VIDEO/PICTURES: Wicked class for students

Musical stars visit Girton Grammar

GIRTON Grammar drama students got a special treat yesterday when two Wicked cast members visited the school.

Ali Calder and Ryan Sheppard led a drama workshop yesterday morning where students were treated to intimate performances and choreography lessons.

Wicked returns to Australian stages this year after a successful Australian premiere in 2008. It is also 10 years since the Wicked debut on Broadway.

Sheppard has been involved with the production since it started and has climbed from the ensemble to be dance captain and a show choreographer.

"It's weird doing a show for six years, but if there's any show you want to do for that long it’s Wicked

"When I auditioned six years ago I thought it would be just for a little while, but it kept going and I have had the best time with it."

Sheppard took the Girton students through some of the show's dance routines and was impressed with their talent and Girton's facilities.

"For (drama students) being able to experience things that are so close to what happens on stage is so beneficial," he said.

Being able to experience things that are so close to what happens on stage is so beneficial. - Ryan Sheppard

"I'm jealous (of this stage), I wish I had this sort of stuff when I was at school. The kids are so lucky."

Calder, who joined the cast six months ago and plays Wicked Witch of the West Elphiba, said she jumped at the opportunity to audition.

"I saw it when it first came to Melbourne and when the opportunity to audition came up, I said yes straight away," she said.

"It's been insane but I've learnt so much. It's an incredible show to be a part of."

Wicked looks at the characters before the event of The Wizard of Oz takes place and offers a second side to the story.

Calder said exploring a new character was exciting.

"There are two sides to every story and in The Wizard of Oz we really only hear Dorothy's side of the story," she said.

"It's a completely new character exploration for me.

"In The Wizard of Oz, Elphiba is just the witch so she's evil.

"But nobody is ever just evil, everybody has so many layers and the Wicked Witch of the West is no different."

Wicked runs in Melbourne until September.

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