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Wicked Characters

Who's Who in Wicked the Musical and Novel

Who is Elphaba? Who is Galinda?.... NOTE: This text contains some "spoilers."


Notes by Carol de Giere, webmaster for this independent web site

Choosing from the 38 speaking characters in Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked, the writers of Wicked the musical decided to focus their show on eight key characters plus a few others and the ensemble.

Elphaba and Galinda [Photo - Elphaba and Galinda in their early college days]

Character: Elphaba, (nickname Elphie) the green girl who becomes the Wicked Witch of the West

In both the novel and musical, Elphaba is the intense, broody, smart heroine who often carries a sense of burden of her oddness.

In the musical we meet Elphaba for a moment as a baby and then as a teenager. She would like it if Ozians could accept her, setting aside their prejudice for her natural hue. Everything changes when she meets Galinda, Fiyero, and the Wizard. In her transition during "Defying Gravity," she expresses her new goal and role as someone striving to right the wrongs in Oz.

Wicked novelist Gregory Maguire invented the witch's name "Elphaba" based on the name for the author of The Wizard of Oz. L. F(rank) B(aum). L-F-B = Elphaba.


Check out the Emerald City sunglasses like Elphaba and Glinda wear to the green city - See our WICKED SHOP [jewellery and sunglasses section]

Wicked - Green Glasses

Character: Glinda/Galinda, The blond who becomes "Glinda the Good" Witch

Both the novel and musical introduce Glinda as her younger self, Galinda Upland of the Upper Uplands, a blatantly self-centered young blond. Gregory Maguire disassociated her from an archetypal "good" to make her a pretentious goodie goodie. The musical's writers juxtaposed the two women who were superficially "bad (or misfit)" and "good" but underneath were nearly the opposite (until Glinda evolves as a person). Read about Kristin Chenoweth - the original Glinda in Wicked the musical

Character: Madame Morrible, the headmistress at Shiz University.

In the musical, her talents in sorcery are rather limited (although she recognizes talent in others). She doesn't influence the fate of the three witches in the musical in the same way as she does in the novel. She pursues her connections with Oz's chief. Her misuse of power is her undoing. Morrible is the only classic villain in this musical tale.

Character: Fiyero, a handsome prince, fellow student, and love interest.

Fiyero is a Winkie prince. The Winkies inhabit one of the regions of Oz (as in Frank Baum's original). He begins as a carefree college-age hedonist who invites fellow students to party. He transforms as his romantic interests shift. . . . (Read about Norbert Leo Butz - the original Fiyero on stage and for the cast album)

[continued below photo from opening night curtain call]

Character: Dr. Dillamond, a professor at Shiz University who is a talking Goat, and someone Elphaba befriends. Read more about Animals in Wicked novel and musical

Character: The Wizard of Oz

As in the movie, the Wizard of Oz is an old carnival huckster who blew into Oz in a hot air balloon and became a false-faced leader. But there's a twist in both Maguire's novel and the musical with regard to the relationship between the Wizard and Elphaba. [I wont' give that one away but if you read the novel carefully you will know what happens]

Character: Nessarose, the Witch 's invalid sister

Nessarose Thropp is Elphaba's sister. Gregory Maguire named her after Virginia Woolf's sister Vanessa, known as "Nessa." According to the novelist, she was born both crippled and armless. On stage she has arms but is in a wheelchair.

Character: Boq, an unusually tall Munchkin with eyes for Galinda/Glinda. In the novel he is less significant than in the musical.

Characters: Frex and Melina

The novel's early chapters set Elphaba's parents at odds at before birth. Readers learn about Melena, a former aristocrat who is terribly unhappy with her husband Frexpar, (a zealous missionary minister in the book). Her tactics for emotional survival include chewing on the leaves of a local narcotic plant and engaging in semiconscious affairs. From her first pregnancy comes a green-skinned child and though it is assumed that Frexpar is the father, there is some doubt. Between that, the daughter's odd color, and her queer behavior, the discombobulated parents create an estranged home life for their first child.

In the musical, Melina and Frex appear for only a few minutes during the birth scene at the end of Act 1, Scene 1. Frex is no longer a minister, but the Governor of Munchkinland. He cares only for his second child, Nessarose, which adds to Elphaba's frustrations.

Character: Dorothy

In the musical, Dorothy only appears as a shadow projected onto a drape. In other words her famous melting scene where she tosses water on the witch happens behind a curtain. In Maguire's novel she appears several times, as he leads the story through more of what L. Frank Baum wrote about the melting and subsequent moments.

Various others
Other characters besides the chorus include Pfannee and Shen Shen, Glinda's college girlfriends; Professor Nikidik who replaces Dr. Dillamond; and Chistery, a monkey servant.

Wicked novel characters dropped or minimized for the musical

Averic, Nanny, Fiyero's Wife, Liir

MISSPELLINGS: Some people mispell Elphaba as Alphaba or Alpheba or Elfeba; Glinda as Glenda.

Wicked and the Wizard of Oz
Carol's Wicked UK Site. Carol is also webmaster for the official fan site for Wicked's composer Stephen Schwartz

Wicked logo
The Wicked cast album is a must-have item. See our Wicked shop