Gregory Maguire, author of “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West“, the novel that inspired the hit musical, recently announced the establishment of the non-profit foundation The Elphaba Fund Wicked, celebrates its tenth anniversary on Broadway today 30th October 2013.
Recently chatting to Playbill.com, Maguire, who created the foundation with his husband, painter Andy Newman, says “I’ve been planning (The Elphaba Fund) for about five years, and it’s just formalizing right now. The documents are actually still being drawn up by my lawyer, but it’s far enough along, in terms of thinking and also funding, that it seems legitimate to announce this.”
The Elphaba Fund, which will be registered with the US Government by the end of 2013, is dedicated to issues of women’s and children’s health and education, principally in the third world, with arts and literacy education, and environmental causes. A share of Maguire’s profit from Wicked will fund various charities.
Maguire went on to say: “As some people know, I spent some part of my life in an orphanage because my mother died in childbirth when I was born — just like Nessarose’s mother (does in the musical) — and also, so did my children,”.
“Each of my three children were given up for adoption and spent some time in children’s homes… So, (The Elphaba Fund) is partly to do more for other kids that I can’t actually adopt and carry home… The second thing, the education part, is particularly directed towards literacy, libraries and literature education. Wicked comes as a result of my deep engagement with the literature of childhood, the literature of L. Frank Baum and ‘The (Wonderful) Wizard of Oz’ and with the movie literature of the 1939 film. It was sort of the spontaneous combustion of those two miracles against my childish consciousness that was the termination of ‘Wicked.’
“Literature, when it’s at its best, is art, and art affects children… so that’s why I support literacy efforts.”
So far, Maguire and Newman have contributed funds to many projects including; young women striving to meet education tuition costs in Nairobi; literacy efforts in Guatemala City; orphanages and women’s college dormitories in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; A Broader Way Foundation, established in 2010 by Wicked stars Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs.
“I take a great deal of proprietary glee in the fact that even the word Elphaba suggests certain things to people who see the play and read the books — about an inclination to want to do something good with whatever magical or fiduciary talents you might have,” said Maguire. “It seems like a way of honoring all those people who have taken Elphaba to their hearts.”
Maguire explained that The Elphaba Fund may outlive him and would continue as long as the musical is bringing in profits.
Talking about Wicked‘s 10th birthday, the author will return to the show for approximately the 50th time on October 30th, with his last-minute preparations included a haircut for the big event.
“One of the reasons, I was joking to my son, I went to get the hair cut at the back of my neck is (because) the first time Idina Menzel walked onto the stage in San Francisco and sang ‘The Wizard and I,’ a hair stood up at the back of my neck, and it has never sat down for ten years,” he said with a laugh. “So now I have to keep it cropped short because I look as if I’m sitting in an electric socket!”
The Broadway cast is currently headed by Lindsay Mendez as Elphaba, Alli Mauzey as Glinda, Derek Klena as Fiyero, Carol Kane as Madame Morrible, Tom McGowan as The Wizard, Catherine Charlebois as Nessarose, John Schiappa as Dr. Dillamond and Michael Wartella as Boq.
Image courtesy of http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7025.Gregory_Maguire