Show sells out 'Wicked' fast

It was wicked cold. The line was wicked long. But by 8:45 a.m. Friday, after four hours huddled under a blanket in front of Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, 17-year-old Katie Roberts had her "Wicked" tickets.

"A little more clothing would have been good," admitted Katie, a fan of the "Wizard of Oz"-inspired Broadway blockbuster for two years. "But it wasn't too bad."

Katie and her mother, Kathy Roberts, of Heath Springs, were among hundreds hoping to snag seats for Charlotte's premiere "Wicked" engagement, April 9-20 at Ovens Auditorium. The first in line were a young Charlotte woman and her grandmother, who arrived around dinner time Thursday.

A Bank of America security guard described the crowd outside as cheerful and polite -- qualities exemplified by one "Wicked" lead, Glinda -- but also determined, which describes the show's green-faced anti-heroine, Elphaba, better known as the Wicked Witch of the West.

Phone and Internet sales began at 10 a.m. Friday, but many would-be buyers found the systems jammed. By 2 p.m. all 16 performances were sold out.

But not entirely. Fans who missed their chance Friday can line up for a preshow lottery on performance days -- though only a small number of discounted seats will be raffled off.