Who got the chance to see Wicked while it was in town? The act packed itself up this past Sunday, July 7, and moved on to Texas - but they weren't able to leave town without me high-heeling my way in to their lives. How?
I was lucky enough to be their makeup and hair stylist for professional acting headshot sessions, taken by talented photographer Victor Velazquez. I did natural hair and makeup for photos that the cast could submit for future acting gigs. And over the past few weeks, I was able to spend hours with them and get to know some Wickedly awesome styling secrets.
During their hair and makeup prep, it was common for many members of the cast to break out in song and dance. The "Chimney Sweep" from Broadway's Mary Poppins even came along with his girlfriend (who had a part in Wicked) and showed us a sweet tap dance number in between shots.
The Fashionista styling one of the cast members.
But first, I had to know what they used for Elphaba's (the wicked witch) green face makeup. Becca, who sings in the ensemble (while dangling 30 feet off the ground on a cable) gave me some insight: "Mac Cosmetics actually specifically made a shade of green for the show. It stays on the whole time without caking, smearing or melting under the bright lights. It takes a makeup artist about 20 minutes to paint her arms, face and neck."
And everyone can get ready in about half an hour.
But what about washing it all off? Becca tells us it's not too bad; usually heavily painted cast members just jump in the shower and make sure to scrub really well. But, Becca says, "Elphaba is known to always have a little green left over from the night before, whether it's in her hair or around the elbows."
What about the costumes? Becca tells us that there is a head of the wardrobe department who keeps the costumes in tip-top shape. Everything is fit to each person, including the shoes. The shoes are handmade by four different cobblers around the world and are very finely crafted. Tony award-winning costume designer Susan Hilferty designed Wicked's costumes.
"We also have a full time wig stylist," Becca says. "Thank goodness for him, because he also cuts and colors our real hair while on the road. We keep him really busy!"
The cast travels with their animals, as they work six days a week performing seven shows. And all the lead parts have a back-up actor/actress that can take over during the show at a moment's notice. Most of them now live in New York, and have been performing since they were very young.
What would they do if they weren't in theater? All of them said they'd act or sing in some form. This didn't surprise me at all, as it seemed they never left the stage. It was invigorating being around that kind of energy.
What were they like in person? Well Glinda (the good witch) was a bit angelic in person, too. Her blonde curly hair and high voice definitely fit the part. And at only 27 years old, I can only imagine what she will accomplish next.
Hayley Podschun (Glinda) ready for her close up.
The Wizard of Oz (Walker Jones) walked in to the studio and immediately began to meditate to be prepared for some great photos. He is a small man with a delicate polite voice, but before we knew it he was quoting a Shakespearean monologue while Victor snapped away.
The Fashionista with Walker Jones (The Wizard).
Have you seen Wicked? Who is your favorite character? Comment below! Also, feel free to follow my behind the scenes adventures of hair and makeup on my Twitter @LyneeRuiz and Instagram LyneeRuiz.