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Behind the scenes of 'Wicked' are some high-tech effects

by Lillie-Beth Brinkman Modified: September 10, 2013 at 6:20 pm •  Published: September 10, 2013
Jennifer DiNoia as Elphaba in "Wicked" sings "Defying Gravity." PHOTO PROVIDED.
Jennifer DiNoia as Elphaba in "Wicked" sings "Defying Gravity." PHOTO PROVIDED.

The Broadway touring production of “Wicked” continues its run in Oklahoma City hosted by Celebrity Attractions, and it’s well worth seeing if you haven’t already. I loved the storyline based on “The Wizard of Oz” and the themes it raised (When is evil not really evil? What makes someone good? Opportunity?), as well as the costumes and sets and many of the songs.

But I also enjoyed the list of behind-the-scenes fun facts sent by Libby First with Celebrity Attractions, many which involved a glimpse of the technology it required to put on. I’d still love to learn more about how directors make the whole show come together some day, but even if they don’t want to reveal all their secrets, here are a few interesting  things from the news release about the Broadway show, which was adopted for the tour.

  • Each show requires 250 pounds of dry ice on Broadway and about 200 on the road.
  • The electrics department uses enough power to supply about 12 houses. If you include sound and automation departments, the total would increase to 18 houses.
  • On Broadway, the show’s electrics department requires eight to 10 miles of cable; the touring production uses about four to five miles.
  • Restringing the flying monkey wings required 1,000 feet of steel cable in its first year on Broadway.
  • The carpentry department on Broadway has about 175,000 pounds of scenery.
  • The dragon’s eyes that audience members see above the curtain on stage uses red LED bulbs that never run out.
  • The dragon’s wingspan is the same as a Cessna 172 airplane.
  • The animal masks worn by the actors are “life casts” that take two to three hours to make, and the person loses most senses during that time — smell, sight, hearing and speech.
  • The show has 90 wigs and uses 70 during any given show. All are made of human hair, designed individually for each actor, using that person’s hairline in the front.
    The Wizard of Oz speaks through this contraption in "Wicked." PHOTO PROVIDED.
    The Wizard of Oz speaks through this contraption in "Wicked." PHOTO PROVIDED.
  • 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 letter used in shoes, gloves, hats and costume trim for “Wicked.”


Read NewsOK’s review of the show.

‘Wicked’ is showing through Sept. 22 at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker.

Show times are7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; matinees at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Tickets start at $35. Organizers are also offering a lottery for a limited number of orchestra seats for $25 (cash only) before each performance. To enter, show up at the Civic Center Music Hall box office 2 1/2 hours before the performance; names will be drawn 30 minutes later.

For information, call (800) 869-1451 or (405) 297-2264, or go to or

by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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