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Hundreds line up in hopes of making Broadway or touring cast of "Wicked"

Hundreds line up for casting call for "Wicked"
Hundreds line up for casting call for "Wicked" 01:11

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Could the next star on Broadway be waiting for their big break in Chicago?

Hundreds of hopefuls lined up Monday at Ballet Chicago, 17 N. State St., for their chance at a choice role with "Wicked." The producers held an open casting call for singers and principal roles in both the New York and touring shows.

The line snaked around the corner to Washington Street.

Those auditioning were asked to sing 16 bars a cappella from a contemporary musical theatre song to show their range. Sopranos were given the option of singing 16 bars of a traditional legitimate musical theatre song to show further range.

Sydney Mistretta – who is from Louisiana and attends school in Ohio - arrived in line around 9:45 a.m. She had been in line for a couple hours by the time CBS 2 talked with her – and she said she would be thrilled to get a part.

"It would mean everything," she said. "This would be the first like big show I'd ever be in."

Mistretta said she would be pleased to get any part in "Wicked." Tommie Billups, who came from Indiana, said the same.

"I just want to be a part of this musical," he said. "It's something that I've always enjoyed watching."

William Toney came down from Milwaukee to audition.

"To be honest, I'm cool with just ensemble. I'm cool with doing ensemble—it's a big ensemble show," he said. There's not a bunch of big lead roles for the guys."

Toney said he planned to sing "Make Them Hear You" from "Ragtime" for his audition.

"I did children's theatre when I was younger, and 'Defying Gravity' [from 'Wicked'] was one of the songs that we did for one of our summer programs, so definitely like a full-circle type of moment," he said.

Daja Smith, who goes by "Day Kay" on social media - said she hopes to get the part of Elphaba.

"Let's manifest it," she said. "You all better check me out now – I know all my choruses.

"Wicked" is based on Gregory Maguire's "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West," which in turn reimagines L. Frank Baum's iconic turn-of-the-last-century novel, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," and the 1939 film adaptation starring Judy Garland.

It tells the story of two witches of the Land of Oz—Elphaba, later the Wicked Witch of the West, and the good witch Glinda.

The original Broadway production began in New York in 2003, and its run remains in progress at the Gershwin Theatre, at 222 W. 51st St. in Midtown Manhattan. A Chicago run began in 2005, originally starring Ana Gasteyer as Elphaba, at the Oriental Theatre Ford Center for the Performing Arts – since renamed the James M. Nederlander Theatre, at 24 W. Randolph St.

This Broadway in Chicago run of "Wicked" broke box office records, with over 1,500 performances and grossing more than $200 million.

While the Broadway in Chicago run closed in 2009, a touring production has returned to Chicago several times—most recently in 2022.

A London production of "Wicked" has also been running since 2006.

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