Daniel Downing’s Top 10 Things You Should Know As A WICKED Swing …
- The swings in Wicked cover all the ensemble tracks (10 male and 10 female tracks), with the vocal swings covering some of the minor principal roles as well. The swing team is broken up into three sections- Vocal, Dance and Crossover. We have 2 onstage swings and 4 offstage swings.
- The show is recorded on a regular basis for Archival purposes. The swings use these recordings as a reference point and a study tool to make sure we’re going to the right spot, lifting the right girl or exiting in the correct wing.
- Even though there are very defined male and female roles in the show’s ensemble, it’s not unusual for a male swing to play a female ensemble role or visa versa!
- Swings have their own set of beautiful costumes, which are as unique and individual as everyone else’s. It doesn’t matter who we are on for, we wear our own set of costumes.
- As an offstage swing, I am lucky enough to be able to watch the show whenever I’m not on. We are also allowed to watch from the wings. There are two great vantage points- one on either side of the stage- at which we can get a “bird’s eye view” of the stage which helps with watching formations and on stage traffic.
- Almost every week, we have one day where the swings and understudies come in and do a show run/rehearsal. The swings choose one ensemble role to rehearse for the entire rehearsal which helps keep the memory in check.
- In an ideal situation, a swing will get a phone call 3 hours before a performance telling them what role (if any) they’ll be going on for for that show. However, the beauty of live theatre is that no performance is ever the same, which means that ANYTHING can happen. Mid-show cast changes sometimes happen, so the swing team need to always be ready in case of emergency.
- As an offstage swing, when you’re not onstage, as long as you’re in the theatre, you can do what you like! Whether that be watching the show from the audience, having a chat to our backstage crew or watching your favourite episode of “Will and Grace”, so long as you’re keeping one ear and one eye on the show as it’s happening!
- It took about 3 months to completely learn everyone’s tracks. During the rehearsal period, a swing has to work 10 times as hard as everyone else so they can learn the roles as quickly and efficiently as possible
- Unfortunately, there is no real secret to being a swing in Wicked. Everyone’s brain works differently. It’s almost like a “mental filing cabinet”. Trust in yourself that you know exactly what you’re doing, but also trust in the cast and crew around you that they will look after you and help you along the way.