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Monday, January 18, 2010

Every Monday is a vacation day!

Greetings, Fearless Readers,

Today is Monday, and so is my first official day off!  And not just because it's a holiday!  In the theater world, your work week spans from Tuesday evening to Sunday afternoon.  We at WICKED adhere to the "Broadway schedule," which is eight performances per week (one every night except Sunday and Monday)-- with matinee (afternoon) shows 2PM Wednesday and 2PM Sunday.  So, essentially, we have our weekend va-cay from Sunday around 5PM until our half hour call on Tuesday at 7:30PM.  Weeeee!

How have I spent my day thus far? Well, I woke up feeling rather dehydrated and so sneaked down to the adjoining Starbucks and loaded up on water and tea. I did this all without getting out of my pajamas, but rather sheathed myself in a long wintery coat before wandering down, half asleep.  I then scampered upstairs and back into bed.  Housekeeping be damned!  I live and die by my Do Not Disturb sign.  Ah, hotel living. Then I had a ridiculously long video chat with my illustrious LDBF (long-distance boyfriend).  And now I am still in bed. Writing this post.

Sooner or later I will be productive, and will review the comedically complex dance routine I finished learning yesterday with the assistant dance captain Allison.  She is way cool and talented, and swings into several ensemble parts when they need covering (remember all that understudying terminology we went over?).  Rehearsal with her was grueling, but also reassuring, because we reviewed and clarified all of the super tricky parts.  It felt kind of like going over a baffling calculus equation again and again, except each pass through, I was expected to embody, through dance, the different variables and operations. Luckily, Allison is great at explaining the dances in quasi-literary terms that I find quite helpful, like: "In order to space it out, imagine you are each standing at the tip of a flower petal," or, "in this moment, it is like you are unfurling a flag, except you are the flag." Things like that.

Other cool news is on Saturday I didn't have any formal rehearsal, so was given the chance to watch the show from backstage!  This was REALLY NEAT-O.  Yes: neat-o.  Here are general impressions and a disordered smattering of details...

The set is so cool up close!  So much more intricate and detailed than I had ever imagined.  Obviously, it looks fantastic from far away, but the magic does not dissipate under closer inspection.  On the contrary, watching up close made me appreciate even more its elaborate details and ingenious designs.

The cast is so fun and chill backstage.  No one freaks out or is hyper-intense about getting to places, or super rigid in their off-stage demeanor or etiquette.  This is not to say that they weren't professional-- on the contrary, it made them even more professional, I'd say, because there was this sense of ease, comfort, and confidence, that made being around everyone such a joy.  My favorite moment of cast member interaction occurred when I was offstage left in the most downstage wing, huddled between a curtain and stairs that lead up to the time dragon gear proscenium frame, and Patty Duke (who plays Madame Morrible, and also happens to be one of the most accomplished actresses living today) just randomly appeared over my shoulder and gave me tips on how to peek through the curtain at the show without being seen!  She was so friendly and cool!  And then, moments later, she promenaded onstage to do her scene.

Random behind-the-scenes technical stuff: the stage manager calls the show (<-- this means, basically, calls out the light, set, and sound cues-- every cue, really-- and announces over headset, live, to other members on the technical team when to employ said cues, so that everything is synchronized with the actors) from offstage left.  The set pieces frequently are automated and roll in and out on tracks, or grooves, in the floor.  However, once they roll offstage, it's up to the stage crew to detach them and attach whatever is coming on next.  The stage crew is really badass.  They are so indispensably helpful to the cast.  For example, after "Defying Gravity," the stage goes dark because it's a blackout for the end of Act I, and as the cast is exiting through the wings, each stage crew member shines flashlights so everyone can see where he or she is going.  Brillz!  Oh, and super cool and random: if you've seen the show, then you know the moment when Nessarose's wheelchair magically rolls itself around toward Elphaba.  I always wondered how this was done, and on Saturday, I found out: a stage crew member stands off right and moves it by remote control!  Insane!

Anyway, many more details to report on, and as I continue to watch the show this week I will be sure to record other stuff in the blog.  In terms of what's ahead: I think at some point in the next few days I'll get to learn some staging on the actual stage stage.  Which will be rather exciting, I should think! 

Well... back to lazing around / contemplating all the things I must do today.  I hope everyone -- not just in the theater world -- is enjoying the Monday off!

Very truly sincerely,


  1. You are too funny. Love your blog.

  2. Thanks for doing this! I've been wondering lately what's it like day-to-day for Wicked cast member. (Saw it in NYC-August 2009-Listen to the soundtrack over & over! :)
    I travel the country doing shows w/an Eagles Tribute band so I'm fascinated w/behind-the-scenes stage stuff-especially about my fav musical! All the best!

  3. I didn't have the Monday off. No MLK day for Canadians :(

  4. Hey! You have an amazing blog. Just felt that needed to be said. I love your humor and your writing style.

    I'm the prop master for my drama class...but during performances I am the entire crew (stage manager, prop master, set master, dresser, makeup retoucher, you name it it's part of what I do). It's a bit of a combination between herding kittens and directing airplane traffic with those orange glow things. xD

  5. Catching up on the blog - how COOL about Nessa's wheelchair, I'd wondered. That scene is tied with my other favorite scene - No Good Deed (AKA a Song of Death)(See, I paid attention to your book!)

    Coming up out of the floor screaming Fieyro and the intensity that insues is out of this WORLD!!

  6. Whoa; awesome about the Wheelchair!