Wicked Returns to the Wharton Center

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The benefits of Broadway and the people who make the production possible.

What happens when a courageous green witch with incredible powers and a spunky blonde with a sparkly wand cross paths? A three-time Tony Award winning Broadway blockbuster is born. Performed in over 100 cities and 14 countries around the world, Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz is making its return to the Wharton Center for the fourth time since 2007.

For three exciting weeks, Elphaba and Glinda are back and better than ever as they share their story of friendship, hardship and life in the wonderful Land of Oz.

Bob Hoffman, public relations manager of the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, is one of many eager fans waiting for Wicked’s return to East Lansing. Not only is the musical filled with timeless songs for any generation to relate to, the story’s theme can be appreciated by audiences everywhere.

“Wicked is really about learning not to judge,” Hoffman said. “[It’s about] learning to open your heart and learning that there might be a friend that is completely different from you.”

Other than what the storyline itself has to offer, Hoffman shared alternative benefits of bringing a production like Wicked to East Lansing.

“Economically, it’s great for this region,” Hoffman said. “When you bring in a mega-musical like that, you’re bringing millions of dollars into the community.”

In addition to ticket sales, Hoffman commented how the cast and crew spend their money at local businesses, an added bonus one might not normally think about. “Even if you’re not seeing Wicked, you might be feeling the effects of Wicked.”

Hoffman went on to state the grander impact theater can have on people. “You’re going to be introducing Wicked to a new generation of people who have never seen it before, and having them fall in love with something so powerful can really change lives.”

Hoffman then relayed a story of a Wharton Center volunteer meeting a fourth grade boy who had absolutely no interest in theater. After the volunteer showed the boy how his passion for carpentry could be seen on the stage, Hoffman recalled that, “It gave him [the boy] something new to think of. He could be in theater because he could build things with theater, which is what his interest was.”

Similar to the little boy’s new found gratitude for all that goes into a Broadway production, Hoffman stated the other positions we should be grateful for when attending a show. “There are so many people that are a part beyond the stage, the hairdresser, the makeup artists, the stagehands, the dressers, the people who do the laundry … There’s a whole village of people that put our stuff together.”

Ultimately, a Broadway show without its production team, makeup artists, costume designers and everyone in between is like Michigan State’s football team without its defensive coordinator, personal trainers or water boys. The show would simply not go on. So as we thank the wonderful people behind the stage, make sure you don’t miss out on Wicked: the Untold Story of the Witches of Oz playing at the Wharton Center Nov. 9, 2016 through Nov. 27, 2016. Buy your tickets now at whartoncenter.com or call 1-800-WHARTON.

 

Diana Nicoletti is a senior pursuing a double major in professional writing and creative advertising. When she isn’t typing away, she is jamming out to Fleetwood Mac and discovering new albums to spin on her record player, appropriately named Stevie. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @dnicks23.

Elizabeth Weitzel is a senior majoring in english and professional writing, with an interest in editing and publishing. She loves to put her editing skills to use as a consultant at the Writing Center at Michigan State. On gameday, you can be sure to find her in the student section cheering on the Spartans.