For the past ten years now, yes ten, audiences have been wowed by the musical spectacular, “Wicked, A New Musical”. “Wicked” is back in the OC for another whimsical journey into the history of OZ based on the novel by George Maguire.
Commencing on February 20th at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, guests get to step into OZ and see what happened many moons ago in a land of fantasy. It is a place where magic flourishes and ideas get expressed in unusual ways. It is the story of a young woman who doesn’t fit in because of her looks yet is above everyone in that she accepts all for who they are and not what they should be. It is the start of the ending of good and bad.
First, what is it like to come home to the OC and perform in such a highly successful Broadway show?
Incredibly exciting and rewarding. To be performing now, back in the place where I started seeing professional theatre is very thrilling. And to be doing all of this as a part of WICKED, a true genuine dream come true.
Being on stage what do you fear the most stepping out onstage in each new city?
Making sure I know where to go when I step back into the darkness offstage. Seriously, it’s dark back there and the backstage traffic changes with each city!
As the understudy for Fiyero, how did you prepare to take on such an honorable character?
As far as preparation is concerned: vocally warming up, physically warming up, and lots of water.
No seriously, playing Fiyero is such an amazing experience… and he gets to sing two of the best songs in WICKED with both of the incredible leading ladies in the show. Walking the line of truthfulness with Fiyero, however, is where it gets really interesting; he uses his “cool” as a mask, beneath which he has a distinct vulnerability and a certain self consciousness.
What other characters do you portray and whom do you enjoy playing the most?
I get to be in the ensemble every night when I’m not on as Fiyero. I play an Ozian Guard, an all-to -inquisitive member of the mob, and a student at Shiz University. My favorite character to play is my Shiz student, Northrop Westin. Everyone at Shiz has a name and, as an ensemble, we’ve been able to create relationships between all of our students. While we are at Shiz, it’s one of the times within the story that’s guaranteed to be very different every night…Always truthful and relevant to the story telling, but always new and fun.
Why do you feel people should come back to see this production that may have seen a previous version?
Well first of all, the current cast is unbelievably talented! Also, it’s a timeless story in which you will undoubtedly find something new every time you see it. I’ve been a part of WICKED for a year and half now, and still find new things in the script and score all the time.
In your spare time between cities what do you find yourself doing?
Visiting my finance, Sara, who’s also an actress. She’s currently on tour with ANYTHING GOES. And cooking, I love to cook.
How do you enjoy being part of a touring show and does your family support your career choice?
I love the road. I love the opportunity to meet new people and see new cities, and even now, having toured quite extensively, going back to revisit cities again. I love food too, and being in new places is always an excuse to try new cuisines.
My family is so supportive and I’m so lucky for it. My sister, Jana, is also an actress living in New York City and both she and I are lucky to have understanding parents who care so much for us and what we do. My mom, Jill, is in charge of a credit union and my dad, Don, is a retired Santa Ana firefighter who now is a dean at a college; they both come from fields of work where pay checks are a regularly scheduled event. Right now I’m incredibly fortunate to be working with WICKED, but the stereotype is true, we actors don’t always know where (or when) the next check may come.
Outside of Wicked, what are some of your future endeavors?
Of course, I want to have a successful career as an actor be it continually working on the stage or in film or television, but I also want to have a family. Ideally, I’d like to get to a point where Sara and I can support a family by doing what we love. We’ve both been so fortunate to work consistently in the business (knock on wood) and hopefully we continue to grow our careers… and a family.
Thank you Michael for your time and we wish you the best. “Break a leg” tonight.
It will be a pleasure to see “Wicked, A New Musical” on Thursday February 21 with my follow-up review of the show here. Being a fellow performer, who has toured around, it brings joy and happiness when I see someone with such passion and support come in to their own and shine at what they love. I feel it is one of the things I miss about touring; the love of a new place, new friends, new food and most important new memories.
The best of life to the “Wicked” cast. See you on stage.
See “Wicked, A New Musical” at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts February 20, 2013 – March 17, 2013.
Follow my adventures in entertainment in Southern California on Twitter @SCThrillsMarc.