casting a spell

by kellie abrahamson
When the sun came up on January 16th Downtown Jacksonville was in the low 30s with no sign of it warming up. But the frosty weather could not keep area theatre lovers away from the Times-Union Center to pick up their tickets for the Broadway smash Wicked. By the time tickets went on sale at 8 am nearly a hundred people had gathered, many of whom had been in line hours before to ensure they got their seats.
You can’t blame these fans for being anxious to get their hands on the coveted tickets. The Tony-winning musical has been selling out venues across the country; in some cities an entire four-week engagement sold out in less than 7 hours. Thanks to mentions on hit shows like Ugly Betty and Brothers & Sisters, the production has continued to grow in popularity. Gregory Maguire, who penned the novel this musical is based on, recently released the third book in the Wicked series, further thrusting the stage show into the spotlight.
Wicked tells the story of Elphaba Thorp, a girl born with green skin who most people will come to know as the Wicked Witch of the West. But before the flying monkeys and ruby slippers, Elphaba was just a misunderstood girl who grew up being discriminated against for the color of her skin. When she heads to college she meets her new roommate Glinda, a popular girl who thinks being friends with someone as odd as Elphaba could be disastrous for her reputation. As time goes on, though, the relationship between the two very different women solidifies into a friendship that is later tested by Elphaba’s rebellion against the Wizard of Oz and her subsequent fall from grace.
First Coast Wicked fans began lining up outside the Time-Union Center as early as 5:30 in the morning, armed with heavy coats and blankets to keep the cold at bay. When the doors finally opened, these early risers were rewarded with not only tickets to the most anticipated show of the season, but also hot coffee and breakfast courtesy of radio stations WAPE 95.1 and WMXQ 102.9 The Point. The first 95 fans also received a Wicked baseball hat, which they wore with pride while waiting to buy their ticket to Oz.
You might have missed this event, but you still have time to get your hands on Wicked tickets. The musical will be at the Times-Union Center’s Moran Theater from April 23rd to May 10th. Seats start at $30, plus applicable service charge and facility usage fees. For more information or to purchase your seat to this magical musical, visit the FCCJ Artist Series website,, or call 632-3373.