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60 million viewers worldwide saw “Wicked” – now Stage Entertainment in Hamburg is releasing a German version of the musical. Rehearsals in the Neue Flora will soon be over. But there is no premiere date yet
Dhe preparations for the trimagic tournament of magical musicals are in full swing in Hamburg. While “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is just waiting for the starting shot in its own theater in the wholesale market, the competition from Stage Entertainment is rehearsing two magical pieces. Disney’s “Frozen” is supposed to melt Hamburg and “Wicked. The Witches of Oz ”set off a whirlwind of delight. The main characters of “Wicked” have now been presented in the Neue Flora – the rehearsals will be completed on June 9th without a premiere date. Press spokesman Stephan Jaeckel hopes that politics will ease it, which should allow 60 percent occupancy of the hall at the beginning of September. Only at this rate can the stage break even.
Author Stephen Schwartz wrote a new version
“Wicked”, which has an 18-year performance history as a musical on Broadway, will be retold in a new production in the Neue Flora by a creative team led by producer Simone Linhof and reinvented in a German version. For this, the stage has hired the experienced British director Lindsay Posner, who wrote a new version with Stephen Schwartz, the author and composer of the musical.
All characters are introduced in their own right and their story is told, this also applies to Dorothy, the lion and the scarecrow from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by Lyman Frank Baum as well as elements of the “Wicked” -Romans by Gregory Maguire, who tells the story of the “Wizard of Oz” and forms the basis for the musical. Because in Germany the basis of the story, “The Wizard of Oz”, is not common knowledge, in contrast to the English-speaking world. It is well known that attending a musical should not require any prior knowledge. However, like the Harry Potter drama based on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, owning them is an advantage.
Vajèn van den Bosch and Jeannine Wacker as a witch duo
The basic story of “Wicked”, in German the meaning ranges from “evil” and “insidious” to “cheeky” and “godless”, brings Linhof to a simple line: It is about the development of the blonde witch Glinda, who came to herself have to find and learn to live according to their own values in order to stop marauding through the country. Only in this way can she ultimately help others. Her witchy counterpart, after all her friend and confidante on this path, is the green witch Elphaba. Both roles are cast with musical stars who are quite familiar to the Hamburg audience.
Vajèn van den Bosch embodies Elphaba. The Dutch singer most recently played the leading role of Indigo in the Cirque du Soleil musical “Paramour”, which was also seen in the Neue Flora. Van den Bosch about the moment she found out about her commitment: “I cried. With joy. ”Her partner is Jeannine Wacker, who last impressed as Lauren in“ Kinky Boots ”in the Operettenhaus on the Reeperbahn. Third in the league, Naidjim Severina from the Netherlands celebrates his Hamburg debut as Prince Fiyero, torn between the two witches.
Director Posner tells of endangered civil liberties
Lindsay Posner, who has staged plays ranging from Shakespeare to contemporary English playwrights and operas at many major theaters in London, attaches importance to a political component of the staging in “Wicked”. He tells how an autocratic ruler like the Wizard of Oz, who acts in a highly manipulative and power-obsessed manner, but in no way has magical abilities, restricts freedoms. For this purpose he uses technology. That’s why the persecution of innocent people is a continuous theme of the play, says Lindsay. The selection of the actors for the production was extremely demanding, because there was a focus on acting over entire stretches.
Essential characteristics of successful family musicals in our Disney-dominated days are splendid costumes and a no less elaborate stage design. Here, too, the new production pulls out all the stops, as a first sample impression suggests. Costume designer Moritz Junge, who makes the witches shine and shimmer in a highly imaginative way, emphasizes the great harmony in the creative team. In the dance pictures, choreographer Fabian Aloise turns many individual bodies into a narrative whole. But what is most powerful in its complexity is the bombastic and playful backdrop by designer Jon Bausor. As befits a stage construction magician, he uses the hall as a venue, lets the audience experience the hurricane as the triggering event for what is happening and allows for a constant change of perspective. In this way, the audience can sympathize, mirrored, how the two young witches feel in difficulties that they are growing up with.
Designer Bausor combines “Wizard of Oz” with “Metropolis” aesthetics
“I’m not a magician like David Copperfield or Hans Klok,” says Bausor, “but I know how the tricks work technically.” As a designer, Bausor combines the film worlds of the classic “The Wizard of Oz” from 1939 with the – this time intensely colored – The aesthetics of Fritz Lang’s film “Metropolis” becomes a contemporary stage language that emphasizes the value of the organic, natural and fragile world. Here the strength for magic, for witchcraft, arises not between the skyscrapers of the Green Emerald City, whose green is in no way inferior to the green witch, but from the talent of people to surpass themselves.