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Ariana Grande’s old ‘Wicked’ tweet reemerges after she’s cast as Glinda

Plus, what is 'Wicked' actually about?


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 5, 2021   Updated on Nov 10, 2021, 11:05 am CST

In various stages of development since 2004, a film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical Wicked is finally tangible. Director Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, In the Heights) signed on to helm the adaptation earlier this year, but after years of speculation and waiting, we finally know which actors will play the witches at the center of the musical.

On Thursday night, Chu revealed that Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande would star as Elphaba and Glinda, respectively. He shared photos from FaceTime conversations as well as Erivo and Grande’s reactions when they were told they got the part.

Similar posts from Erivo and Grande followed, each of them showing similar shots. Erivo and Grande even sent each other flowers. And even Idina Menzel, who originated the role of Elphaba on Broadway and performed a song from Wicked with co-star Kristin Chenoweth as recently as the 2021 Tony Awards, offered her congratulations.

“Congrats to two amazing women,” Menzel tweeted. “May it change your lives for the better forever and ever as it has for us. So much love.”

The posts may have arrived online late Thursday, but that hasn’t stopped the internet from collectively freaking out for a multitude of reasons ever since.

An old tweet reveals how long one actor wanted to play a Wicked character

Not every actor who reveals their dream roles will get to play them, but when it does happen, there’s often an additional level of satisfaction.

In 2011, years before Grande would become a global superstar, she was starring on the Nickelodeon show Victorious. She also had a Twitter account, and nearly 10 years ago, she posted about seeing Wicked on Broadway and how it made her realize “how badly I want 2 play Glinda at some point in my life!” (She also included the hashtag #DreamRole.)

For Grande’s fans, the 2011 tweet isn’t only yet another reason to celebrate, it’s a way for them to illustrate just how far an artist they love has come in 10 years: She’s finally able to play the role she once envisioned for herself.

An anti-fan cast?

Nobody else has been announced as part of the Wicked cast apart from Erivo and Grande. Since news of the Wicked casting dropped, several actors’ names started trending on Twitter in connection to Wicked.

But it’s not because people are hoping those actors are cast in Wicked. In fact, it’s the complete opposite: They’re hoping some of these actors aren’t cast in Wicked.

One of those people already had a previous connection to Wicked. Lea Michele’s Rachel Berry performed several Wicked songs on Glee, and Menzel played her biological mother on the show.

After his roles in Cats and the Cinderella musical, people are also crossing their fingers that James Corden doesn’t show up either.

What is Wicked actually about?

Wicked is a musical that is renowned for its music with several songs—“Defying Gravity,” “Popular,” and “For Good” among them—achieving popularity in a context divorced from the musical. (All three of those songs would eventually be covered on Glee.) But do you know what the plot of Wicked is about?

Some of the basics are already there. Based on a book by Gregory Maguire, it’s largely a Wizard of Oz prequel with the Wicked Witch of the West (aka Elphaba) and the Good Witch (Glinda) at the center of it; the Wizard also has a role to play. But as some fans of the musical suggested, we might want to Google the plot before going in.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Wicked.

While the WTF factor might not be on the level as Dear Evan Hansen’s reveal behind the deceit, like many prequels, it plays fast and loose with everything you know about The Wizard of Oz.

Kicking off with Oz celebrating Elphaba’s demise before going back, Wicked follows the course of Elphaba’s life, her friendship—and eventual falling out—with Glinda, and the battles she wages against the Wizard of Oz, who spreads misinformation to make Elphaba out to be the villain, a role she eventually embraces. Glinda’s involvement indirectly led to the death of Elphaba’s sister (whose glass slippers allow her to walk), and Elphaba has a hand in creating the flying monkeys and every one of Dorothy’s companions (two of whom are different characters at the start of the musical). And the show’s finale hinges on two revelations: That the Wizard is both Elphaba’s father and responsible for her green skin, and that Elphaba actually faked her own death; Dorothy didn’t melt her after all.

We’re a long way off from seeing Wicked itself, but if the reaction to the casting is any indication, there are a lot of people invested in seeing it come to life.

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*First Published: Nov 5, 2021, 2:23 pm CDT