'Wicked' returns to Salt Lake City for 2 months of theater magic

Published: Wednesday, July 9 2014 12:00 p.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, July 9 2014 1:04 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — A little piece of New York has arrived in Utah as Broadway stars begin taking the stage for the $14 million dollar production of "Wicked."

"Every night I’m proud of this," production stage manager David O’Brien said. "It's absolutely one of those magical experiences that people walk away from and feel like they really saw something that the would have traveled to New York to see."

Fifteen trucks arrived Monday, carrying the stage, $2 million worth of costumes and the magic only Broadway shows can produce. One hundred local workers were hired to help set the scene for the play and get the Capitol Theatre ready for opening night on Wednesday.

The popular show was first performed in 2003 as a prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" explaining how the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch came to be.

However, fans of the play have walked away with much more than just the typical satisfaction of seeing a Broadway musical, O'Brien said.

"It’s been a very popular show because of the themes behind the show. People of all ages really enjoy it. Kids enjoy it because of the characters, but they also get the themes behind the show, which involve bullying, acceptance and skin color," he said.

Grossing more than $3.9 billion, Wicked's popularity has not diminished over the years. The Salt Lake run will mark the third time "Wicked" has touched down in Utah's capital.

For the folks who didn't make it to the theater during the first two tours, the show is full of unexpected surprises.

"The music is great, the score to the show is fantastic. … In one viewing it’s virtually impossible to see everything, to gain everything that comes from the show," O'Brien said. "Everybody I know that has seen it more than once has said the second viewing is maybe more magical then the first."

The "Wicked" cast will be performing eight shows a week for the next seven weeks, giving Utahns ample time to buy tickets and see the show.

"It’s nice to bring such a popular Broadway show to places outside of New York and come to places like Salt Lake City where we bring Broadway to the Midwest and the West," Emerald City Company Manager Steve Quinn said.

"It’s a great story about friendship, and a great story about acceptance. I don’t think that anyone’s ever lived through life and not been the green girl at some point."

Email: mcollette@deseretnews.com

Twitter: MirandaCollette

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