I didn’t want a heart, a brain, courage or a trip back to Kansas. I did ask for an interview, and the Wizard obliged! Stuart Zagnit gave a fabulous portrayal of the lovable yet conceited Wizard, another character who dances on the line between good and evil. Aside from Wicked, you may recognize Stuart from various TV series including The Good Wife, Elementary, Blue Bloods, 30 Rock, Law & Order and more.

Also, this blog features a guest interviewer, my wonderful brother and right-hand-man, Andrew Sinclair! He surprised me by jumping in the interview with his own questions, which I’ve indicated with “AS.” So thanks, Andrew! Now I’m off to sing more show tunes… enjoy!

The Wizard of Oz [Stuart Zagnit]

RS: What is your favorite moment of the show?

SZ: For me, I love my doing my number [“Wonderful”]. It’s my own number that I don’t have to share with anybody, and he kind of tells his story at the same time.

RS: What is your favorite part about your character?

SZ: What makes him interesting is that he didn’t set out to be an evil character. He was well-intentioned. But he fell into something that kind of corrupted him without realizing it… the fact that there was this little bit of innocence behind him that grew into something larger. I like exploring where that takes him. Also, I like the way he draws people to him. I like to explore the charm that gets him the things that he needs.

RS: I would be curious about this for any cast member: Do you basically know all of the lines in the entire play?

SZ: Absolutely not. I think by osmosis, when you hear the show when you’re not on [stage], I probably know a lot more lines than I think I do. But if you asked me to step into another role, I don’t think I’d do very well.

RS: Do you have any plans for the Fourth of July?

SZ: Well, we’re flying to Houston, and hopefully we’ll find a nice place to have a view of fireworks. We travel tomorrow, but the evening will be free.

AS: How long did it take you to learn your lines?

SZ: [Madam] Morrible, Fiyero and I all joined at the same time, and we had about three weeks of rehearsal before our first show. Right before I did Wicked, I did The Producers. I played Max Bialystok, and I was on all night long. He has songs, book scenes… and it’s relentless. I learned it in about 12 days. You have to do it. It’s amazing what you’re able to do.


As Wicked flew out of Birmingham on Sunday night, I got a chance to sit a spell with the actors who bring the life (and a little magic) to two of the most infamous characters in Oz–Mary Kate Morrissey (Elphaba) and Stuart Zagnit (The Wizard).

Mary Kate met and exceeded my expectations in her role as Elphaba. Thinking back to the scene of “Defying Gravity” nearly gives me chills! Aside from her spectacular vocal performance, Mary Kate clearly communicated the character of Elphaba through her every expression, movement and interaction with another character. This was my third time to see Wicked, and I felt that Mary Kate truly tapped into Elphaba’s character by bringing a young and fresh perspective to the beloved star of the show. Here is my Celeb Sit Down interview with Mary Kate!

MARY KATE MORRISSEY (Elphaba)

RS: What is your favorite moment in the show?

MKM: The Ozdust Ballroom when Glinda and Elphaba become friends.

RS: Why?

MKM: Because I think that’s when the show starts. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a show if they didn’t come together.

RS: What’s your favorite part about your character?

MKM: That she’s the underdog and she triumphs. She stands for a lot of people who aren’t necessarily in privilege. She can stand for whoever the audience needs her to be.

RS: If you could be any character for a night, who would it be? I know this is a hard one for you!

MKM: I know (she laughs). I would want to be Elphaba every night!

RS: That’s a great answer!

MKM: I think for one night I’d want to be Glinda. Just for fun.

RS: Is it hard to fly in the harness and sing? (during “Defying Gravity”)

MKM: No. I’m standing on something, so it’s not a harness. I’m standing.

•••

MARY KATE MORRISSEY is currently the Standby for Elphaba in the Munchkinland Tour of Wicked the musical. She graduated from Syracuse University in 2011 with a degree in musical theatre. Her past theatre experience includes Hair! (national tour), Tamar of the River (off-broadway) and Lizzie: The Musical (regional). Keep up with Mary Kate on Twitter at @maryspacekate.

 

The interview with Stuart Zagnit (The Wizard) is coming soon! Follow @1RachelSinclair for updates.