For the next four weeks, witches and munchkins will be in Oklahoma courtesy of the cyclonic and record-breaking Broadway play, “Wicked.”

Oklahomans involved in the national tour include cast members Don Richard, who attended the University of Oklahoma; Todd Hanebrink, who was a member of the Tulsa based music group RAZE; Lauren Linville, Nathan Peck and Jeremy Duvall, who all graduated from Oklahoma City University; and Eric Cornell, assistant company manager, a graduate of Union High School in Tulsa.

Cast member Ted Ely took a break from the national tour schedule to talk about the play. Each night of the tour and twice on some show days, Ely plays a munchkin named Boq.

According to Ely, the Grammy and triple Tony and six-time Drama Desk award-winning play is for everyone.

“Wicked is a show that can touch people from any age,” he said. “The little girls and boys that come to see this show are so happy afterwards. Even the adults say it’s an amazing show.”

What connects with people are the characters and how they change and grow in relationships, he said.

“I have had grown men tell me they have cried watching the play,” he said. “Everyone takes something from it, and it’s remarkable to see. The show brings people together, no matter the age or gender.”

Ely said he has met people so enamored of the play they wear costumes and makeup when they visit at the stage door in search of autographs from the performers.

On the surface, the play relays the pre-Dorothy arrival of two sisters — one with emerald skin and a fiery temperament, the other fair and popular. The sisters eventually come to be known as the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.

“(‘Wicked’) deals with differences and fear,” Ely said. “So many things that we, as a society, battle with every day. Differences in culture and color, everything.”

For him, the musical represents a lifelong love of theater and passion for performance.

“I had grown up being really fascinated with the entertainment industry and putting on shows for family members during gatherings,” he said. “Me and my brother and other cousins would perform for family, and then I went to my first musical, ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’”

After that, in Ely’s words, it was over.

“I was infatuated and got the book and soundtrack,” he said. He was so interested, he continued to perform musical theater in high school, where, he said, “I had a vision that I would do it for life.”

It’s accurate to say that dreams do come true and they require hard work, Ely said.

“I am a firm believer that if you want to do something and succeed, you do everything you have to do to succeed,” he said. “First off, there can’t be any indecision or doubt. You just have to go for it as hard as you can and take your classes and get as much training as you can in singing, dancing and acting. The biggest part is attitude and really giving your best and doing you best with everything that is thrown at you.”

Ely credits his success to the efforts of a high school teacher.

“I was lucky enough to have a drama teacher in high school who taught me that as an acting perspective there is nothing irrelevant,” he said, adding that though math and science are not his favorite subjects, they allow him and his characters to be well-rounded.

Ely has also appeared in “High School Musical,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Fiddler on the Roof” and holds a master’s in fine arts in musical theater from the University of Michigan.

For more information about “Wicked,” visit www.wickedthemusical.com.

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