Behind the Scenes on Wicked
So much goes into creating a world-class Showbiz production before you see it on the Isaac Theatre Royal stage. Years of planning and designing; months of casting, building sets, costumes and props, and rehearsing; and thousands of hours of work from a dedicated and talented team of volunteers and industry experts.
Here are some of them at work behind-the-scenes on Wicked.
Our Wardrobe team leader is Di Brodie QSM, a hugely experienced and longstanding member of the Showbiz team, as well as a member of the Showbiz Board.
Di and her team worked closely with Wicked Director Stephen Robertson to overhaul and refurbish a set of costumes which arrived in late 2017 from an international production. Many hours have also been put into sourcing new pieces, sewing, beading, fitting and adjusting to complete the 1200 costume pieces that are needed for the show.
Wicked Wardrobe Assistants: Sue Beardsley, Violet Blay, Fiona Buckley, Annette Bunting, Linda Burr, Ailsa Cleghorn, Julie Collender, Alan Collins, Allison Collins, Amy Collis, Jan Cosgrove, Avril Davies, Holly Diepraam, Sarah Douglas, Anne-Marie Gilmore, Elizabeth James, Mary Kirby, Emily Maunder, Marie MacGibbon, Charlotte McNulty, Elizabeth McNulty, Racheal Mountstevens, Vicki Morris-Williamson (Millinery), Kath Preston, Bronnie Rate, Liann Scott, Pamela Stephens, Jan Stuart, Bernie Taylor and Madeline Weed.
Emerald City Millinery
Hats are a special feature of the costumes for the Emerald City townspeople in the show.
Millinier Vicki Morris-Williamson has made and refurbished 30 of them, with design input of Director Stephen Robertson. Read more about Vicki and her hats here.
Hair and Makeup
The Hair and Wig team is headed by experienced hairdesser Sarah Greenwood-Buchanan. Sarah is also a performer (she plays Madame Morrible in Wicked), a Showbiz board member, and is currently studying make-up design at ARA. We just don't know how she manages to fit it all in!
We are very lucky to have Angela Pethig as our Head of Makeup, she's the one responsible for making sure Elphaba is the right shade of green. Angela is lecturer at ARA, as well as an award-winning makeup artist, working on TV, fashion and film shoots.
Sarah and Angela are assisted by Alexis Blair, Jamie Boyd, Zoe Buckland, Deirdre Fell, Patrice Hammond, Linda Harris, Daisy Harrison, Haruka Anna Ito, Madeline Jamieson, Rilee McGlynn, Shawny O'Brien, Courtney Russell, Nickie Wellbourn and Jackie Wills
Set design and construction
The Wicked set has been designed by Christchurch designer Harold Moot (Priscilla, Jesus Christ Superstar, Legally Blonde, Chicago) with additional design by Chris White.
Parts of the set from an international production have been incorporated into the design, and have undergone extensive refurbishment to meet the needs of the Isaac Theatre stage and new design.
The rest of the set has been built by Christchurch set construction company, Scenic Solutions.
Theatre Pack In
Two weeks from opening night the set arrives at the theatre in containers, along with road cases of costumes, props, lighting, sound and AV.
A team of volunteer crew, along with teams from Scenic Solutions (set), Pixel (AV), The Light Site (lights) and BounceNZ (sound) 'Pack In' everything needed for the show under the control of the Head Mechanist, David Bosworth of 4thWall Theatre Services.
When the curtain goes down on final night, the teams immediately reassemble to 'Pack Out' of the theatre.
This big team consists of:
Lighting Design: Grant Robertson –The Light Site; Sound Design: Glen Ruske – BounceNZ; AV Design: Dave Spark - Pixel; Head Mechanist: David Bosworth; Head Flyman: David Gill; Head of Lighting: Darren McKane; Sound Operator: Glen Ruske – BounceNZ; Sound Rig: Ben Rentoul; Production Manager: Johnny Morris
Lighting Assistants: Jodie Badham, Alexandra Le Cocq and Erin Thorne
Fly Crew: Fiona Bennetts, Mike Hann, Jareth Paulsen and Robert van de Water
Stage Crew: Graham Davies, Chloë Ellis, Matthew Fagan, Jacob Fagan, Don Gillanders, Shaun Gilmore, Nicholas Glanville, Zoe Loffhagen, Andrew McCabe and Solomon Rose
Radio Microphones: Michael Buckley, Andrew Comerie and Megan Liddell
Under the baton of Musical Director Richard Marrett, the Wicked orchestra consists of: Michael Story (Bass) Iain Brandram-Adams, (Cello), Mitchell Thomas (Drums), Heather Webb (Guitar), Julian Weir (Horn), Matthew Everingham (Keyboard), Hamish Oliver (Keyboard), Alison Holden (Keyboard), Will Ernest (Keyboard), Craig Given (Percussion), Matthew Lee, (Reed), Susan McKeich (Reed), Georgina Rees-Stevenson (Reed), Pablo Ruiz Henao (Trombone), Cameron Pearce (Trumpet), Iain McLachlan (Trumpet) and Lucienne Shelley (Violin).
The orchestra comes together for full rehearsals a couple of weeks before the show opens. However, they work on their pieces separately before hand. During cast rehearsals, a musician called a 'Repetiteur' provides keyboard music, and for Wicked our repetiteur was William Ernest.
Percussionist Craig Given has the most instruments to play - up to 60! Many of them are weird and wonderful, and he has to either source them from overseas or make them himself. Read more about Craig's percussion story here.
The cast of Wicked came together for rehearsals before Christmas 2017, with our four lead actors joining us in late January 2018. Rehearsals start in the evenings at the Showbiz Studios before moving into the theatre a week before the show opens.
And much more
Keep visiting this page for more glimpses behind-the-scenes. We haven't even covered the Backing Vocalists, Props Department, Stage Crew, Front of House and Marketing Departments yet!
Heather Lee Wilcox (above) with play Elphaba on alternate nights alongside Rebekah Head (below) as Galinda.
Jane Leonard (above) with play Elphaba on alternate nights alongside Ellie Neal (below) as Galinda.