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WICKED Musical currently playing on tour in Denver, CO (till Aug. 25) and moves to San Francisco, CA (from Aug. 28)

Mark Jacoby plays the role as the Wizard in the touring production of the smash musical “Wicked” at The Buell Theatre. Reporter Adam Goldstein caught up with the stage veteran to get his take on the musical’s popularity.

Mark Jacoby plays the role as the Wizard in Wicked

Mark Jacoby plays the role as the Wizard in Wicked

As a cast member who’s been with the touring production of “Wicked” for more than a year, can you speak to the durability of the piece? What is it about the show that’s made it such a reliable money maker since its debut in 2003?

I’ve thought a lot about that, to tell you the truth. I think first of all, this is going to sound ridiculously mundane, but it’s really good in every department. All of the elements of stagecraft are there. Nobody leaves the theater thinking, ‘I didn’t get my money’s worth.’ The other thing I would look at is this very compelling friendship between these two women. It starts with friction and ends with love. The other thing that brings people in is the other worldly, paranormal nature of it. It’s not anywhere, USA. There’s something about that that captures people.

This is a story that’s seen plenty of adaptations. How do you think the musical juggles references to the original L. Frank Baum book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” with subsequent retellings? Do you see any links to the film from 1939 woven into Maguire’s source material?

My favorite single aspect of the show is the very ingenious and clever way in which the story is layered over the ‘Wizard of Oz’ story that we all know so well. There is sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes symbolic references to that story. I think it’s delightful. One of the conceptual problems is that most of us are more familiar with the movie than we are with the book. The notion that the whole thing is a dream is not part of the original book. It’s presented as a real story. The question then is to what extent are the factual elements of the book and the movie part of our underpinnings. That’s an ongoing question. Playing the Wizard, the question is, am I that guy that Dorothy met in Kansas or am I not? Is this a different notion? Things like that are ongoing. There’s much discussion backstage even after seven years.

Speaking of the Wizard, the character has seen several incarnations and portrayals in film and in literature since 1900. In “Wicked,” the character takes on a much more sinister aspect, a quality drawn from Maguire’s book. How do you approach the Wizard’s motivations and actions in tackling the role?

I’m always surprised when somebody comments about the Wizard being the villain of the piece. I think very few villains see themselves as villains. True villains, as a rule, don’t see themselves as such. I think the Wizard is a very simple guy, a very ordinary man who, due to circumstances beyond his control, found himself in an extraordinary situation where he became feared and deified in Oz. Being a simple man, he rode with it. He got himself carried away. As he says, ‘What can I say, I got carried away, and not just by a balloon.’ It’s an easy thing to do when people imbue you with supernatural powers.

The interview by reporter Adam Goldstein {Via}

Wicked play at Temple Buell Theatre continue through May 20, 2012. Get $10 OFF on Wicked Denver CO Ticket Orders of $350 or more by using code #SpringSavings at Checkout.

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Buy Tickets to see Wicked!

Buy Tickets to see Wicked!