A ‘Wicked’ good time at the Buell theater starting April 23
April 19, 2012 | 12:00 pm
(Updated: February 22, 2013 | 7:25 pm)
When Out Front Colorado learned Wicked, one of the most popular shows in the canon of the American musical theatre, was returning to Denver, we had to let the LGBT community know when to get on the horn for tickets.
Kevin McMahon graciously accepted our invitation for an interview. McMahon will be playing the Witch’s father and the Ozian Official as well as understudying the roles of The Wizard and Dr. Dillamond. This actor is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory, member of Equity and has played in national tours of everything from Sweeny Todd to A Little Night Music and The Full Monty.
Based on the hugely successful novel by Gregory Maguire, which is in turn based upon The Wizard of Oz and sequels by L. Frank Baum, Wicked features glorious music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Two of the incredible numbers to look forward to are: Galinda’s crowd-pleasing “Popular” and Elphaba’s jaw-dropping number “Defying Gravity” at the end of Act One.
Here is what McMahon had to say about the show.
You have done lots of National tours. How does this one with Wicked stack up in that line-up? What makes it special?
There is no tour like Wicked. You’re right, I’ve done lots of touring, including the first (and only) National tour of the Tony award winning City of Angels. We would pull into a city and pray they marketed the show well, so there would be an audience. Wicked has entered into the rare rank of shows that people want to see over and over again. We play to enthusiastic sold-out crowds and that is one of the reason this tour is so fresh. With Wicked, we also have the luxury of usually playing a minimum of four-week engagements.
Touring is hard, but settling into a city for at least a month, softens the blow a bit and allows you to create a semblance of normalcy.
As the understudy for the part of Dr. Dillamond, what are the challenges in performing the role of a singing goat professor? Does it relate to the opinions of bleating heart gay liberals like myself?
One of the biggest challenges is eating the paper (Elphaba’s offer to share her lunch) in the scene and then going right intro the song. Because I don’t do it every night, I haven’t perfected my paper eating technique. The taste and texture reminds me of communion wafer. Growing up in a strict Catholic home, I recall being forbidden to chew the communion so when the paper gets stuck to the roof of my mouth, I just go on and do the scene with it stuck there and deal with it later. Some things are too ingrained in the brain to overcome!
But seriously, Dr. Dillamond is an activist, and no doubt would be an advocate for gay rights. It’s a fun role to play and luckily, I’ve gotten to go on quite a few times.
Why do you think Wicked has become so popular?
First, it’s a smart. funny and well written musical, if it wasn’t quality the show’s popularity would have waned. Second, it’s source material, the novel Wicked, has its inspiration from the iconic The Wizard of Oz. I can’t think of another book/film, with the possible exception in the near future of the Harry Potter series, that is as ingrained in the popular consciousness. And last, the relationship and circumstances between the two leading characters, Elphaba and Glinda, has a resonance and a familiarity that everyone can relate to. Who hasn’t strived to be “popular”? Who hasn’t been misunderstood? The show just works and the creative team behind us makes sure we deliver a fresh performance each and every night to keep it popular for years to come.
I know it’s preposterous to suppose that there might be a Wicked virgin somewhere out there in the Denver gay community. But if there were, what do you think might entice him to fly to the box office?
Have you seen Fiyero’s act one pants? Or the sexy and extraordinarilytalented ensemble, dancing in fabulous (and Tony winning) costumes? How about the fact that we are also raising money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Project Angel Heart while we are in Denver?
If you want to see more of us, in even less costumes, we are doing a one night only production of The Wicked Rocky Horror Show at the Ogden Theatre on April 23. Come see both and experience the true versatility of this amazing and generous company.
This show always sells out so hurry to get tickets now.
‘Wicked’ is playing at the Buell Theatre through May 20, with shows Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and additional matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. For tickets call 303-893-4100 or online at http://denvercenter.org.