“Wicked” returns to UT’s Bass Concert Hall


Eleanor Dearman

A day before “Wicked”’s return to Bass Concert Hall, 13 semi trucks drove up to the theater. In the trucks were all the contents necessary to bring the show to cities nationwide: 10 tons of equipment, several hundred lights and one truck dedicated solely to transporting costumes. 

The plot of “Wicked” acts as a prequel to the classic story “The Wizard of Oz.” It follows the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, and the Good Witch of the North, Glinda, as they go to school and learn to be friends despite their differences. 

Kathy Fitzgerald, who plays Madame Morrible, said UT students should see the show because it’s something everyone can connect to.

“The girls are exactly college-aged,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s a gorgeous story about college-aged friendships.”

At each new location, the cast is allowed about an hour to run through important elements of the show. These rehearsals tend to focus mainly on sound since the acoustics of each theater vary.

“They’ll walk the stage while doing it and mark the choreography to get familiar with the space and the sound,” production stage manager Ryan Lympus said.

The musical travels with 70 crew members and pulls 100 additional crew members from Austin residents who work in the field. 

“At every city, you have a whole crew of locals who — maybe some of them have done the show when it was here in the past — but maybe they’ve never seen it before or they’ve never done it,” assistant stage manager Colleen Danaher said. 

Some students even have the opportunity to work behind the scenes on “Wicked.” Lympus and other members of the crew will have UT students shadowing them during the musical’s three-week run at Bass Concert Hall.

“If students took the time to reach out to us through the right contacts, we’re happy to help,” Lympus said.

The students who work with “Wicked” could end up in professional Broadway tours, similar to Danaher, who graduated from UT in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre and dance.

“I graduated from the theater department, and I stage-managed in our building, and I stage-manager an opera in our smaller theater, the McCullough,” Danaher said. “And so to come back and be a stage-manager here is crazy.”