth West End landing. Budget for the U.K. preem will be $10 million-$11 million, per Stone — considerably less than the $14 million Broadway capitalization. That original figure included significant development costs not relevant to London. Stone told Daily Variety the aim would be to refashion the tuner afresh for London. “Oz is a fantasyland, and that fantasyland can certainly be an English one,” the impresario said of the show based on the Gregory Maguire novel, which offers a backstory to “The Wizard of Oz.” “If we do our job right, it will feel like an English show, not specifically an American one.” No casting is yet set, though speculation remains keen that Tony winner Idina Menzel might make the crossing with the musical. The West End “Wicked” will be the tuner’s fourth incarnation, following Broadway, a national touring company and a sitdown production in Chicago, all of which are ongoing.