Behind the Emerald Curtain
“Wicked” has proven to be one of the greatest theater hits of the past decade, with productions running in New York, London and Holland, as well as an international tour. Now fans of the show can get a special look at the production and its history on the Behind the Emerald Curtain tour at New York’s Gershwin Theater.
“Behind the Emerald Curtain is a 90-minute tour on Saturday morni ngs,” said Haley Ward, group sales associate for the management company 321 Group Sales. “It’s a museum of some of the past costumes and wigs and a set model. It’s all run by cast members.”
Participating groups get a guided tour through the museum, which is inside the home theater for “Wicked.” The museum has items such as a dress worn by the original lead actress in the show and large set pieces from the Emerald City scenes. In the main auditorium, visitors also see a video that tells them about the history and production of the show. Then the cast members do a question-and-answer session with their guests.
“I just went on the tour last Saturday, and it was really interesting,” Ward said. “The two actors were telling hilarious backstage stories. It’s perfect for groups that want to see how Broadway works.”
Midtown Manhattan becomes a giant stage for interactive entertainment with The Ride, an attraction launched in 2010 that has become a favorite for groups that want to get to know New York. The experience combines a 4.2-mile tour of the city with a series of entertainment encounters.
“We call ourselves part tour, part show,” said CEO Richard Humphrey. “We like to surprise our audience. The hosts are trained in improvisational theater, so they can make the most of what you see on the streets during every ride. We also have surprise performance pieces planned along the way, everything from instrumental performance to singing and dance.”
The experience takes place aboard patented motorcoaches custom-built to accommodate 49 coliseum-style seats that face large picture windows on one side of the vehicle. The bus also has video screens and a sound system.
During the tour, visitors see six to eight entertainment vignettes that take place on the streets of New York. The performers wear headsets and microphones that allow them to interact directly with the visitors, who never have to get off the bus.
Although it’s not a classical Broadway show, The Ride has been well reviewed by theater critics and was recently nominated for a Drama Desk award for the city’s most unusual theater attraction. Humphrey said that the company will be expanding to other major cities in the United States and abroad by the end of 2014.
— www.experiencetheride.com —