Wicked fans get Ozdust fix with installment in Cherry Creek Shopping Center

To celebrate the opening of its fourth run on the Denver stage, award-winning Broadway musical Wicked will partner with the Cherry Creek Shopping Center to open special preview "the World of Wicked" today, and running through April 15.

Wicked fans and other mall-goers will get to bask in an emerald glow as they walk through the enormous traveling bubble that conveys Glinda the Good through the action; glance behind the scenes of the production with the "Behind the Emerald Curtain" museum display; take a photo in "Oz"; and receive a "Passport to Oz", which will contain offers and discounts from more than 35 Cherry Creek retailers.

Based on the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, Wicked is a prequel to the events described in L. Frank Baum's iconic story. Before being christened the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba (whose name is an homage to Baum -- it emerged from his initials, L.F.B.) is just a passionate, precocious teenager whose only notable difference from her classmates is her green skin. Over the course of the musical, Elphaba battles prejudice, bullying, and politics. The musical's sympathetic context for the events leading to the Wicked Witch's notoriety and its juxtaposition of whimsical story with powerful social commentary have earned it dozens of awards and nominations since its opening on Broadway in 2003.

For the fans who have been anxiously awaiting the show's return, "the World of Wicked" is a fix to get through the next few weeks. The attraction will feature a museum display showcasing Wicked's auxiliary show, "Behind the Emerald Curtain," a tour and presentation that, since its inception, has introduced viewers not only to the production of Wicked itself but to the mechanics behind any Broadway show. It has introduced New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles theatre-goers to cast members, who give firsthand accounts of life and work on the Broadway stage; it has also given them the chance to view set models, costumes, and props up close. The display at Cherry Creek Shopping Center will give attendees a glimpse of those offerings.

Anyone whose life has felt incomplete in the knowledge that--according to Elfie--"we can't all arrive by bubble," that's changing: those who attend the "World of Wicked" will get to walk through a version of the traveling diaphanous vehicle that hauls Glinda the Good from scene to scene. In addition, there will be a chance to take a photo in "Oz."

Wicked will open at the Buell Theatre on April 11; for more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.denvercenter .org or call 303-893-4100. For more information about Wicked, visit www.wickedthemusical.com.

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