Kicking off the New Year in style, or celebrating the end of 2016, PLOS opens its production of Wicked this New Year’s Eve at the Frankston Arts Centre. Theatre People spoke to director Danny Ginsberg about his favourite moments of the show leading up to opening night, ‘expanding the bubble’ and taking on the mammoth show.
“PLOS has a great tradition of taking on big shows with a great family appeal, and this one fits the bill so perfectly” he said.
“The company has created such a great name for itself along the peninsula and is well know for bringing top quality production at half the cost of traveling to the city to see a professional show. They do nothing by half, and this show proves that”.
Ginsberg thoroughly enjoyed the audition process for the show. “I love the blank canvas you have; it’s like deciding on which colors your going to paint with. I also love seeing all the incredible talent that walks in and being thoroughly entertained” he said.
The show features Nadia Gianinotti as Elphaba, Britni Leslie as Glinda, John Tacey as the Wizard and Jennie Kellaway as Madame Morrible, to name a few, as well as a strong cast of featured perfomers, ensemble and pit singers to round out the massive sound of the Steven Schwartz show.
“Rehearsals have been challenging, fun and everyone has worked super hard” said Ginsberg.
“The production team knew this show was big, but it wasn’t till we started rehearsals that we all realised just how big. The cast has taken on this show with great passion, dedication, and commitment. I’m so proud of each, and every one of them, and the individual characters shine through in everything they do”.
One of the production team’s favourite moments was the cast seeing the sets come to life, it was like kids seeing Santa for the first time.
“We’ve thrown some big challenges at this cast along the way, such as working with a multi-level revolve and uneven stage, and they have taken on every challenge we have thrown at them and embraced our way of presenting Wicked” he said.
“Our vision for this show is all about “Expanding the Bubble.” The audience has an expectation when they see this show, you have to have the “big blue dress,” you have to believe in the witches’ journey, Elphaba has to defy gravity” he said.
“But if you can then do some things that delight and surprise, outside the bubble of expectations, then you really WOW and audience. Without giving too much away, I hope that’s what the audience gets”.
“The level of detail is something incredible and shouldn’t be missed, from each individual costume to amazing detail in wigs, makeup and props. The set is hugely detailed and that is something I can’t wait for people to see!”
Ginsberg is proud of how hard the cast has worked, and how the show has come together.
“The first time we did a full run of act one, there was a lot of nervousness, as we’d had many separate rehearsals. We ran the act; didn’t need to stop. We got to the end of Defying Gravity, and Nadia (who plays Elphaba) dropped to the floor in a comic faint! They couldn’t believe how much had been done and achieved and how far everyone had come” he reflected.
And what a way to celebrate 2016 and welcome in 2017, than opening a show on New Year’s Eve.
“The shows always sell out. I think this has become a great family tradition for some. We open to 800 people on NYE at 5 pm, and everyone is out in time to go and have dinner or off to their NYE party. It’s such a joyous way to send in the New Year. I love that starts both ends and start a year. It’s such a thrill to be part of”.
You’ll have to be quick to snap up the last tickets to Wicked, as the season has nearly sold out. Wicked plays at the Frankston Arts Centre from 31 Dcember 2016 to 7 January 2017, tickets from: http://artscentre.frankston.vic.gov.au/Whats_On_-_Buy_Tickets/Wicked