BWW Blog: Alex Urdiales - Lessons from WICKED
"Good News! She's Dead!!" Just after the curtain opens, those are the first lyrics that jump out at the audience, as the, "Citizens Of Oz." decked out in various shades of green, including emerald, rush onto the stage to celebrate the death of the "Wicked Old Witch Of The West!" Oh how little "They" know. And what I mean by "They," is not only the people of Oz, but the audience as well. By the time the first song has ended to thunderous applause, nothing in the world we know about Oz has changed. I smile as I watch from the back of the House, and I know that, for about the next 2 hours, the audience will find that the Land of Oz, they thought they knew, will change, "for good."
I can still remember the first time I saw Wicked, I was in New York City for the first time in my life, and the whole trip had been a dream. Never in my life, did I think I'd visit the Big Apple. On the final day of the trip, my parents bought tickets to see this show called, Wicked. I really didn't know much about it, I mean I knew it had something to do with the Land of Oz, but that's about it. So walking into the theater that evening, I really had no pre-conceived expectations. I had seen The Wizard of Oz, as a kid, but, it was not one of my favorite movies. As I sat in the sold out, Gershwin Theater, and realizing that I was about to fly into the land of Oz, it was something that I always remember, one, because I was in NYC, and the song, "One, Short Day," will always ring true to those that see it in New York. Also, the fact that Oz was a world that I thought I knew, but, the musical Wicked, changed everything I thought I knew, and made me see Oz in a brand new light. Now, when I watch, The Wizard of Oz, I notice things I had not seen before, and I have a new appreciation for that ugly, green, Wicked Witch of the West.
It's Hard to talk about Wicked without spoiling the magic of show, for whoever reads this blog. I'm a House Manager at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas, which in and of itself, is job I always wanted, but never thought I'd get, Being immersed in the world that is, Theater, is something I have thought of, from the first time I watched a show at The Majestic. As a House Manager, I'm responsible for theater patrons' safety. I also have the good fortune, of working for the tech department at The Majestic. In that capacity, during the run of Wicked, I was able to work backstage, and had the opportunity to actually watch rehearsals, and it was one of these times something happened. At one point, the Company Manager, Holly, walked into our office, and I saw her struggling with a large amount of mail that had arrived addressed to the Company. Always the gentleman, I offered to help her carry the parcels, and letters, and she seemed grateful for my assistance.
As we walked through backstage, which was bustling with activity as behind the scenes people worked to help the show run smoothly, we talked about shows that have appeared at The Majestic, and shows that were in the works. I mentioned, that I read a blog by Ken Davenport, (which if you don't read you should start), and Holly was amazed I knew who Ken Davenport was. We arrived at the Company Management office, and Holly thanked me for my help. Ryan, another Company Manager, thanked me as well, and we struck up a conversation. One thing lead to another, and after talking about theatre for awhile, Ryan asked the question "So do you want to help us?" At first the question seem odd, but of course I said "YES!"
So from that time, until Wicked's run ended at the Majestic, I was a busy, but happy man. In the mornings, I helped start rehearsals for Tech Department, later in the morning, I worked with Holly and Ryan, to get ready for their summer run in Canada, and working as House Manager at night, kept me so busy, that I was not able to see the show as much as I would have liked.
The last day with the Company Mangers, there was a full run through rehearsal and Ryan asked me as it started "Would you like to see it?" I again said "YES!" excitedly. Sitting in an empty, Majestic Theatre, with only a few other people, the run-through started and I again sat there in awe, like I did the first time I saw the show at the Gershwin, in New York, just like the thousands of people in San Antonio, that saw it for the first time, during this run.
I sometimes wonder why I was so in awe, of seeing the show, and feeling like it was the first time, and feeling that same, awe, that I felt the first time I saw it at the Gershwin. I feel like it's two things, first, for that moment, I was, even in some small way, a part of this wonderful show. Secondly, I felt as though, I was transported back in time, to that moment, when I sat in the Gershwin, watching the show for the first time, and knowing, that I wanted to work in theatre, for the rest of my life, and realizing, after that show, I would be "changed for good."