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‘Wicked’ Star Menzel Injured in Stage Fall

January 9, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) _ Idina Menzel, the Tony-winning star of ``Wicked,″ fell through a trap door during the Saturday matinee of the Broadway musical and cracked a lower rib.

The show, a prequel to ``The Wizard of Oz,″ was halted for about 45 minutes while Menzel’s understudy, Shoshana Bean, prepared to go on as the green-skinned Elphaba, according to Bob Fennell, a spokesman for the musical.

Bean also played the Saturday evening performance and was scheduled for the Sunday matinee, which was to have been Menzel’s last performance after a more than 16-month run in the show.

The accident occurred near the end of the performance at the Gershwin Theatre, during what’s known as ``the melting sequence,″ Fennell said Sunday. During the scene, a trap door opens and an elevator that was to have lowered Menzel had already descended about two or three feet, according to the spokesman, causing the actress to fall and hurt her side.

``Wicked,″ based on Gregory Maguire’s cult novel, tells the story of two young witches-to-be, one green and brooding, played by Menzel, and the other blond and bubbly, portrayed by Jennifer Laura Thompson.

With a score by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman, ``Wicked″ has been one of Broadway’s biggest success stories. In December, the lavish musical recouped its $14 million production costs, 14 months after opening at the Gershwin.

Bean originally was to have assumed the role of Elphaba next Tuesday.

Menzel, who won the 2004 actress-musical Tony for her performance, shortly begins filming the movie version of ``Rent,″ in which she will recreate the role of Maureen, the part she played in the original Broadway production alongside her husband, actor Taye Diggs.

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