Kristoffer Cusick – Something Wicked This Way

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Q.  What are the current projects that you are working on?

A.  Currently, other than playing the role of Fiyero in the Chicago Company of WICKED, I am working on writing my own show.  Since we are still in the tech/rehearsal process of WICKED, I have not had much time to focus on it, and being a perfectionist I don’t want to say too much about what the show will be about or how it will be done until I am a little further along in the process…but I will say that I am VERY excited to get it all together.

Q.  Can you tell us a bit about the play Wicked and your role for those who aren’t familiar?

A.  Wicked, for those people that don’t know much about the show, is slightly different than the book (of the same name) written by Gregory McGuire.  The show is a sort of “prequel” to the WIZARD OF OZ.  The show follows the story of Glinda “The Good” Witch and Elphaba “The Wicked Witch Of The West” and their relationship as they meet in University.  The two forge friendships and deeper relationships with many other characters such as Fiyero, the Winkie Prince that they both fall in love with ( my role 🙂 ) as well as Boq the munchkin and Nesserose “The Wicked Witch Of The West”.  The humor and political satire appeal to a much more sophisticated and educated audience while the simpleness of the love stories and friendships  as well as the lavish sets, lighting and costumes, appeal to all audience members both young and old. 

Q.  What made you want to be a part of this project?

A.  The role of Fiyero was a part that I was drawn to for a few reasons.  First off…I loved the music and Stephen Schwartz is nothing short of genius.  I had worked for Stephen doing a workshop of another musical in Los Angeles for Disney ASCAP and I really wanted the chance to work with him again.  Second…I had never played a true male leading love interest and really wanted the chance to do that.  I had been an introverted film maker (Mark) as well as a drag queen (Angel) in RENT as well as a short tempered, loud mouthed side kick (Gus) in Saturday Night Fever….but I had never played the guy that all the girls fall for….so that was a big turn on for me. 

Q.  Do you have a most memorable moment from working on Wicked?

A.  The most memorable moment for me with WICKED was probably watching my friend Idina Menzel win the Tony Award for best actress for the role of Elphaba at the 2004 Tony Awards.  I could go on for hours as to exactly why…but the short story would be that the process of putting up a multi-million dollar musical is a grueling one and having been in the ensemble of the show since the beginning of its run, I was able to really come to appreciate Idina’s process and growth and her hard work as an actor.  I was not only happy for her as my friend but for how she represented all of us.

Q.  What is it about the play Wicked that you think enthralls audiences?

A.  I think what enthralls audiences most with WICKED is the sheer magnitude and size of the show.  I don’t want to give too much away, but you simply have to come see the show and the lights and costumes and set to understand…it is huge and amazing and truly beyond words.

Q.  How has it been working with “Saturday Night Live” alum Ana Gasteyer?

A.  Working along side Ana Gasteyer has been one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.  She is so unique and has the greatest ability to balance professionalism along side with a great sense of humor and humility.  I am so honored to call her my friend. 

Q.  What kind of dance and singing experience do you have?

A.  I grew up singing and dancing.  My mom was a recording artist with several songs on Billboard Charts and I remember looking at her on the cover of Teen Screen Magazine and things like that and wanting so much to be in the spotlight.  My parents opened up a dance studio in Southern California where I took dance and gymnastics.  I also sang with well known voice teacher Seth Riggs in Los Angeles.  At a young age I started competing in dance competitions and voice competitions.  I was on Star Search and on a show called Big Break with Natalie Cole and those experiences along with my training really inspired me to continue working towards a career in the business.

Q.  Do you tune in to watch award shows like the Tony’s?

A.  I watch the Tony Awards and the Acadamy Awards.  I think that it is great to have a night where actors and directors along side with set and costume designers and such, can be honored for their hard work and accomplishments….and hey…its always fun to see what people are going to show up in.

Q.  What is it about the role of Angel, which you played in Rent, that holds such a special place for you?

A.  Playing the role of Angel in RENT was an UNBELIEVABLE experience for me.  I would say that it is not just the role of Angel or understudying the role of Mark that holds such a special place…but RENT as a whole really will always hold a special place in my heart.  It was the first musical I had ever done.  It was my first professional job as an actor.  However, most importantly it was the RENT family that I became a part of that will always cause me to reflect on that time with such fond memories. 

Q.  What would you like to say to fans and supporters of your career?

A.  I would love to say to all that support me and my career…THANK YOU.  I love doing what I do and I am so glad that it can move others and inspire other peoples lives.  Recently I received a letter from a fan that told me how much my performance in RENT, 7 YEARS AGO, helped him to overcome the loss of his mother from cancer and that seeing my performance as Fiyero on Broadway in WICKED brought back so many wonderful memories of a tough time made easier by myself and my fellow RENT cast members back in 1998.  I was honestly shocked that I would be remembered so many years later…but it was this kind of response by fan that really makes my job worth doing.  I love being an actor and I thank all of you out there for giving me your love and support. 

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