‘WICKED’ ties for Dominick Amendum
This time, Dominick Amendum plans to see “WICKED” from the audience.
How did he come to be a part of thousands of performances of the immensely popular musical? He graduated from UNCG’s music school in 2001, as a classical piano performance major. Within four years, Amendum had joined “WICKED” on its first national tour. That was 2005, and he was the associate music director.
Nine months later, he took over as the show’s musical director, conducting the show nightly. He went on to originate the “WICKED” Los Angeles company, before returning to New York, where he worked for a decade with the show’s Broadway company as music director and associate music supervisor.
Currently, Amendum is the Smart-Tillman Artist in Residence in UNCG’s School of Theatre. He serves as professor of musical theatre performance and resident music director. He and Assistant Professor Erin Farrell Speer lead the musical theatre program, which was launched in 2019. With small class sizes and outstanding performances – its acceptance rate is currently 2 percent – it already has a national reputation. And, with his work on Broadway and on London’s West End, he has an international reputation.
As “WICKED” comes to Greensboro’s Tanger Center Oct .6-24 – the first touring musical to grace the Tanger stage – we asked Amendum his thoughts about this historic occasion for the Greensboro arts scene.
Why do you think this musical is so popular? “‘WICKED’ is the perfect combination of theatrical strengths: A story with audience recognition but a new twist; Incredible music; Spectacle; and a love story … but not in the traditional sense. A story of the love of great friendship and sisterhood. It also speaks to much deeper issues that, sadly, still occupy our collective consciousness today. Who is ‘wicked’? Who is ‘good’? What do you do when certain people are being silenced by forces that are stronger and seemingly untouchable? And mostly- how people who look different are quick to be labeled as the “other.” It is a show that speaks to the deepest fears, desires, and needs of humanity. And for that reason it has, rightly, become a classic. I’m so proud to have worked on it for so much of my career.”
You still have ties to the touring or Broadway productions of it? “I don’t currently have an official attachment to ‘WICKED,’ although they have asked – since the show will be in my backyard! – for me to attend a performance and take notes for the company. So I’ll be seeing it here in an official capacity, and then we plan to take our son (age 5) to see the show for the first time. My wife played Elphaba in the show for many years, so while our kids haven’t yet seen the show, it’s very much in their DNA!”
Beyond your work at UNCG, what are you doing? “Currently ‘Prince of Egypt’ is occupying most of my time beyond my work at UNCG. The show is back open at the Dominion Theatre in London following a long Covid break. We are currently planning for some future activity and expansion of the show, which I can’t specifically talk about just yet – but that should be very exciting. The show, and Grammy-nominated cast album, continue to be a source of great pride for me. It has been so lovely to see it emerge from the pandemic and speak to audiences in an even stronger way than before.”
Compiled by Mike Harris
Photography by Martin W. Kane
See more photos on UNCG Research Flickr.