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Exclusive Interview with Emily Behny of Broadway Across America’s WICKED!

THE WHIPPING MAN.AEW: Being a part of what most people consider the most landmark musical of our time what sort of preconceived ideas do people have coming into the show?

Emily: I think most people see WICKED having no preconceived notions at all and end up being totally surprised by the plot. Or, others think they are about to see the prequel to Wizard of Oz and though WICKED does tie in familiar characters from the movie, it is a far more intimate look at the friendship of the witches of OZ before Dorothy ever drops in.

 AEW: What moments in the show do you feel the audience most responds to?

Emily: I think audiences really respond to the show-stopping number “Popular” and the spectacle number “Defying Gravity.” Both numbers are hugely entertaining but also drive the story forward. But, I also think audiences are drawn to the more intimate moments, like when Glinda accepts Elphaba and chooses her over her popularity in the number “Ozdust Ballroom.”

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AEW: Besides being the story of the witches from Oz, what is the message for moral for the audience?

Emily: WICKED teaches so many great messages. It explores an unlikely friendship and the power of friendship, standing up for what you believe in even if it’s the unpopular choice and the power of good and evil in society and how its members choose to deal with it. Probably the most important question WICKED proposes is this: “Is wickedness thrust upon us or are people born wicked?” You see each character deal with this theme throughout the show.

AEW: Being that I have seen the show, I know how glamorous and exciting the costuming can be, what is your favorite costume you get to wear in the show?

Emily: Susan Hilferty won the tony award in 2003 for her costume design of WICKED so it’s no doubt that each costume piece, even down to the monkey wings are an absolute work of art! My favorite costume to wear is the Governess dress. It’s beautifully sleek with a high neck, ornate sleeves and beading that expresses the darker, more severe side of Nessarose.

Beauty and the BeastAEW: What is your favorite production you have been a part of besides Wicked of course?

Emily: My other favorite role was Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast National Tour. It was an absolute dream role, dream cast and dream job that I was lucky enough to get right out of college. I will never forget that experience!

AEW: What would you say to the audience members and theatre goers that are on the fence about buying a ticket? What is your best answer on why they should come?

Emily: WICKED is full of surprises! Yes, it’s a Broadway spectacle but it’s also a touching story about the power of friendship, full of love triangles and hilarious twists and turns. You will laugh, you will cry and you will leave changed!

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AEW: What is the most magical and life changing moment you have experienced with Wicked?

Emily: I think one of the most life changing experiences since joining WICKED happened during a post show question & answer session in Kansas City. A WICKED fan was there with her family to celebrate her birthday. She was also in a wheelchair and expressed how much she loved the character, Nessarose and how much she looked up to me. I was inspired by her bravery, courage and determination to live a life full of love and adventure. We have the most amazing privilege to tell this beautiful story each night and impact people like her. It was great to be reminded of that gift.

AEW: What advice would you give to young actors and theatre artist who want to make it to a tour or broadway?

Emily: My advice to young actors is to always be yourself and to never stop learning about your craft but also about the world outside of theatre.

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