Local actors cast spell in ‘Wicked’ at Benedum Center
When the witches of Oz recount the untold story of life in the Emerald City during the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s near sell-out run of “Wicked” from Jan. 24 to Feb. 11, three local actors will grace their hometown stage.
South Park native Harry Bouvy plays the quirky “Dr. Dillamond,” Forest Hills-born Michael Campayno portrays love interest “Fiyero” and Uniontown’s Justin Wirick sings with the ensemble during the show at the Benedum Center.
“It’s such a thrill to come back to my hometown and see how even more beautiful it’s become,” says Bouvy, who credits his South Park High School drama coach, the late Shirley Custer, for teaching him the early ropes of theater.
Campayno, too, says he’s anxious to visit familiar ‘Burgh haunts during the three-week stop in Pittsburgh for the national touring show, sponsored by PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh.
“Wicked,” based on the 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, takes audience members on a riveting tale of the unlikely friendship between Elphaba — the green-skinned hero with a fiery temper and a penchant for frumpy clothes — and Glinda — the popular blonde who wears pink chiffon, has an infectious giggle and travels by bubble.
Here’s a look at three locals actors who help take audience members for a ride beyond the yellow brick road:
Born in Brentwood and raised in South Park, Bouvy graduated from South Park High School before majoring in theater arts at the University of Pittsburgh.
There, he performed in shows at the Studio Theatre and Stephen Foster Memorial, including two seasons at the now-defunct Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival.
“I had two very strong mentors in the theater,” Bouvy says, citing his high school drama coach and his grad school teacher at Florida State’s Asolo Conservatory of Professional Actor Training.
Since moving to New York City, Bouvy has landed parts in “The Producers” movie and on TV in “The Good Wife” and “Law & Order.”
He portrays the eccentric Dr. Dillamond, a history teacher/goat at Shiz University.
A native of Forest Hills, Campayno graduated from Central Catholic High School and went on to study musical theater at Carnegie Mellon University.
The youngest of six children who all dabbled in theater, Campayno admits he caught the acting bug pretty early. He earned the coveted Gene Kelly Award for his supporting role as Gaston in Central’s 2008 production of “Beauty and the Beast.”
That nod was followed by professional summer stock gigs with the Pittsburgh CLO. Since then, he’s landed a part in TVs “The Sound of Music Live!” and the 2016 movie, “Cheerleader.”
During his three-week stay, Campayno says he plans to soak up all the black-n-gold experiences he can. That includes a visit to the Steel City clothing store in the East End.
He plays Prince Fiyero, the love interest of Elphaba who helps her remain true to her values despite opposing viewpoints from Glinda.
He says audience members can expect a magical and mysterious Oz-ian world created on stage.
An ensemble player, Wirick was born and raised in Uniontown and graduated from Laurel Highlands Senior High School in 2006.
He began dancing and tumbling at just 6 years old and began competing shortly after. By 11, he was taking voice lessons and participating as a cheerleader at his junior high.
“My parents were great supporters and encouragers of my talent,” Wirick says.
Though he earned a full scholarship to Point Park University, Wirick says his heart led him to Los Angeles to pursue a professional career.
He recently celebrated eight years with the “Wicked” national tour and despite 3,000-plus performances under his belt, Wirick says he still gets chills at the close of Act One with the spine-tingling song, “Defying Gravity.”
“If I can get the cast out of the city, I’d love for them to experience Western Pennsylvania’s beautiful Laurel Highlands,” he says, adding that he is eager for friends and family, relatives and teachers, to see the show.
“Wicked” runs through Feb. 11 at Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center. Tickets are $44 to $159. Details: 412-456-4800 or trustarts.org
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, [email protected] or @tawnyatrib.