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Local Alex Wyse returns to Cleveland in "Wicked" (Interview)

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Cleveland, OH - Cleveland native Alex Wyse will return to his home state of Ohio in December as the national tour of “Wicked” comes back to PlayhouseSquare. Running at the State Theatre December 4, 2013 – January 5, 2014, Wyse is thrilled to bring the “untold story” of the witches of Oz back to northeast Ohio.

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Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the Land of Oz. One – born with emerald-green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. “Wicked” tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, and how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

Wyse had some time to correspond with about his return to Ohio and about the tour.

Kate Miller: How long has it been since you've been in the Ohio / Cleveland area?
Alex Wyse: The last time I was in Cleveland was two years ago. It's been too long, and I'm so excited to come back and visit my first love – Swensons Drive In.

KM: Tell me about your arts community ties from growing up in the Buckeye State. Which local organizations influenced you the most in your career?
AW: I don't think I could have asked for a better arts education than if I'd grown up in New York City. The Cleveland theatre community is smart, adventurous, and nurturing. I worked with Heights Youth Theater, Cain Park, Stagecrafters, The Beck Center, Beachwood Community Theater, Kalliope Stage, Mercury Summer Stock, The Halle Theater, The Cleveland Lyric Opera, The Cleveland Play House, and more. All these places helped to shape me into the performer and person I am today.

KM: Did you grow up in an arts-based family? And did you always want to be a performer?
AW: I grew up in a family that loves and appreciates the arts. They always encouraged me to follow my passions, which is the best thing a parent can do for their child. And I guess I settled for acting because my earliest dreams of being a Magician-Puppeteer didn't pan out.

KM: What was your audition for "Wicked" like?
AW: It was fast and furious, and before I knew what had hit me, I was being fitted for handmade boots.

KM: When you found out you were going to be on the tour, what were some of your first reactions?
AW: A whole mix of emotions! I was honored to be a part of such a great show, but I was sad to have to leave New York. Then I found out I'd be playing my hometown, and I signed that contract. I signed it so hard.

KM: What are some of the first things you like to do when arriving in a new city?
AW: Buy Ramen noodles and go to sleep.

KM: Tell me about your role in "Wicked".
AW: I play Boq, a (remarkably handsome) munchkin who is hopelessly in love with Glinda. However, Glinda does not return my affections. Chaos ensues!

KM: What's your favorite thing about the story of "Wicked"?
AW: The soaring melodies and heartfelt story aside, “Wicked” is wickedly funny.

KM: Why should Clevelanders come see the show?
AW: Because everyone can find something to love… the way I love the Galley Boy at Swensons Drive In.

• “Wicked” uses 250 pounds of dry ice per show on Broadway; it will use about 200 pounds per show on the road.
• The electrics department uses enough power to supply approximately twelve houses. Including the sound and automation departments, the total would increase to eighteen houses.
• “Wicked” uses 8-10 miles of cable in the electrics department on Broadway; it will use about 4-5 miles of cable on the road.
• 1,000 feet of steel cable have been used to restring the flying monkey wings during year one of the Broadway run.

“Wicked” runs at the State Theatre of PlayhouseSquare December 4, 2013 – January 5, 2014. For more information and tickets, call 216-241-6000 or visit

Do you have a Cleveland performing arts story? Contact Kate Miller at


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