Wicked Returns To New Orleans
An interview with star Amanda Fallon Smith
NEW ORLEANS – The widely popular musical “Wicked” is set to open again in New Orleans next week. For almost the entire month of October, guests can experience the original story of the witches of Oz during the Hancock Whitney Broadway in New Orleans 2019-2020 season.
“Wicked” is one of my favorite productions. The story of someone so misunderstood, who just wants to be accepted and loved is a feeling many can relate too. And, it doesn’t hurt that the music of Stephen Schwart is truly magical. Ahead of the opening, I wanted to get a look inside the production from someone who knows it well. I interviewed star Amanda Fallon Smith, who plays main character Elphaba’s sister Nessarose, to find out more about the musical, her experience with the show and its arrival in New Orleans.
Additional information on the show can be found in a previously published press release on the announcement here.
Kelly Massicot: How would you describe “Wicked?” What’s the hook?
Amanda Fallon Smith: I would describe “Wicked” as the true, untold story of the witches of Oz. It’s a beautifully written story that allows the audience to view a well-loved classic from a totally different perspective.
KM: What’s your favorite part about being in this production of “Wicked?”
AFS: “Wicked” was the first musical I ever saw, so I’ve been dreaming of being a part of this show since middle school. I love getting to share the magic and message to thousands of people every night, knowing that they’re really taking this journey with us. Meeting the fans after the show and hearing how it resonates with them really warms my heart and reminds me of 7th grade me feeling the same way.
KM: What’s your favorite song, or moment, during the show?
AFS: My favorite part of the show is actually the opening number… from the very first chord the orchestra strikes, it’s like being shot out of a cannon and into our world! It’s epic, dramatic, fun and beautiful all in one number. I still get goosebumps hearing it every night.
KM: For people who have seen “Wicked,” is there anything new on this tour or can they expect the same amazing production they know and love?
AFS: I think the great thing about “Wicked” is that there is ALWAYS something new people notice when they come. I love hearing from our fans at the stage door “I’ve seen this show X many times and I never noticed THAT thing before!” Aside from the fact that the show is so layered and detailed, every few months we have new actors cycling in that bring a fresh perspective and take on the characters!
KM: Why do you think “Wicked” resonates with so many people?
AFS: I think that “Wicked” resonates with people because the heart of the show is universal. Our theaters have been packed in over 100 cities in 16 different countries, because everyone understands the need to be accepted. What I love is that they leave knowing how to see the beauty in someone different than themselves, to “not judge a book by its cover,” you could say.
KM: What is it about “Wicked” that keeps people come back again and again? (This will be my fourth experience and I am equally as excited as the first three times!)
AFS: I actually saw “Wicked” FIVE times before auditioning for the show, and like you, always had butterflies sitting in my seat because I knew I was about to be transported to a different world. This show takes you on a journey with so many emotional arcs, that you easily find yourself relating to a certain character or storyline. Of course, there’s also the sheer spectacle with our Tony award winning costumes, sets and lighting, choreography and memorable tunes. It’s equally moving as it is entertaining.
KM: What do you hope people take away from “Wicked”?
AFS: I always hope that when our audience leaves the theatre, they are inspired to look at what it really means to do “good.” We definitely live in an adversarial time, and it’s important to question authority, not take things at face value, and embrace diversity and differences. THAT is what “Wicked” is all about.
KM: Have you been to New Orleans before, and what are you excited to experience in the city?
AFS: I have not been to New Orleans yet, but it has been on the top of my travel list for years! I am so excited to experience the history, jazz, a ghost tour (I’m definitely a paranormal junkie) and, of course, the FOOD!