Halloween may now be in our rearview, but witches are about to have a moment. On Friday, Variety reported that Cynthia Erivo has joined the cast of Universal’s upcoming adaptation of the long-running, Tony-winning Broadway hit Wicked, under the helm of In the Heights and Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu. Erivo will go green for the role of Elphaba, the diminutive entertainer meeting her match in both size and vocal range onscreen as Ariana Grande assumes the role of “good witch” Glinda.
More on the plot, from Variety:
A prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” “Wicked” tells the story of everything leading up to Dorothy’s arrival in Oz. In its original Broadway run, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth portrayed frenemies Elphaba, who would become the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda the Good Witch. With Broadway theaters reopening after a long pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “Wicked” has recently resumed its live performances.
“Dear Cynthia, honored doesn’t even begin to cover it,” Grande wrote in a card accompanying a congratulatory floral arrangement for Erivo, created in the characters’ signature colors of pink and green (not to be confused with the AKAs). “I cannot wait to hug you,” she added. “See you in Oz.”
While Erivo, who most recently portrayed Aretha Franklin and Harriet Tubman, is best known for her work onscreen—as is Grande for her music career—as Variety reminds us, neither star is a stranger to Broadway.
Both stars are true multi-hyphenates, with Grammy-winning pop star Grande getting her start on Broadway in the musical “13” and acting in shows like “Victorious” and Adam McKay’s upcoming film “Don’t Look Up.” Erivo, on the other hand, is near EGOT status — having received a Tony, Grammy and daytime Emmy award for her role as Celie in the 2015-2017 revival of “The Color Purple.”