One of the latest shows to transfer successfully from Broadway to the West End is the musical Wicked, which opened at The Apollo Victoria in September 2006.
In December 2006, the show simultaneously broke the all-time records for a single week's gross box office, both in London and on Broadway, taking £873,020 and $1.8 million respectively for the last week of the year, plus reporting 95% capacity audiences in London since opening. Detailing the untold story of the witches of Oz, Wicked is directed by Joe Mantello, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Sound design is by Tony Meola, with equipment supplied by London's Autograph Sound Recording and including an 84-slot Cadac J-Type live sound production console.
Head operator Richard George has been working on the show since the opening, joining the team after working with Tony Meola and associate sound designer Kai Harada on Kiss Me Kate in 2001. He shares an insight into the London production, saying, “There are three of us on the team—myself at FOH, which is somewhat larger than the norm, together with Suzie Hills and Gemma Smith backstage. Wicked is a top quality production in the true Broadway style, and it is also a fun show to operate, as I am constantly on the move. The sound system comprises the Cadac J-Type at the core, running the SAM automation system, and a full Meyer rig. The J-Type is a nice-sounding desk, always producing a good clear sound. I have mostly worked on Cadacs during my career, and once you get to know your way around one, it is perfect for the job. Since opening in September, the show has done incredibly well, breaking box office records—long may it continue!"
The London production is the fourth version of the show now on stage. Tony Meola's design for the West End uses Meyer M1D and M2D line arrays as the principal systems, complemented by extensive use of other Meyer loudspeakers located all around the theatre. The sound system also includes 32 Sennheiser SK-5212 radio microphones. Plans are in the works to open two new productions of Wicked in 2007—one in Japan and another in Los Angeles—to complement the existing London, Broadway, Chicago, and US touring productions.
For additional Live Design coverage on Wicked check out: