Wicked Finds Its Witches in Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo

Ariana Grande is set to portray the good witch Glinda in Wicked opposite Cynthia Erivo's Elphaba in Jon M. Chu's upcoming adaptation of the musical.

By Cydney Contreras Nov 05, 2021 2:04 AMTags
Watch: Kristin Chenoweth & Idina Menzel Talk "Wicked" Connection

Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo have some wicked-ly good news to share.

The "thank u, next" singer and Harriet actress confirmed they will be starring in Jon M. Chu's movie adaptation of the hit musical Wicked on Thursday, Nov. 4. According to Universal Pictures, Ariana will portray the good witch Glinda, while Cynthia will take on the role of the misunderstood Elphaba.

Ariana shared a photo of her Zoom call with her co-star and director to Instagram, writing, "Thank goodness."

The artist also posted a photo of the flowers Cynthia sent her, which included a note that read, "'Pink goes good with green.' Congratulations Miss A, the part was made for you, I look forward to sharing this musical journey with you."

The pop star returned the favor by sending a bouquet of white and green flowers, writing to her co-star, "Dear Cynthia, honored doesn't even begin to cover it. I cannot wait to hug you. See you in Oz."

Cynthia celebrated the news on her own Instagram page, captioning it with the same quote she sent to Ariana.

As per usual, Cynthia's Broadway friends congratulated her on the achievement, with Anthony Ramos commenting a string of fire emojis. 

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Ariana's mom gushed on her daughter's Instagram page, commenting, "Bursting with pride!!!!!! Thank goodness."

Production is scheduled to begin in the U.K. next summer.

Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock, Leon Bennett/WireImage

For years now, actresses have campaigned for the coveted roles of the dueling witches, with Amanda Seyfried and Anna Kendrick most recently advocating for themselves.

In April, Amanda told the Variety's Award Circuit podcast that she sent Jon a recording of herself singing the song "Popular" in the hopes that it would land her the role. As she put it, "I've never been more ready to hit those notes."

And if Amanda had her way, Les Misérables actress Samantha Barks would've been her co-star. At the time, Amanda said, "There's nobody else like Samantha Barks... Samantha is my No. 1, I mean, there's no better singer in the world I think."

Anna Kendrick was her second pick for Elphaba, as the Pitch Perfect star can "sing the high notes" required of the role. But, as Amanda also noted, "At one point, it was Anne Hathaway, too. She could obviously be Elphaba."



Anna later spoke to E! News and revealed she was unaware of Amanda's comments, admitting, "That's so funny. I hadn't heard that, but when I met her in real life, she said that to me. So I was like, what are you, eavesdropping on that conversation? I didn't know that she'd said that."

Anna added, "So she didn't just say it to my face to be nice."

Another actress who vied for the onscreen role of Elphaba was Frozen's Idina Menzel. After all, she won a Tony award for her Broadway portrayal of the witch in 2004.


When Variety asked Idina about the upcoming Wicked movie in 2019, she was explicit: "I still think that I should be Elphaba and I should just show up, slap that green makeup on me and get some CGI and Benjamin Button the s--t out of that... I mean I love you, Ariana, but I still am relevant here."

(E! News and Universal Pictures are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)

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