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Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo to star in 'Wicked' film adaptation

We couldn’t be happier about this announcement.
A film adaptation of the 2003 Broadway musical "Wicked" is in the works at Universal Pictures. It will star Ariana Grande (left) and Cynthia Erivo (right).
A film adaptation of the 2003 Broadway musical "Wicked" is in the works at Universal Pictures. It will star Ariana Grande (left) and Cynthia Erivo (right).Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Get ready to head to the Emerald City with Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo!

The two announced Thursday that they will star the lead characters in the film adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical “Wicked.”

“Goooood Newwwws!!!” the film's director, Jon M. Chu, tweeted. “The incredible #CynthiaErivo and @ArianaGrande will be our Elphaba and Galinda in @WickedMovie @UniversalPics Get ready for a match up like you’ve never seen!!! In pink and green!!!”

“Wicked” is one of Broadway’s longest-running musicals and follows the unlikely friendship of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda (pronounced Ga-Linda), The Good Witch, in their days at school.

In the film adaptation, Erivo will portray Elphaba and Grande will play Glinda.

Both actors announced the casting news on their respective Instagram accounts, sharing the moments they found out via videoconferencing that they were going to step into the iconic roles.

“Dear Cynthia, honored doesn’t even begin to cover it. I cannot wait to hug you. See you in Oz,” Grande wrote in a card attached to a floral arrangement.

“Pink goes good with Green 💚💚💚,” Erivo wrote in her corresponding post, referencing the two characters' well-known color preferences.

Grande, who is currently serving as a coach on NBC’s “The Voice,” has a long resume for a 28-year-old. A a former Disney Channel star, she got her start on Broadway in 2008 in the musical “13.” She's clearly also a longtime "Wicked" fan — in a 2018 Halloween special on PBS, Grande even performed a rendition of “The Wizard and I.”

Erivo is also a seasoned performer, best known for starring in the Broadway revival of "The Color Purple" from 2015 to 2017. In the years since, she has also starred in films, including “Widows” and “Bad Times at the El Royale.” She was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Harriet Tubman in the 2019 biopic “Harriet.”

Director Chu has been attached to the project since February. He is no stranger to taking Broadway shows and adapting them for film. He recently directed the movie version of Lin Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights.”

Speaking to TODAY at the Los Angeles premiere of “In the Heights” in June, Chu explained how important it was for him to capture that same feeling fans had watching the stage version of the musical on film.

“I understood what was at stake and we had to do the details and we had to take the time to do it right because the potential of people feeling that feeling that I felt was so enormous. That was what was in our hands,” he explained. “What’s going to give people goosebumps?”

In the original Broadway run, stars Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth played Elphaba and Glinda, respectively. The show has since resumed following the COVID-19 shutdown of the New York theater district.

The musical is based on the 1995 book “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” by Gregory Maguire.

Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music and lyrics to the original “Wicked,” has said previously that he also found unlikely inspiration in screenwriter Winnie Holzman, who he brought in to write the script. Holtzman was best known at the time for the short-lived ABC show “My So-Called Life,” which aired from 1994 to 1995.

“Well, actually, it's not random in that it was because of ‘My So-Called Life’ that I wanted to work with Winnie on ‘Wicked,’ because I was such an admirer of that show,” Schwartz told TODAY earlier this year. “I felt like she was the only person who could do this because I thought she really understood young women of that age. And so that's why I thought she was a good choice to write ‘Wicked.’"

Both Schwartz and Holzman are returning to work on the film version of the musical, Variety reported Thursday.

Universal Pictures didn't immediately respond to TODAY's request for comment.

Universal Pictures and TODAY are owned by the same parent company NBCUniversal.