Wicked The Musical Backstage

Amazing post by our friends from Wicked-tumblr blog FuckyeahWicked. Thought it was great to repost this.

Things I learned on my backstage tour at Wicked.

by clareironbrook:

– the Grimmerie is the most commonly stolen prop. The entire thing is hand made- the pages are calligraphed by a man in Germany, who sends them to a man in Italy who binds it with leather.

– The show has its own fabric mill which manufactures every piece of fabric in every costume, with custom dye lots. This means every costume internationally is identical.

– The company that made the green glass bottles went out of business, so the show bought every one they had left, to last for the rest of the years the show runs.

– The tour brings every piece of equipment they need with them, down to extension cords. The theatre provides nothing but the house and the electricity. (If the theatre cannot provide enough electricity, they rent generators and hook them up outside.)

– The dragon (“Norbert” after original Fiyero, Norbert Leo Butz) and the Oz head are made out of the same type of fiberglass as lightweight airplanes, and manufactured by the same prop shop as Saturday Night Live.

– The moving parts on the Oz head are operated by a modified bicycle. The brakes are the eyes and mouth.

– They use rope lights hidden behind sets to signal actors’ entrances.

– Large props and set are suspended overhead when not in use to save space. (Over my head after the show was the ‘Thank Goodness’ podium, Fiyero’s cart, and the ‘Defying Gravity’ lift, among others…)

– The “corn” is wrought iron and silk flowers.

– Glinda’s dress cannot be machine washed or dry cleaned. To wash it, a dresser puts it on and stands in the shower while the other dressers clean it by hand.

– Elphaba’s Act II dress is so heavy that the show travels with a physical therapist, who occasionally waits in the wings to ‘readjust’ the actress in-between scenes.

– Glinda’s stunt wand (for the Munchkinland scene) is made on a felt base so it can’t break when thrown on the stage. There are $5000 worth of rhinestones on it. The regular wand has even more, and is made by the same man in Pennsylvania who makes the crowns for the Miss America pageants.

– There are two pieces of music from the Oz film in the show. One is “Over the Rainbow” (“Unlimited, my future…”) and the other is “If I Only Had A Brain” (Fiyero’s underscoring near the end of the show)

– The radio control that “magically” moves Nessarose’s chair can be interfered with by helicopters and low flying planes. After an actress lost control of the chair and went into the orchestra pit, chair and all, every wheelchair is installed with a ‘kill switch’ for use in emergencies.

– The center track in the stage that pulls the Oz head and the bed is operated by a ‘linear plug’ that operates those by computer and provides the power for the lights and sound in the Oz head. (Tried to look this up online afterwards and couldn’t find it. It was a 10-pin plug, about a foot long) The belt that pulls them is made of Kevlar.

– Memphis, TN was the fastest turnaround for the 2nd national tour- they returned faster than they have to any other city. (It was #6 and #25, just over one year apart)

– Casting is currently in progress for the Amsterdam production 🙂

(Thanks to the stage manager who led the tour…I can’t find his name now… “How can I ever express my gratitution?”)

Ooh, I wondered what the string of lights was for (in San Francisco, they were red). I figured they signaled some sort of change in scenery but it seemed like sometimes they were on at more random times.


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