Cleveland, OH - Northeast Ohioan Bridie Carroll returns to Cleveland this December when she performs at the State Theatre of PlayhouseSquare in the national tour of “Wicked”, running December 4, 2013 – January 5, 2014.
“Wicked” is the story of the land of Oz – before Dorothy. There, a fiery and smart but misunderstood emerald-green skinned girl becomes unlikely friends with a beautiful, ambitious and very popular girl. The tales unfolds to show how they become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.
Bridie Carroll took some time to answer some questions for Examiner.com. Here’s what she has to say about growing up in Ohio, and about being on tour.
Kate Miller: How long has it been since you've been in the Ohio / Cleveland area?
Bridie Carroll: The last time I was in the Cleveland area was May of 2010 at the Palace Theatre, closing a 2-year engagement with the First Broadway National Tour of the musical “Grease”!
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?
BC: I went to Hudson High School (participating in swing choir, choir, and thespians), Coventry High School (2-year performing arts program) as well as performing at Barlow Community Center, Aurora Playhouse, and Weathervane Playhouse.
KM: Did you grow up in an arts-based family? And did you always want to be a performer?
BC: I did not grow up in an arts-based family but my younger brothers briefly followed in my footsteps, and my youngest brother still dabbles, though took a music route in Nashville. I did always want to be a performer. I remember being 5 or 6 and putting on shows for my extended family and dreaming of living in Times Square because I thought that’s all New York City was!
KM: What was your audition for "Wicked" like?
BC: I had a vocal audition and read sides, then came back the next day to dance. My original audition was months prior to me booking the job. I didn't get it that first time it got down to me and one other girl. Then I got a phone call 7 months later to come in as an immediate replacement for an injury and that was 18 months ago.
KM: When you found out you were going to be on the tour, what were some of your first reactions?
BC: Luckily, having been on a tour before I knew how to prepare and what worked and didn't from the last time. I was excited to go back and visit some of the cities I had been to before and some I hadn't seen yet. There are only a few states now I haven't been to! And of course I was thrilled to come back and play Cleveland!
KM: What are some of the first things you like to do when arriving in a new city?
BC: Honestly, first and foremost is a good grocery store and finding the gym. I am a diabetic and adhere to a strict diet so I like to make sure I am prepared for our opening weeks which consist of 8 shows in 5 days and feel settled in. Once all of that is accomplished, I like talking to our local dressers and seeing what recommendations they have. But honestly I have been to most of the cities we play so a lot of times I already know the cute coffee shops or sights to see. If you are lucky, you will have friends or family in these cities and get to spend some time with them as well.
KM: Tell me about your role(s) in "Wicked".
BC: I play Shen Shen, one of Galinda's best friends and one of the "mean girls" to Elphaba. I also understudy Madame Morrible. The ensemble takes on numerous characters throughout the show and is constantly transforming to help tell the story so it’s fun to be 4 or 5 different people a night.
KM: What's your favorite thing about the story of "Wicked"?
BC: My favorite thing about the story is probably the story! There is so much in this show: music, costumes, sets, technical effects, etc... and they are all spectacular, but the story of the two witches and their friendship is the most heart-warming and touching part for me.
KM: Why should Clevelanders come see the show?
BC: Why shouldn't they? Clevelanders should come see the show because no matter what age you are, male or female, you will get something out of this show. There are so many incredible moments, music, and sights to see. You will take the story to heart, or be in awe of the costumes, or shocked by the technical elements, or laugh at the comedy. It’s a fantastic show to bring your family to, and for the holidays what could be better?
WICKED FUN FACTS
• The dragon’s eyes are red LED bulbs that never burn out.
• The dragon’s wingspan is the same as a Cessna 172.
• The “life casts” for the animal masks take 2-3 hours, and the person loses most of their senses (smell, sight, hearing, speech) during that time.
• The show has 90 wigs, using 70 during any given show. All are made of human hair, and made individually for each actor, using their own hairline in the front.
• During the first big “quick change”, 17 actors change from the mob to students in 1.5 minutes (including costumes, wigs and shoes)
• There are 179 different types and finishes of leather used in shoes, gloves, hats and costume trim for “Wicked”.
“Wicked” will play December 4, 2013 – January 5, 2014 at the State Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. Purchase tickets in person at the PlayhouseSquare ticket office (1519 Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland), online at www.playhousesquare.org or by calling 216-241-6000.
Do you have a Cleveland performing arts story? Contact KATE MILLER at KateMillerExaminer@yahoo.com. For consideration, please introduce yourself before forwarding your release or launching your pitch.