Several stars from the national tour of “Wicked” are coming to Pikeville on Monday, Nov. 29, for the third installment of the Appalachian Center for the Arts’ Broadway Masterclass series.
The App, in partnership with the University of Pikeville’s Performing Arts, will hold a masterclass at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 29, with check-in beginning at 5 p.m. The class will feature Natalia Vivino, who plays “Elphaba (Standby),” Sharon Sachs, who plays “Madame Morrible,” and Travante S. Baker, who plays “Chistery.” The musical “Wicked” is based on a book by Gregory Maguire and tells the story of Glinda the Good Witch and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, before Dorothy comes to Oz.
During the masterclass, participants and observers will have the opportunity to listen to Sachs and Vivino perform a song from the show, and the duo will talk about how an actor trains to perform songs and dialogue for the stage. Then, Baker will lead participants in a combination of dance moves from the show, and there will be a question-and-answer portion for all three stars at the end of the event. Although participant spots are sold out, there are observer spots available for the public. Tickets are $10.
Sachs said that they will be able to share their perspectives on what it is like to be a working actor in a show like “Wicked.”
“They’re curious-minded people, as we are, so they’ll likely want to know what it’s like to perform this show, be on the road and be a professional, and we’ll open it up to their minds and see what they want to know so they feel a little bit closer to being a professional that their goal mind is,” Sachs said, regarding the question-and-answer time.
During the pandemic, she said, she and the other performers have been unable to do as much outreach in schools and give as many question-and-answer sessions to audience members after their shows. During the masterclass at the App, masks will be required, and it will be one of the first kinds of classes and events that the performers have given since beginning the tour.
“The pandemic’s been really weird. We used to do a lot of Q-and-As. In every city, we used to do more than one, and certainly, we would have outreach and go to schools,” she said. “Since we’ve been back this time around, we haven’t yet scheduled those things because so many restrictions are in place for us, as well as the institutions. So, this is a first for us on the road so far.”
Sachs said that she is thrilled to have the opportunity to mentor during the class. She said that the theater allows for people of all talents and art forms to work — both on stage and backstage with woodworking, painting and designing, among other areas — and she hopes that students will come to listen and take part in the event to learn more about the profession.
“It’s not just performing,” she said. “Over 100 people are employed in our show backstage nightly and on the tour, and it’s important to know that those jobs are available to people who are seeking to continue to tell stories for a living.”
The App’s Executive Director Robin Irwin said that she was grateful for Sachs, Vivino and Baker for coming to teach the class on Monday, and she was also grateful to partner with UPike’s Performing Arts program to hold the event. She said she wants students to know that the theater profession, whether onstage, backstage or through marketing, is an available option for employment.
“Any form of storytelling is beautiful and matters and has significance, but this is just an option,” Irwin said. “This is Wicked; it’s a story that everyone knows and loves, and all of these people with different trade skills and craft skills are employed in this business. It’s a way of life, it’s a lifestyle and these people — Sharon (Sachs), Natalia (Vivino) and Travante (Baker) — are working at the highest levels of the theater.”
For more information, call, (606)262-4004, visit, www.theapparts.org, or visit the App at 218 Second Street, Pikeville.