Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz Book: Winnie Holzman Author of Original Novel: Gregory Maguire Directed by: Joe Mantello Musical Staging: Wayne Cilento Scenic Design: Eugene Lee, Susan Hilferty Scenic Construction: Terry Murphy Scenery Lighting Design: Kenneth Posner Electronic Effect: Howard Eaton Lighting (The Wizard head) Levitation Effect: Delstar Engineering Sound Design: Tony Meola Projection Design: Elaine J. McCarthy Hair & Wig Design: Tom Watson Make-Up Design: Joe Dulude II Producers: Marc Platt, David Stone, Universal Stage Productions, Jon B. Platt, The Araca Group UK Executive Producer: Michael McCabe
Scenic Automation on Wicked – from Stage Technologies website
This highly successful, long-running musical at the Apollo Theatre in London relates the spin-off story of the witches from L. Frank Baum’s children’s favourite, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Stage Technologies and Delstar Engineering were contracted to work automation wizardry for this immensely popular, magical musical.
With the story focussing on the tale of two witches, the performer flying needed to be nonpareil. Trusses and control were designed for all overhead tracking effects, including a flying bubble-making contraption and a dramatic levitation trick. Scenery is flown using counterweight-assist winches and also slides in from the wings on floor tracks, while automated lighting ladders are lifted up to let them pass. Sliding panels with turning cogs, a spinning throne and of course the yellow brick road, are other notable features of this highly automated show.
Performer lifts enable dramatic entrances and exits and a heavy, scenic bridge, controlled by two BigTow2-390 winches, is flown down just in front of the proscenium. The winches were built in situ in the venue’s organ loft due to their size.
Acrobat control desk
MaxisMX control system
2 BigTow2-390 winches
12 BigTow2-290 winches
3 tracking trusses
5 stage tracks
2 performer stage lifts
Hydraulic performer levitation device
The Wizard head is on a track travelling upstage / downstage centre
The blackboard is on another pair of tracks
Benches are brought on using two curved tracks downstage.
Elphaba is lifted during ‘Defying Gravity’ on a hydraulic platform, which has a safety barrier built-in, which she locks into place as soon as she’s in position. If her costume gets trapped in the lock mechanism, the automation system will not allow the movement to take place, and she’ll be signalled to go to an alternate choreography which takes place at stage level. Lighting also has an alternate set of cues for this event.