‘A Very Wicked Halloween’ Lineup: What to Expect from NBC’s Special
Fifteen years ago, Wicked opened on Broadway for the first time — A Wizard of Oz prequel no one knew they needed until it happened.
Now, some of its original cast are reuniting for an anniversary concert airing on NBC.
The special is a concert, not a live performance like the shows NBC has aired in the past. There will be performances by plenty of familiar voices — and you’ll definitely recognize the hosts.
Here’s what you can expect Monday night.
An Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth reunion
Since its October 30, 2003 debut, both the musical’s original stars have waved goodbye to Oz. But Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth continued to lead separate yet successful careers onstage and onscreen following their exits.
Before Wicked, Menzel played Maureen Johnson as part of the original cast of Rent. Chenoweth won a Tony Award for her role as Sally in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Post-Oz, both appeared in multiple episodes of the musical TV drama Glee.
The two musicians will act as hosts and performers throughout the special.
Appearances by former and current cast members
Since its first opening show in 2003, Wicked has been performed by dozens of cast members in various roles. Some of those performers will make an appearance during the special — perhaps during an ensemble performance.
The musical is one of Broadway’s greatest modern success stories. It has survived 15 years on various tours around the world, thousands of performances, and numerous award nominations and wins.
But NBC’s special isn’t just about bringing back familiar faces. It also involves a host of well-known performers who will be taking on their own versions of the show’s musical numbers.
Ariana Grande goes ‘green’
You can expect to hear a completely new performance of “The Wizard and I” — not by Menzel — who originally sang it — but instead by Ariana Grande.
Chenoweth and Grande costarred in Hairspray Live! back in 2016, and are apparently close friends. Grande met Chenoweth when she was still performing in Wicked (Grande was 9 at the time).
After winning The Sing-off in 2011, acapella group Pentatonix began publishing music on YouTube and released a successful Christmas album in 2014. The group went on to win a Grammy in 2015.
Being part of the Wicked anniversary special is apparently like a dream come true for them. They’ve been listening to the musical soundtrack since it came out.
All five members of the group agree the musical played a critical role in their futures as performers. They all listened to the soundtrack growing up.
“It’s a full circle moment, we grew up with this show and the [album] kind of shaped us as performers,” Pentatonix’s Mitch Grassi told Playbill.
Kirstin Maldonado said: “The second the soundtrack came out I feel like everyone was obsessed with it.” (Guilty.)
It hasn’t been announced which song from the original musical Pentatonix will be performing during the special.
Other featured performers include Adam Lambert and Ledisi.
A Very Wicked Halloween airs on NBC Monday night, October 29 at 10/9c.