The blockbuster hit Wicked, featuring an emerald-green leading lady, celebrates its birthday today. In her honor, TheaterMania presents a list of seven green characters who have taken to the stage.
1. Audrey II — Little Shop of Horrors
One of the meanest and greenest villains in any Broadway musical is Audrey II in Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's Little Shop of Horrors. The plant is found by Seymour, a poor, lovable young man living on Skid Row, who names the plant after his crush: the quirky, tacky Audrey. What Seymour doesn't know is that Audrey II came from outer space with the intention to conquer earth. Seymour should have been wary when he discovered Audrey II fed on human blood. That's usually a tell-tale sign of trouble.
2. The Grinch — Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Anyone who gets between a little girl and Christmas is an awful human being…well, creature. The titular green character in Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas falls into this category. Played in both of its Broadway engagements with fierce hysteria-venom by the great Patrick Page, who is no stranger to donning green (see No. 5), the Grinch eventually comes around with regards to Christmas, but only after he almost ruins it!
3. Toxic Waste — The Toxic Avenger
The only green character in The Toxic Avenger is the being of the show's title. But we have decided to feature something worse: New Jersey toxic waste! The real villain in the musical based on the 1984 cult-classic film is Mayor Babs Belgoody, who was played in the New World Stages production of the tuner by America's national treasure Nancy Opel. Belgoody allows the entire city of Tromaville to remain overrun by toxic waste, dashing her dreams of becoming governor. While Mayor Belgoody's takeover of New Jersey might not be a good thing, can you imagine Governor Nancy Opel? We sure can.
4. Shrek — Shrek The Musical
The green ogre with a heart of gold in the musical adaption of the hit blockbuster film Shrek is no villain — especially when played by Brian d'Arcy James. The musical, adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori, opened on Broadway in 2008 featuring a top-notch cast led by James. The company also included Christopher Sieber, Daniel Breaker, and Tony-winning triple-threat Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona. Shrek goes on a mission to save Fiona, who is cursed and locked in a tower (typical), but it's not all smooth sailing for Shrek, and there's more to the princess than one might think. One lesson that everyone can take away? Let your freak flag fly!
5. The Green Goblin — Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
Every superhero needs a villain. In the blockbuster Broadway sensation Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the iconic hero battles his villain (no, not Julie Taymor): the Green Goblin. In the rock musical with a score written by Bono and the Edge, the Green Goblin gleefully plans to destroy New York City by singing a tune called "I'll Take Manhattan." Patrick Page originated the role on Broadway, continuing his tradition of playing green characters onstage. By the way, has anyone figured out how to turn off the dark?
6. Nicky — Avenue Q
In Avenue Q, Nicky is the greenest puppet of them all. He's a bit of a slacker — especially compared to his anal-retentive banker of a roommate, Rod. Nicky has a hunch that Rod is gay, and he wants Rod to know that it's OK. He means well, he really does, and he confronts Rod about it, which lands him on the street, panhandling. Nicky, like many young adults living in the real world, wishes he could go back to college. Don't you?
7. Elphaba — Wicked
Perhaps the most iconic green stage character of them all. Teen girls idolize her, Broadway's finest fight for her. Elphaba even defies gravity. This green witch has been played by some of the greats, Tony winner Idina Menzel, Julia Murney, Eden Espinosa, Nicole Parker, and currently, the versatile Lindsay Mendez. Wicked, celebrating its 10th anniversary of enchanting audiences with the magic of Oz, is a gateway into the world of musical theater. After all these years, Elphaba is still changing us for the better. Because we knew her...because we knew her...we have been changed for good.