Elphaba and Glinda are back! Wicked makes its return to Milwaukee this week. Referred to as “the defining music of the decade” by New York Times, Wicked opens Wednesday, Nov. 4 at the Marcus Center for Performing Arts. The current national touring has been across North America for over 830 weeks, with nearly 16 million people having seen the show.
Wicked tells the backstory of the two witches from Oz before Dorothy drifted into Oz from Kansas. Originally based on the novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire, the story focuses on Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda the Good, as they struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, having the same love interest and reacting to the Wizard’s corrupt government all leading up to the exciting climax that ultimately tests Elphaba and Glinda’s friendship.
On the road, the show uses about 200 pounds of dry ice per show to make fog. There is also about four to five miles of cable used in the electric department to run all of the lights onstage that are part of the scenery. The show uses 70 wigs during each show, of which each are made of human hair and custom made for each actor.
Jake Boyd plays Glinda and Elphaba’s love interest, Fiyero. A film and stage actor, Boyd has appeared in The Sound of Music Live!, Rock of Ages and Carrie The Musical. Boyd recently shared some information about his past acting experience and current tour life to the UWM Post.
Where did you study and why did you decide to pursue acting?
Well, I’m originally from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I ended up going to the University of Alabama, studying theatre there. I knew I wanted to do acting at young age, certainly. I saw a show on a field trip to a community theater and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do from that point on.
How did you get into both film and theatre? Do you have a preference?
I got a degree in Musical Theatre. I always thought that’s what I would do, but I think today you should be able to do them all. When I first got my agent, she got me auditions in both. I didn’t want to limit myself to one medium. To my surprise, film was what I was doing most of. I tend to think I would to TV more, because it’s something different everyday as oppose to putting on the same show every night.
What is one of your favorite roles played in the past?
One of my favorite musicals is Xanadu. I love that show! I got to play Sunny and had a fun time. Otherwise, I was in a new show called Be More Chill that’s based on a young adult novel. It was so fun. I loved working with the company, director and writer. It was an amazing experience and I love it for that.
Do you have any dream roles you would want to play?
Being a theater nerd, I am a fan of the show Kinky Boots. Charlie Price is the role I’d love to do one day.
Tell me about your current role as Fiyero? What’s it liked being in this loved, long-running show?
Well, I joined mid-August. First of all, I love it. Even times when it’s been a long week. But it’s still really great. I’m a theater nerd and when this show came out when I was 15 or 16, I loved it. Now I get to be part of this legacy of a show and I feel so lucky.
Would you ever want to play a different role in the show?
Well, there are no other roles to play until I’m older. But when I’m in my 40s, 50s or 60s, I wouldn’t mind playing the Wizard. He has a nice track.
Do you have any favorite song or scene that you like to do?
I mean, of course I love “Dancing Through Life.” But I really enjoy act two a lot. For my character, it’s where all of the depth comes from. It’s where Fiyero has his change and I get to it show it through acting, which I like best. And I mean, I love doing “As Long As You’re Mine” too.
What is tour life like?
The hardest week is the first week in a city, only because it’s busy and getting used to sleeping in a new bed can be hard. Otherwise, I love to travel a lot, so it’s been great. We usually get time to explore the cities. On Sunday, my boyfriend will be visiting and we’re going to explore Madison.
Have you been to any cool cities yet so far in your tour run?
I’ve got to be honest. I really enjoy Madison. It reminds me of Tuscaloosa…but prettier. I love a college town and in that aspect, it reminded me of my college experience. Like I said, I love to travel, so touring suits me well. I really loved Tempe, just because I’ve never been to Arizona. I’ve not yet been to Milwaukee, so I’m sure it’ll be fun.
What do you think keeps people coming to see this show?
I think people keep coming to see Wicked, because different actors bring different things to each role. They make it their own.
For those interested in seeing what each actor brings to the roles, Wicked runs Nov. 4-15 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are for sale on marcuscenter.org. There will also be a ticket lottery option for anyone. Show up 2 ½ hours before the show with $25 cash for your chance to be drawn for possible seats.