John M. Chu’s Wicked adaptation continues its relentless efforts to cast All The People this week; after revealing yesterday that Michelle Yeoh had joined the project in the key role of Madame Morrible, Chu has now revealed that several more cast members—including Saturday Night Live star Bowen Yang—have also joined the musical adaptation.
This is per Deadline, which reports that Yang, along with the also just-cast Bronwyn James (from Harlots), will play classmates of Cynthia Erivo’s Elphaba at the prestigious Shiz University. Meanwhile, Marissa Bode has been cast in the major role of Elphaba’s sister Nessarose, who, like Bode, is a wheelchair user. Other new castmates (in undisclosed roles) include Keala Settle, Aaron Teoh, and Colin Michael Carmichael.
Chu has been assembling the cast for this version of Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman’s musical adaptation of the Gregory Maguire book (adapted, in turn, from L. Frank Baum’s Oz series) for more than a year at this point. Erivo was the first to be cast, alongside Ariana Grande, who’ll be playing Elphaba’s very “Popular” frenemy, Glinda, in the film adaptation. Other cast members include Johnathan Bailey as Fiyero, Elphaba’s eventual love interest, and Jeff Goldblum as that infamous whiz of a Wiz, if ever a Wiz there was.
Wicked is currently gearing up for an ambitious two-part release strategy, with the first installment to arrive on Christmas 2024, and the second a year later. (The first part will presumably end, like the first act of the play—and, in our experience, more than one overly-ambitious karaoke party—with a rendition of the show’s breakout song, “Defying Gravity.”) And while Bode (and Yeoh) will almost certainly be in both parts, owing to their characters’ centrality to the story, it’s not clear if we’ll see the Shiz-based characters in part 2.