'Wicked' casts a spell on Chicago

    A decade after its original run on Broadway, Wicked is ready to celebrate its 10-year anniversary in Chicago starting Oct. 30–Dec. 21. Curt Hansen, who plays the handsome and charming prince Fiyero, weighs in on the benefits and challenges of touring with the internationally acclaimed musical. 

    This is the second national tour that Hansen, 24, has traveled with. From 2010 to 2011, Hansen toured with rock-musical Next to Normal playing Gabe, the son of a woman living with bipolar disorder. He also appeared in several television roles, making a cameo in Big Time Rush and appearing in CBS’s The Good Wife. His résumé boasts an impressive repertoire of TV appearances, Broadway roles, readings and regional theater. 

    With a national tour comes a slew of challenges, but Hansen is no stranger to moving from city to city. He enjoys exploring new cities and discovering their individual culture and personality. When asked about the challenges in touring, Hansen was quick to outweigh the pros over the cons.

    “Touring itself is hard. Luckily, we’re in a lot of cities for a really long amount of time. It’s just enough time to fit into a routine and find a local coffee shop and make a mini-life while you’re there,” Hansen said about adjusting to new environments. 

    For Hansen, touring gives him the opportunity to blend in and experience a city as a local. “It’s cool being able to explore new places and being able to compare cities and how each city has its own energy,” Hansen said. Travelling comes with its downfalls, though: “You don’t have that sense of home. You have to learn how to make wherever you are your home.”

    Aside from travelling from city to city, Hansen explained that rehearsing is practically nonexistent for tenured cast members. Hansen went through two weeks of rehearsals before the tour, but since then has not gone through many. Most rehearsals only occur when a new cast member is introduced.

    That does not mean Hansen does not get to discover new facets and intricacies in his performances as Fiyero. Despite Wicked’s history, Hansen is still able to develop and grow as an actor while he performs on stage through the interpretations of different directors. “What’s made [the show] so successful for so long is that it hasn’t gone stagnant, that [the directors] really do care about the show – they keep it fresh, they change things,” Hansen explained. 

    Wicked stole the nation’s heart 10 years ago when it shared the magical, untold story of Elphaba – a misunderstood young woman who became infamous as the Wicked Witch of the West. The musical explores Elphaba’s journey in befriending Glinda, who becomes the Good Witch of the North, falling in love and affirming her own individuality. Hansen plays Fiyero, the handsome prince with whom both Elphaba and Glinda fall in love. It’s a tale of unlikely friendships, being different and asserting one’s identity that develops a backdrop for audiences to better understand The Wizard of Oz.

    Fans of the musical need not fear – there will be no drastic changes to Wicked for its 10th anniversary. For Hansen, what keeps the show timeless is its ability to consistently entertain audiences and deliver a constantly evolving and unique performance. 

    Hansen shared a word of advice for both veterans and newcomers to the show: “For people who are seasoned with the show, keep an open mind to look for new things. I’m still discovering new things everyday when I see the show… For the people who [are seeing] it for the first time, just enjoy it.” 


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