Winnie Holzman is the creator of two landmark pieces of entertainment history. The first is the cult-favorite one-season television drama My So-Called Life, a show that introduced the world to Claire Danes and Jared Leto as Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano. The second is Wicked, the global musical phenomenon that just celebrated its 10th anniversary on Broadway. This summer, Holzman is returning to the theater with Choice, a new drama about journalism that will receive a Sheryl Kaller-helmed reading on June 20 at New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College. On the first day of rehearsals, Holzman chatted with TheaterMania about her first foray into stage drama. She also shared her thoughts on the success of Wicked and revealed details about the musical's forthcoming film adaptation.
Is Choice really your first play?
This play is my first non-musical, full-length play. I'm super excited about that.
What is it about?
It's about a woman journalist who ends up writing a story that changes her life. I'm so interested in friendships and their complications, and women friendships are so interesting to me. The center of this play is a female friendship that is so different from Wicked.
How did director Sheryl Kaller come to be involved? Did you two know each other?
No. I got to see the new Terrence McNally play [Mothers and Sons], and I was thrilled by it. Then, a funny thing happened. I started mentioning the name Sheryl Kaller to certain people in my life, and they all knew her and thought she was amazing. I thought How come I don't know her? So we got to meet and it felt like a real click.
Tell me about your cast.
We have this amazing young actor named Chris Myers (An Octoroon) and the beautiful actress Alexandra Socha (Fun Home) as the young people. Danton Stone is playing a part, and my husband, Paul Dooley, is going to be playing a part. We were talking about the older women in the play, but it has a lot for young people, too. I'm really excited to work with them.
Are the talks about a Wicked film true?
Yes. The movie isn't official yet, but the movie will happen. We are, after all, produced by a movie company. [laughs]
A decade ago when Wicked first opened, did you see it having the longevity it has?
I think the answer would be no. We were wondering things like, how would it go to another country?, since most other countries have never watched [The Wizard of Oz] movie. We learned in a thrilling and humbling way that culturally, people didn't need the movie to embrace our story. That's been really touching. We carved those roles out for Idina [Menzel] and Kristin [Chenoweth], so it's a pretty big thrill to see these amazing young women all over come in, in different languages, kill it. It's been pretty great.