Chris Scalzo writes his third Life Upon The WICKED Stage blog about the much anticipated WICKED Opening Night (and the Opening Night Party!) in Singapore….
There really is something truly magical about what I do for a living. Something quite seriously remarkable. I don’t think it has anything to do with being in a show that is literally based around magic – that is just candidly serendipitous. I have always found that when an overture starts, a certain naïve giddiness and perpetual childish excitement completely overtakes the otherwise general sobriety and normality of day-to-day existence.
The truly magical thing is that the newfound excitement alights in the hearts of both the actor and the audience. On a small scale, it is intriguing how the actor can go from talking about their morning to becoming a full-fledged member of Munchkinland at the drop of a baton. But on a broader scale, it is how an audience dispels the difficulties of finding a car park and buying the right sized merchandise to allow themselves to be completely transported.
Moreover, I have always managed, in some way, shape or form to be swept away with the fun factor of my work (though the often somber premise of Doctor Zhivago occasionally proved to make this slightly more challenging), but WICKED has brought all this to a whole new level. I don’t know if it’s the stunning scenic design, the intoxicating orchestrations or the men in skirts…but WICKED really does seem to incite a special aura in cast and audience alike.
Throughout the typically intense period of technical rehearsals, the anticipation and excitement surrounding our Opening Night was enough to get everyone through the long days. Turning up to the theatre on opening night is one of my favourite parts of any run, and this season opener was no exception. Corridors were laden with huge bouquets of flowers, dressing rooms covered in cards and trinkets and the general buzz of nervous energy floated through the air from vocal warm up right until the Oz Map flew out.
On to the best bit though – the Opening Night Party. It was pretty magnificent! As we rushed through the stairwells from the stage after our streamer-filled and glitter-packed standing ovation, it was the typical race for showers, hairdryers and cologne. Half an hour’s worth of clattering coat hangers, bow-tie swaps and shoe horns and we were ready to head up to the party on the top level of the Marina Bay Shoppes.
Through the foyer we travelled as a cast, across the purpose-laid iridescent green-carpeted entryway, before partnering off and ascending into the party on escalators to an announced fanfare! From then on, the evening was a blur of canapés, Piper-Heidsieck and roads of yellow brick leading to all sorts of little magical discoveries. It was a wonderfully fun celebration of all the hard work and effort put in by countless people involved with getting the show open.
Now we have been open and running for two weeks and the audiences are responding brilliantly. Our next chapter… well, apparently it is Christmas time. I have been forced to develop somewhat of a Christmas spirit immunity while being here – and in saying that I mean not that I am a Grinch (the total opposite in-fact!); think of it more as hearing resilient member of society. Why? Well it’s all thanks to the incessant playing of synthesized muzak Christmas songs sung by choruses of bizarre computer generated voices – it’s sort of like actually living inside a Nintendo Gameboy.
Although having said that, I probably secretly love it, which would explain why I am constantly being told to stop singing those very same muzak songs at work. The backstage corridors are their usual flurry of activity, though now the walls are plastered with posters advertising our various company Christmas festivities including a dressing room door decorating competition (stay tuned for the male ensemble’s effort) and a touring company Kris Kringle for Christmas Day.
As I said in my first column – no rest for the wicked. We have two shows on Christmas Eve and two shows Christmas Day which will make the difficulty of being away from one’s loved ones go by just that little bit faster. From the entire company of WICKED, may each of you have a safe and happy holiday season and get ready for next year’s column developments, including some videos, cast profiles and guest writers! Merry Christmas from all in the Emerald City!