WICKED Gets a Pymble Wizard with Todd McKenney
It’s time for Australia to return to Oz with the upcoming revival of WICKED, set to open this August at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. The principal cast has been announced, featuring one of Australia’s favourite entertainers and Pymble local, Todd McKenny!
“We have no doubt audiences will embrace our electrifying new leading ladies and stellar cast,” says acclaimed producer John Frost, who also brought Melbourne’s 2008 WICKED to the stage, “We can’t wait for Australia to fall in love with the show all over again.”
Theatre and television personality Todd McKenney will play the role of the Wizard, alongside theatre icons and rising stars including Robyn Nevin, Liam Head, Adam Murphy, Shewit Belay, Kurtis Papadinis, Courtney Monsma, and Sheridan Adams.
McKenney, who celebrates 40 years in the entertainment industry this year, boasts decades of experience in musical theatre, radio, and television, including lead roles in productions like Cats, 42nd Street, West Side Story, Strictly Ballroom, and La Cage aux Folles and most notably, as the esteemed Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz - a role in which McKenney performed over 1000 shows nationally.
Neighbourhood Media were able to ask Mr McKenney a few questions about the production and how he is finding life in Sydney’s Upper North Shore.
As one of Australia’s highly acclaimed performers, he says, “I’ve never needed to go overseas because I’m lucky enough to have continued working since I started my professional performing career 40 years ago!”
“I’ve enjoyed going overseas, particularly to see shows in London’s West End and New York’s Broadway, but I’ve always come back to work here in Australia.”
Based in Pymble, Sydney, he loves the local and ever-evolving hospitality scene, “I can highly recommend Jacaranda, a Modern Asian fusion restaurant on the Pacific Highway at Killara. It’s my new favourite hot spot.”
McKenney, who started his dancing journey at the age of three, has won many international dance titles and local musical theatre awards, including two Mo Awards, a Variety Club Heart Award, and a Helpmann Award. Many will also recognise him from Australian television: McKenney has judged on all fifteen seasons of Dancing With the Stars since 2004.
McKenney shares that, “Now that Dancing With The Stars has wrapped filming [for the year] I am in full WICKED pre-rehearsal mode, learning my songs and script so that I am ready to start on day one of rehearsals which is just around the corner. WICKED is my only focus for the rest of the year.”
WICKED made it’s Broadway debut almost 20 years ago and has become an international hit, loved by millions. On getting his upcoming role in WICKED, McKenney said, “I haven’t had to move that much as I’ve gone from being the Boy from Oz to the Wizard of Oz, so it feels like a natural progression. Playing such an iconic role is a thrill for any actor and I can’t wait to start the show.”
WICKED, based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, takes a revisionist spin on the classic Wizard of Oz story and has won over 100 major awards, including six Helpmann Awards, three Tony Awards, and six Drama Desk Awards. The musical has played in 16 countries and is the fourth-longest-running show in Broadway history.
“The show is a proven success all over the world and is actually celebrating its 20th anniversary on Broadway this year so we will be honouring and staying true to the mega success that this show is,” says McKenney. “But what’s exciting for us, as the new Australian cast, is that we will be bringing our own interpretation to these roles.”
McKenney reveals that his favourite line from the production is "I am the great and powerful OZ” which he delivers “behind a giant mechanical skull.”
“What’s not to love about that?”
Tickets for WICKED at The Sydney Lyric Theatre are on sale now!
Head to wickedthemusical.com.au or Ticketmaster to book your seats.
Don’t miss out on this fantastic show, all the way from Oz!