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After Print - NME News: "WICKED" Makes a Second Appearance at Popejoy Hall

Semi truck after semi truck grace their presence onto the UNM campus. Inside each one, a total of 14, carries the treasures of the untold story of the Witches of Oz. WICKED, the Tony® Award winning musical is back for a second engagement in Albuquerque. For the first time, press was given the opportunity to look behind the curtain and see what makes this amazing show tick.

WICKED, based on Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel of the same name, inspired by the Wonderful Wizard of Oz story, gives a different prospective of the Witches we've come to know - Glenda the Good Witch of the North and the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, who become unlikely friends and turn the story of Oz we've become familiar to on its ear. WICKED is celebrating their 10th year on Broadway and as a national tour. David O'Brien, Production Stage Manager on his third year wrangling this show, shares that setup is quick, getting ready for opening night. "The show approxiately takes 30 hours to set up. We travel with 14-15 trucks total. We set up the majority of the set Monday and Tuesday, put on the finishing touches on Wednesday to prepare for the opening show Wednesday night."

When it came to shows that O'Brien would leave New York to do, WICKED was one of them. He jumped at the chance to take on this lavish production and cast of characters. "There are 100 working on the setup right now. Not all of them will stay for the run, but for the 30 hours it takes to put the show in, we'll have those people. Then a lot of those going away, and then, in the running of the show, we have approxiately 80 to 90, including cast and orchestra." He shares that the top notch crew and actors, some who also took part in the Broadway show, help energize the large group, which surprisingly has great comradery.

O'Brien also shared his love of the message behind the show - a message of bullying, acceptance and tolerance. "The bullying in this show happens to someone who's slightly different. Elphaba is more than slightly different, she's green - and tough - and to have Glinda really dislike her and then to see it all turn around, it's a great message of acceptance - of stepping back and looking at somebody for who they are and not what they look like. I would love to say that message will not be needed in the future, but it probably will be.

This show, running at Popejoy Hall from September 17 - October 5, has some magical moments. O'Brien shared that some of his favorite moments included the transformation of Elphaba to "The Wicked Witch" in the song No Good Deed. "She gives in to accepting what everyone says about her and kind of at that moment, the Wicked Witch is born. It's kind of a saddening moment because she's surrendering." Without giving away the ending, O'Brien also shared that he loved how the musical wraps up everything when it comes to the relationship of Glinda and Elphabab.

When it comes to what O'Brien want the audiences to feel when they leave the theater, two answers came to his mind. "First of all, the message of the show. We want to make sure our cast conveying the message is clear, because it is such an important message with the bullying and all of that. But also, in a theatrical sense, I want people to walk out saying 'Wow, I really want to see a Broadway show."

Performances for WICKED will begin on September 17th. Tickets can be purchased at the UNM Ticket Offices, select area Albertson's locations, or online at or Popejoy Hall will also be having a lottery for $25 seats for the run of the show.

Come out and witness the spectacle that is WICKED.

tWitch Cover Story
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