BWW Interview: Curt Hansen of WICKED at The Smith Center
The Broadway sensation Wicked reveals the backstory of the Land of Oz and how two friends became frenimies. The beloved musical returns to The Smith Center Sept. 11-29.
While the world may not have appreciated Elphaba, the smart, fiery, talented young woman born with emerald-green skin, two people will love her. One is Glinda, and the other is the Winkle Prince Fiyero Tigelaar. Despite obstacles and challenges, Fiyero and Elphaba fall in love. While people struggle to find acceptance, Wicked is a timeless show about what so many people face in just being themselves. BroadwayWorld.com spoke with Curt Hansen who plays Winkle Prince Fiyero Tigelaar about transforming from a vain teen to a thoughtful being.
The book is darker than the musical adaptation. How do you feel about that?
Curt Hansen: I think about the fairy tales written by The Brothers Grimm. In their version, Cinderella's foot is cut off so it can't fit the glass slipper. But most of us know the beloved versions presented. Our show does present the main version and stays true to it.
While you have a long history with Wicked, what else have you done?
Curt Hansen: This is my fourth Broadway show. I appeared in the closing cast of Hairspray in 2009. I was the understudy in Next to Normal and then performed in the first national tour. I joined Wicked the first time six years ago and toured, appearing in Las Vegas in 2013. I have been performing in Wicked off and on since then.
What makes Wicked so special to you?
Curt Hansen: I met my wife during my first tour of Wicked in Philadelphia. I love the show and this character especially. I am my best self when I am playing Fiyero because his character brings out qualities that sometimes I feel I lack. It is interesting that his philosophy is dance through life and don't sweat the small stuff. I need to keep this in mind for my own life. Portraying him has helped me not to take my life so seriously.
The Wizard of Oz is a classic for the 20th century, and many consider Wicked to be a classic for the 21st century. How do you feel about that?
Curt Hansen: I have been lucky that I have been able to do shows such as Hairspray and Wicked. Whenever I mention the show, most people have heard of it. On a different level, my wife's family are not performers, and it seems to legitimize me. Since I have never been in a movie, when I say I am in Wicked, everyone smiles. The play itself has transcended time with its poignant story of characters dealing with conflict and adversity.
What is the difference between performing in the same theater and performing in different theaters on tour?
Curt Hansen: This is my fourth national tour, and I prefer touring. I think the quality of the show on tour is better because the cast and crew are living the show in a sense. While you connect with the cast and crew going to the same theater, the bonds are tighter traveling together. Also, it is interesting to see how audiences in different places respond to the show. We were in Eugene [Oregon], and the crowd was more subdued. I know the audience in Vegas will show their enthusiasm and interact with the show. The themes represented are universal for everyone.
Wicked recently celebrated its 15th anniversary and has been awarded over 100 international awards including the Grammy Award and three Tony Awards. Wicked has been performed in over 100 cities in 16 countries and has been seen by nearly 60 million people worldwide.
Wicked returns to The Smith Center Sept. 11-29. For tickets, visit The Smith Center Box Office, call 702-749-2000, or online at www.thesmithcenter.com.