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Home arrow Reviews arrow Reviews By Scott arrow Reviews By Scott arrow Bringing Wicked to Life Takes The Magic of Many
Bringing Wicked to Life Takes The Magic of Many PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Scott Lewis   
Apr 20, 2016 at 08:18 PM

Wicked, the musical called by The New York Times “the defining musical of the decade” returns to Dallas April 20th for its fifth run at the Music Hall at Fair Park.  All previous runs have sold out and all indications are that this five week run will be no different.Wicked has never stopped touring the world, has grossed nearly $4 billion and has been seen by nearly 47 million people in 6 languages.  This reinterpretation of the story of the witches of Oz has broken house records in every city it has played and continues to mesmerize young and old some 12 years after its' Broadway debut.Wicked has earned its' reputation as one of the greatest shows in Broadway's over 100 year history.  It has earned every accolade and every glowing recommendation.  There is nothing I can say about it here that has not been said somewhere else and likely more elequently than I could express.

I want to share the Wicked experience from a behind the scenes perspective.  Did you ever think about what it takes to bring an entire Broadway show to a theater near you?  I knew it was a great undertaking but never did I image the reality behind the curtain before it can open.  This week I was lucky enough to go back stage at the load in for Broadway's greatest show and got an up close and personal view of what it takes to bring the magic of Oz to life.

Thirteen tractor trailers criss cross the country to bring the Wicked from city to city.  There are over one hundred people behind the scenes working some thirty hours from arrival to install about 175,000 pounds of scenery before the show can open.  Their work is completed in time for the arrival of an additional thirty people that comprise the orchestra and the wardrobe department.   The arrival of the company adds another 32.  Then run throughs begin and tweaks are made to perfect the sounds and lights.  Staging is customized to the house they occupy.

The crew of more than 100 is made up of about twenty five that tour with the show the remainder are locally hired professionals that work regularly in your local theater and bring a knowledge of the house that is invaluable to the traveling team.  There are an incredible variety of jobs available on a touring show.  I found it interesting that there is one person that does nothing but laundry 56 hours a week.  Seven people spend 4 hours a day 6 days a week sewing, repairing and preparing costumes and the shows 90 wigs.

While there is a back up actor or understudy for each role, there are interestingly no replacements for any of the sets.  Sets are constantly being repaired averaging about four hours of repairs each week.  Their is one exception and that is that famous dragon that looks down over the audience at each performance.  There is a back up dragon that travels to each city, though it has never been used.

For those thinking of a career in the theater it is not all work and no play.  Wicked's company manager works with local theater staff in each city to put together outings for cast and crew.  A regular visit when in Dallas is to the Round Up Saloon where the cast will enjoy line dancing and karaoke this Monday Night at 9pm.  I have it on good authority the cast loves the clubs front bar karaoke and sing at every visit.  All are welcome.

I learned from my behind the scenes tour that there is an incredible amount of work going on behind the scenes to bring Broadway to the masses.  I learned it takes so many more than the 25 people that we will see on stage to make the magic that is Wicked.

Wicked plays the Dallas Summer Musicals through May 22nd.  Tickets are $40 - $179 and available at http://dallassummermusicals.org

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