Katie Rose Clarke and Mamie Parris

Katie Rose Clarke, left, and Maime Parris in 'Wicked.' A touring company of the Broadway musical opens Feb. 1 in El Paso

First of all, you can still buy tickets for the Broadway musical "Wicked," which swoops into El Paso's Plaza Theatre Feb. 1.

And second, by the time the show flies away almost two weeks later, it will have made history.

"When ‘Wicked' leaves here on Feb. 12, it will be the new record holder for national touring Broadway productions in El Paso," said Brian Crowe, assistant general manager of El Paso's Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We've had a tremendous response and are looking for a very successful two-week run."

While neither the CVB nor Chicago's Jam Theatricals will say how many of the 32,000 seats available over 16 performances have sold, they want everybody to know there are plenty left.

But if you're thinking of going, you might want to buy tickets sooner rather than later.

The first weekend performances are nearly sold out, and the prices for high-demand performances have gone up.

"‘Wicked' used dynamic pricing, so as the tickets sell, they adjust prices upward, just like the airlines," Crowe said. "The weekend shows have gone up $5 or $10 per ticket."

So tickets that first went on sale at $60, $80 and $127.50 are now selling for $65, $95 and $142 at the Plaza Theatre box office.

Pricing also varies for tickets purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com or at Ticketmaster outlets. Ticketmaster adds $9.95 to $11.40 per ticket as a service fee.

Crowe and others warn about buying tickets from other online sellers, some of which are fraudulent and others of which have jacked "Wicked" tickets up to $400 and more.

Road show

The smash musical has played Broadway for nine years, despite some unkind review by critics.

It's a spin-off of sorts that mixes the classic 1939 film, "The Wizard of Oz," with a newer novel about two witches, the wicked one from the West and the good one of the North.

"Wicked" was named the best musical on Broadway in 2009, and the traveling productions have broken box office records in Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis.

The production that has played Los Angeles since Nov. 30 comes to El Paso Feb. 1, and then heads to Tempe, Az., for a month.

A good showing on ticket sales will guarantee that El Paso gets more big shows and long runs, Crowe said.

Jam Theatricals, which has been bringing Broadway shows to El Paso for nine years, has high hopes for "Wicked" ticket sales.

"El Paso has shown it is hungry to see that kind of entertainment," said Jam's spokesman, Robert Sleskes.

A 2006-07 production of "Mamma Mia" had the longest previous run in El Paso, with just eight performances, and was considered a great success, Sleskes said.

So why did it take four years for the longer run of a blockbuster show like "Wicked" to reach El Paso, if "Mamma Mia" did so well?

"That has to do with routing and where shows go and where El Paso fits in the schedule," Sleskes said.


E-mail El Paso Inc. reporter David Crowder at dcrowder@elpasoinc.com or call (915) 534-4422, ext. 122 and (915) 630-6622.