'Wicked' set to enchant spectators at Wharton Center
When Timothy Parker steps out on stage Wednesday night, he might be difficult to recognize.
In order to portray his character Dr. Dillamond, Parker, who is a cast member of the Broadway musical “Wicked,” must wear a mask, making him look like a goat.
“Every role that you do as an actor presents its own challenges, and this one has its inherent challenges,” Parker said.
For the third time since 2007, the Grammy and Tony Award-winning production “Wicked” will return to East Lansing. The show will open at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall and run until July 8.
“It’s probably one of our most popular shows,” Wharton Center’s Public Relations Manager Bob Hoffman said.
“Wicked” tells the tale of two girls — one who is smart but misunderstood and the other who is beautiful and popular — and their relationship as it develops throughout time. These two girls later become known as Elphaba and Glinda, the two witches of Oz.
“Ultimately it’s what happens before ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” Hoffman said. “There’s the wicked witch and the good witch, and this is kind of their story.”
Parker has been acting as Dr. Dillamond, a talking goat and professor who suffers a mysterious death, for about seven years now, and although the role is a challenging one, Parker said he was grateful to be included in the show.
“I was thrilled to have the opportunity to do it,” he said. “I was just really happy to be asked to be a part of it.”
Because the plot of “Wicked” explores what it’s like to be misunderstood — something Hoffman believes everyone can relate to — he said this show is one that anyone can enjoy.
“It’s one of those shows that hits all ages brackets no matter where you are,” he said. “It’s an incredible story.”
But Hoffman said college students especially can appreciate the production’s message because it hits close to home.
“I think MSU students can relate to it because college is a transitional time,” he said. “Here they are going off to a new place to discover who they are and the uniqueness of themselves.”
Elementary education junior Abby Soble saw “Wicked” in Detroit with her family about four years ago, and she said she was so impressed with the performance that she would see it again if she had the opportunity.
“I like musicals and seeing shows, so the whole thing was really nice,” she said. “It was a big production, so it was good.”
Soble said she enjoyed the show because it introduced her to the untold story of what happened before the events detailed in “The Wizard of Oz.”
“It portrayed a whole different side that the audience didn’t know from the original,” she said. “I think that’s what drew me into the story.”