16 Dogs, Two Ferrets, Two Witches and One Runaway Elephant
Allison Bailey & Talia Suskauer in WICKED — CREDIT: Joan Marcus
WICKED’s Rules of the Road
For the 75-member touring company of WICKED, Charlotte is home for the next few weeks. They’re happy to be here – and invite you back to the theater.
“With the full Broadway production out on the road, we don’t spare any expense. The show you’re seeing here in Charlotte is just as good as what you would see in New York, and I’m very proud of that.” – WICKED Company Manager Steve Quinn
Steve Quinn, company manager for WICKED (at Ovens Auditorium through Oct. 3, thanks to Blumenthal Performing Arts), has responsibility for 16 dogs and two ferrets* … oh, and 75 traveling cast and crew members, including wardrobe, makeup, stage managers, physical therapists and merchandise salespeople that come with them.
*(He’s not really in charge of the pets that cast members bring on the road. But they add to the craziness.)
Quinn has been with the show for 16 years. He’s backstage at nearly every show, and he never tires of it. Find out about life on the road, what it’s like managing what he lovingly calls a “traveling circus” and why you should see WICKED – even if you’ve seen it before.
This glimpse into the creative process was sponsored by Blumenthal Performing Arts.
Please Give Us 10 Minutes. (It could help you!)
What’s it like to be a working creative in Charlotte? We need you to tell us.
The people of Charlotte can see your work. But, we need them to see you — what it takes for you to do the work you love. What’s going well? What’s a challenge? Where do you need support? What do you need to grow your creative business?
We have developed a quick, anonymous survey — SURVEYCLT.COM — about creatives along with UNC Charlotte Urban Institute (with funding support from the Arts & Science Council and the Reemprise Fund). Your responses will help all of us who support arts and culture tell civic, business and arts leaders what you and other gig economy creatives need to keep creating — to thrive, grow and shape our city’s future.
Please take the survey and share it with as many fellow creatives as you can before Oct. 1! All who do will have a chance to win one of five $100 gift cards.
Mural by Georgie Nakima – CREDIT: Brooke Brown
SNEAK PEEK! Tour of Belmont
Don’t fill up your weekend dance card. In Friday’s Biscuit, we’re taking you on a creative tour of Belmont in the next installment of our exploration series with OrthoCarolina. But, to get you excited about it, here’s a gorgeous shot of Georgie Nakima’s “Belmont” mural shot by photographer Brooke Brown.
Get ready to head out and fall in love with Belmont (if you’re not already).
The front page of The Charlotte News on Sept. 16, 1955
Vicki the Elephant & 10 Crazy Days in 1955
We wanted to tell you this story last week, but this fun tidbit of Charlotte history got away from us … just like a runaway elephant.
On Sept. 11, 1955, Vicki, a six-year-old, more than 2,000-pound elephant on display at the former Airport Amusement Park, began her 10-day rampage through the wilds (ahem! backyards) around Wilkinson Boulevard. She escaped her handlers and went running into the woods.
Thus began a Charlotte sensation as park employees, reporters, other elephants (no, really) and the general public participated in daily chases. Vicki played with her pursuers, but evaded them at every turn. The story garnered national attention. The event was chronicled by no one less than the legendary Charles Kuralt, who was a reporter for The Charlotte News at the time.
Of one of these unsuccessful excursions, Kuralt wrote: “Reporters went on two of these chases yesterday. They yielded nothing but trumpeting sounds from Vicki, Poison Ivy rashes for reporters and deep searing frustration from Smoky Strickland (one of Vicki’s handlers).”
Eventually, expert help was called in — Louie Reed of Ringling Bros. Circus. Ultimately, a tired Vicki was caught by local volunteer firefighters and 20 high school football players.
After her romp, Vicki was a Charlotte sensation. Songs were written about her (see it in a Gaston Gazette from 1955). And, she was asked by the Charlotte Opera Association to appear in a production of Aida at Ovens Auditorium. At the time, Opera Association president, John D. Auten, said “We think she’ll add a lot to Verdi’s opera … over 2,000 pounds worth to be exact.”
(Sadly, Vicki’s career as an actress was never to be. The Charlotte News reported in April 1956 that she was replaced before the opera by three donkeys.)
Painted paddles by DeNeer Davis
If you missed the last batch of The Biscuit, don’t you worry. We’ve kept it nice and warm for you. We shared a story of how local creative, DeNeer Davis, painted canoe paddles to provide Catawba Riverkeeper a creative way to share their mission of protecting and programming the Catawba-Wateree river basin. Read about it here!
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