Randy Danson as Madame Morrible in Broadway Across Americas production of Wicked. The show runs May 25 through June 12 at the Orpheum Theater.
* Wasn't Wicked here two years ago? That makes it the quickest comeback for any Broadway musical to return to the Orpheum. And it's by far the fastest to return with a run that stretches through three weekends, Wednesday, May 25-June 12. That doesn't surprise Randy Danson who plays the horrible Madame Morrible, who teaches both Glinda the Good and the emerald-green Elphaba as young witches. The oft-honored actress has toured with Wicked for nearly two years, and “We're visiting most cities a second time.” In Buffalo when we talked, she quickly added, “But I wasn't with the show in Omaha. In fact, I'm looking forward to it because I've never been to Omaha.” Danson is used to playing victims and villains on television's “Law and Order” series, “and I was genuinely sad to see it leave New York” when it went off the air. She grew up in neighboring New Jersey, and “I usually had to travel farther than NYC to get the good roles.” She attended the renowned theater program at Carnegie-Mellon Institute, where she met and married Ted Danson, who went on to star in the long-running “Cheers.” “That was a long time ago,” but she continues to use the name that was hers at the start of her professional career. Highlights include an Obie for sustained excellence in off-Broadway productions and a Helen Hayes Award for the title role in The Good Person of Szechuan . One of the great modern roles, Vivian in Wit, earned her The Barrymore Award. “It was a very, very moving experience. It's hard to find someone who wasn't touched by cancer.” She had dealt with nudity on stage in her younger years, but when cast as Vivian, the cancer victim who rises from her deathbed to step unclothed into the waiting light, thought “really, seriously?” when aware of appearing nude in that powerful scene. “I thought those years were behind me.” Now she's the nasty character who “is kind of the engineer in a lot of ways, pushing the plot forward.” Madam Morrible, who joins Elphaba in singing “The Wizard and I,” first “tries to ride Elphaba's coat tails, then bails on her and brands her as the wicked witch.” With eight performances, including three matinees, in the first five days at the Orpheum Theater, she'll be only slightly less busy the second week, which adds a Tuesday performance but drops the Thursday matinee. Tickets for the Omaha Performing Arts Broadway Across America show start at $39 from ticketomaha.com, by calling 402.345.0606 or by visiting the Holland Performing Arts Center.