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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mizzou chapter.

After 10 years of development and 15 years since debuting, Broadway’s Wicked is coming to theaters as a live adaptation. With a devoted fan base that prompted live performances in most of the U.S.’ biggest cities, the uproar is prevalent among musical theater enthusiasts. But now, with pop star Ariana Grande as the movie’s lead, a whole new audience is brought to the table.

Grande is moving from the stage to the big screen as Glinda, the bubbly, ditzy, and admired character alongside Cynthia Erivo, playing the production’s lead, Elphaba. Though many connect Grande’s acting history to her performance as Cat Valentine in Nickelodeon’s Victorious and Sam and Cat, her musical theater career began as a 14-year-old in Broadway’s 13: The Musical. Now, her vocal range and vivacious stage presence has helped her score the role as Glinda.

Glinda was portrayed in the 2003 cast by Kristin Chenoweth, who has nothing but the best to say about Grande. “I’ve known [Ariana] since she was 10,” Chenoweth says. “I’m so proud of her. I can’t wait to see her do it,” she says during an interview on the Kelly Clarkson Show as she discusses passing the torch to Grande. The Wicked alum has outwardly expressed her admiration for the new Glinda, and the feeling is absolutely mutual. Grande has looked up to Chenoweth since she sat in the audience of Wicked back in 2003 and was even lucky enough to meet the cast afterward. Little did she know she’d be playing her dream role 20 years later!

The possibility of Grande putting her superstar life to a pause to pursue the role as Glinda has been discussed for many years. Though it started as just rumors and fan speculations, it all became reality in November 2021 when Director Jonathan M. Chu announced the casting, with Grande and Erivo titled as the leads. With the original soundtrack having 19 tracks, it was too difficult for Chu to capture the entirety of the story without cutting essential songs from the film. With Wicked fans in mind, removing original material would certainly cause disappointment. As a result, the musical is being split into two parts, with the first half being released in November 2024.  

To say that fans were enthusiastic is an understatement, but nobody could be quite as excited about the cast list than Grande herself.

In a 2018 clip from the Zach Sang Show, Grande opens up about what the musical has meant to her over the years. From childhood nostalgia to being a source of comfort during times of stress, the singer has felt connected to the Broadway hit since she was a little girl. 

“Whenever I’m nervous about anything, I listen [to Wicked] front to back,” Grande says.  She goes on to reflect on her fond memories of belting the soundtrack in the car with her mother as a young girl – talk about foreshadowing!

Grande gushes over the idea of playing Glinda someday. “I’d do anything,” Grande says. “I’d stand outside the producers office with coffees everyday waiting for them to acknowledge me.” Even big names like Ariana Grande have their fangirl moments – for her, it just happens to be coming to life! 

My name is Molly! I am a sophomore at Mizzou studying strategic communications. With a passion for writing, I am excited to be able to express my interests through this creative outlet. I love music, thrifting, going for walks, and spending time with friends. I joined Her Campus to be able to write about topics that fuel my interests!