By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Broadway smash hit, “Wicked,” opens Wednesday night for a four-week run. “Wicked” is a good witch/green witch story – a prequel to the Wizard of Oz. And it’s easy to tell which witch is which.

Five musicians travel with the show, along with 35 actors and an equal number of stage crew. Dozens of local freelancers are hired part-time. And they need every one of those stage hands to prepare a production like this.

Company manager Erica Norgaard says set-up takes two and a half days.

“Right now they’re setting up stuff that goes up in the air, so all the flying pieces. Next they bring in the floor and all of the props, costumes, and get it ready for the actors when they get here on Wednesday.”

Head carpenter Matt Biltgen is a fourth-generation stage hand. He has it down to a science.

“This particular set is the exact same as New York,” he says, “but the integral parts go together better. It’s more built for traveling. Basically comes right off the truck and goes right here, and we ‘fly’ it. So there’s no down time.”

Erica says the work pays off.

“In order to bring the full feeling of the Broadway company, and the companies that have been in Pittsburgh before, it has to stay big.”

It’s shaping up to be a “Wicked” performance.

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