Wicked returns to Philly for the fourth time since 2010.
Buoyed by popular demand, Broadway’s Wicked is now in its fourth appearance in Philadelphia since 2010 at the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music. The story takes place prior to any mention of Dorothy and her loyal dog Toto, following two characters that will ultimately become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch. Philadelphia Style caught up with Molly Braverman, assistant stage manager and Lower Merion native, to learn more about what happens behind the curtain.
Are you excited to be part of such an outstanding play, performed in your hometown? MOLLY BRAVERMAN: I am thrilled to be a part of Wicked, especially as it arrives at the Academy of Music. I grew up attending children’s concerts at the Academy with my grandmother—it is one of the first places I watched and fell in love with the arts. It is incredibly special to return to the theater as a stage manager with Wicked.
What is it like to be behind the scenes of Wicked? MB:What happens behind the scenes during a show is an entire show itself. There are, in fact, far more people working in the wings of Wicked than you see on stage! Every costume change, set move, prop hand-off, and other technical maneuvers that happen 'in the dark' are just as choreographed as the dancing you see happening in the limelight. Working behind the scenes in the midst of that energy is a thrilling experience, and the constant motion of the work makes it as exciting—if not more so—than what is happening on the stage itself.
Have you ever been a part of a national Broadway tour before? MB:Wicked is my first national tour, and I quickly learned that working on a tour is unlike any other theater experience I had previously encountered. Moving a show around the country comes with its own unique set of possibilities and challenges. While the show itself remains the same in every city, the theater, backstage space, climate, and countless other factors all change in each new location. It takes an amazingly skilled crew and precise planning to load the show out of one theater and into the next and maintain an unparalleled consistency both on and offstage.
Lastly, what can audiences expect from Wicked? MB: Wicked is a true Broadway spectacle, but it is not just spectacle for spectacle’s sake. All of the wonderful special effects and magic used in Wicked help further a meaningful story, so audiences can expect the spectacle of a big Broadway show with the heart of a small, intimate production.
Wicked plays through August 4 at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., 215-893-1999. Tickets ($40-$155) are available on kimmelcenter.org.