Filed under: Broadway Across America
What is a normal day like at the Adrienne Arsht Center when it’s your job to make the witches of Wicked fly? Welcome to the wonderful world of Daniel Alzuri, Senior Director of Production for the Adrienne Arsht Center and show business production guru extraordinaire. It takes a village backstage to bring the Citizens of Oz to life onstage, and for Alzuri it all starts three days before the first performance as the 13 Wicked production trucks pull into the Adrienne Arsht Center loading dock. With 55 local crew members, 12 Wicked advance crew, and 5 Adrienne Arsht Center production staff, Alzuri supervises the show’s “load-in,” – a tightly choreographed schedule of hanging scenery, rigging props, focusing lights, and motorizing special effects. To the chorus of clanging metal stage sets, and the occasional shout of “pipe coming in!” Alzuri supervises his team of technicians with aplomb.
Every minute detail is pre-determined, discussed, and mapped out prior to the show’s arrival, so Alzuri and team can work quickly, efficiently, and safely – after only a few hours, the show’s four ton metal marquis dragon looms over the Ziff Ballet Opera House stage as if he just taxied in from Miami International Airport. In the meantime, Alzuri’s Wicked citizens are rapidly multiplying, as the actors, dancers, wardrobe and hair dressers, orchestra members, and even the official “greener,” who turns actress Donna Vivino that lovely shade of green, take over the backstage area in a flurry of pre-show preparations. Alzuri serves as the official mayor of this backstage/onstage mini-city, keeping everyone happy as the minutes tick down to show time. Although his work may be largely invisible to the patron sitting in the theater, in truth his performance is just as breathtaking as Glinda’s. As a show business veteran, Alzuri has seen it all: “Crossing the Atlantic in a rowboat is a challenge. Losing your oars in the water is a problem,” he says with a sly smile. And then he’s off to check on the flying broomsticks!
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