Broadway Show Brings Big Payroll To Tulsa

Tuesday, July 14th 2009, 7:37 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A big Broadway show is bringing a big payroll with it to Tulsa. Wicked opens Wednesday and The News On 6 went behind the scenes before opening day.

The stage already looks full at the Performing Arts Center, but there's much more outside waiting to come in.

Much of the heavy lifting is done with local muscle.

"This is four weeks of steady work, eight shows a week, so that's a good paycheck, a good deal," said Mike Sherrill, a stage hand for Wicked.

A couple dozen stagehands will help the traveling stagehands keep the show running.

That's a big job because Wicked has a big cast and lots of scene changes.

The company closed the show out in Memphis Sunday night and will open in Tulsa Wednesday night.

On the technical side, Wicked is about as big as any show that comes to Tulsa. It takes 14 semis to haul all of the wardrobe and equipment, yet the crew can load and unload it in just 48 hours.

"This is what we call a mega musical. It will be here four weeks," said Larry Payton of Celebrity Attractions.

Payton says Wicked compares in scale with Phantom of the Opera or The Lion King.

"Music is wonderful, the special effects, it's an evening of entertainment that people come away spellbound," said Larry Payton.

While local stagehands will get some temporary work out of Wicked, Union High School grad Eric Cornell has traveled with the show for 3 years.

This is the first time it has played in Tulsa and he wants it to be just right.

"Everything from the costumes to sets, it's made by the same people who made the originals, so we're always bringing the audience the same show, no matter where you see it in the world," said Eric Cornell, an associate business manager.

The impact of Wicked on stage is as big as the impact on the economy.

Celebrity Attractions expects to sell 75,000 seats for the four week production. The show opens Wednesday and runs through August 9th.