Kyle Dean Massey's Wicked Life
The popular actor discusses returning to the hit Broadway musical, his experience in Next to Normal, and his new Off-Broadway role.
THEATERMANIA: You had one week off in between Next to Normal and Wicked. How was the transition?
Kyle Dean Massey: Really great. I did double duty during the last week of Next to Normal. I had Wicked rehearsals during the day and then Next to Normal performances at night. It was smooth and easy.
TM: How were your first few performances?
KDM: It has been a little crazy. It is like being shot out of a cannon. Wicked is such a big show. I think I forgot how spectacular everything is; there is so much happening on stage. The set is huge. Now, I am making those adjustments. The environment is different than Next to Normal, but at least I know almost everyone in the show.
TM: Is it a challenge to come in as a replacement in a show that has been on Broadway for over seven years?
KDM: It is always hard coming in as a replacement. You are hardly given any rehearsal time. I've been a replacement in three Broadway shows, four now with my return to Wicked. You are given a short time to learn everything. Sometimes, you are also coming into a show where people have been doing it for years and it can be intimidating. After the first week, you feel a lot more comfortable. I had the luxury of understudying the role for almost 1,000 performances. That made it a lot easier going back into Wicked.
TM: When did you get word that the production had an interest in you returning to the Broadway cast?
KDM: I found out that they were having Fiyero auditions for another company, not for the Broadway cast. I wanted a shot at the role, but I didn't want to go on tour. After Joe Mantello saw me in Next to Normal, I decided to blindly audition. They had a spot that opened on Broadway, and I didn't know. It was a great surprise.
TM: What is your take on the character?
KDM: He sings a whole song about dancing through life and not caring. He is a very compassionate character, but a carefree kind of guy. You see that he is very passionate about setting things right and making good.
TM: Why do you think the show is such a huge hit after all these years?
KDM: It has this universal appeal. People love the sets, the costumes. It is a complete package show. It gives people what they want and I'm happy to be onstage and give it to them.
TM: There have been many great actors who have played Fiyero over the years. Do you have a favorite?
KDM: I would say Sebastian Arcelus. I was doing Altar Boyz at night and rehearsing for the first national tour of Wicked during the day. I was rehearsing with the Broadway cast, so I got to see him go on a few times. I thought Sebastian was great.
KDM: That's hard because the last thing is always the highlight. I've been in New York City for a few years now. I got to work with a lot of great people. Looking back and thinking that I was able to work opposite both Alice Ripley and Marin Mazzie in Next to Normal was amazing.
TM: You were recently cast in the Off-Broadway premiere of Lucky Guy. How did that come about?
KDM: I was in Toronto at the opening of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, because my boyfriend is in the cast, and Todd Ellison came up and told me about this musical he was working on and told me I should be in it. My dream is to be a country singer. It's my first time originating a show in New York. I want to get in there with a cast and go through the process.
KDM: My character is a guy from a small town in Oklahoma. He wins a song contest and gets a trip to Nashville to record the song. He hits some bumps along the way. His song is called "Lucky Guy."