Every Witch Way

When I learned that “Wicked” had passed the $600 million box office gross mark, I wasn’t surprised to say, “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet.” There is, of course, the record run in N.Y., the second socko year in Chicago, the  selling-out national touring company and the packed Pantages in L.A. But, just in case you missed it–the show’s parent, Universal, has come up with more showbiz know-how. “Wicked Wednesdays” start June 27 up on the “Blues Brothers” stage at Universal Studios Hollywood. Carol Kane, “Madame Morrible” on the Pantages stage, will introduce a series of performances of the show’s performers. The musical’s fans–and those now soon-to-be–will enjoy special performance, meet the stars and, of course, collect autographs on three Wednesdays this summer. Kane, Oscar-nominated for “Hester Street” (1976), will introduce cast members Julie Reiber (Elphaba) and Melissa Fahn (Glinda), who will perform a sampling of the show’s most popular numbers. And two of the show’s other stars, Eden Espinosa and Kris Cusick–will need no escorts when they make their “Wicked Wednesdays” appearances later in the summer (July 11 and 25), as both of them got their showbiz launching when singing and hoofing in Universal Hollywood theme park shows, like “Spider-Man Rocks” and “Beetlejuice.”

And to further wax “Wicked,” parent Universal–via “Passions” on its tv arm, NBC–will air two original songs inspired by the Tony-winning musical. On June 29, Georgia Engel, the good witch Esmeralda, guest stars on the daytime drama. She and Juliet Mills (Tabitha) break into song with “Wicked”-inspired music written by Emmy-winning songwriter John Henry Kreiter. The original numbers “Spellbinding” and “Frightful” were written exclusively for Universal-NBC’s “Passions.” Universal figures “Wicked” any witch way.

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