It was on that set, back in 1995, that Hall met his future wife Deedee, who was playing the lead role of Kim and had a voice “like butter.” The two returned to a production of Miss Saigon five years later, and have also both appeared in Wicked together. Deedee won’t be reprising her role as Nessarose, but she will be with her husband when Wicked comes to town, taking care of their boys, 7-year-old Kaeden Ryley and 1-year-old Brycen Taylor. Since the family currently lives in California, Brycen will be meeting his paternal grandparents, who still live in Hawaii, for the first time.
Meanwhile, Hall fans, Wicked fans, theater fans and anyone who enjoys explosive, spellbinding entertainment will be watching Hall shine onstage as the swashbuckling Fiyero as he navigates a love triangle with Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West (who it turns out isn’t so wicked, just misunderstood, primarily on account of her unusually virescent complexion), and Elphaba’s frenemy (OK, I’ve said it) Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. The sets and costumes are lavish (all 14 semi trucks full), the scenes are full of humor (blonde jokes and green ones too) and surprising moments of pathos, while the script cleverly incorporates all of the primary characters from the Wizard of Oz. Elphaba – the sheer pace and vocal demand of her role (played by Dee Roscioli) will leave you breathless, torn between bowing in awe and jumping up in a standing ovation.
“Everybody loves the show, from kids all the way up,” says Hall. “I see a lot of men come, and of course they’re dragged by their wives or girlfriends, but at the end they’re the ones who are, like, oh my gosh, this was so exciting. It’s so different from your typical Sound of Music or Cats. It examines the difference between right and wrong, and what it means to be good. It’s inspiring, and I think it tugs at people’s hearts. With all the bullying that’s been going on, for kids it really opens their eyes and says don’t judge somebody on the outside, get to know them.”
And what of our handsome Fiyero?
“He’s a scandalacious playboy prince,” says Hall, borrowing a word from Wicked’s unique vocab list. “He’s got this way about him; his air is very cocky. He feels like he owns everything, like he’s owed everything. It’s a façade.”
Despite his star status, there’s no touch of Fiyero in Hall. As he stands on the stage amid the deafening applause, the big lights flooding over him, he’s filled with gratitude.
“When the light comes up, I smile and thank God that I’m working. At the end of the show, again, I’m grateful for what I have at this moment in time,” says Hall. “Right before I go out and bow, the audience is already emotionally on their feet, but then they’re just up and clapping and roaring and hooting and hollering. After two hours on stage, to be able to hear that gratification that they love the show, it’s just fulfilling,” he says, sighing deeply. “It’s a great feeling. You’re like, I affected them, wow, they listened, they laughed at what I said or did. And you hear all the oohs and ahs. The cool thing is people have heard the music, but to see it on stage, it’s so heart-tugging.”
The local boy hasn’t lost his roots. He plans to make a beeline for Zippy’s mac salad and chili, which he mixes together, the second he gets home.
“Being in Hawaii is the greatest,” says Hall, flashing his movie star smile, then his voice softens, “but to be back on Oahu vacationing and working, it’s just unbelievable.”
It’s a special moment for the production as well, which is experiencing its own full circle of sorts. During a snorkeling trip in Hawaii back in 1996 was when the inspirational bug latched onto Wicked’s Academy Award- and Grammy Award-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz after a friend introduced him to a captivating novel fresh off the press by Gregory Maguire. It was the Wizard of Oz, but from the Wicked Witch’s perspective, and Schwartz was compelled to instantly look into production rights.
As they say, the rest is history.
Wicked plays Nov. 22 (yes, it debuts Thanksgiving Day) through Jan. 12, 2013, at Blaisdell Concert Hall. For reservations, call 1-800-745-3000 or visit broadwayinhawaii.com.
Folks can vie for special $25 orchestra seats by showing up at the box office two-and-a-half hours before any performance and putting their name in a lottery drum (cash only, must have ID, limit of two tickets per lottery winner).
Wicked ticket sales helped raise funds for Pali Momi Women’s Center, and in honor of Pali Momi’s patients and hardworking “Health Care Heroes,” nominated by thankful patients, a ceremony is planned after the Nov. 25 matinee performance. At 4 p.m., members of the cast of Wicked will welcome Pali Momi staff, patients and their families to the Neal Blaisdell Center lawn for performances by some of the stars of the show, including Cliffton Hall.
At that time a drawing from the pool of nominated Pali Momi employees will announce Pali Momi’s Health Care Hero. The families of the winner and the person who nominated the winner will both receive free admission to the show.
Wicked begins promptly, with no exceptions for late seating. Late arrivals will be asked to wait up to 20 minutes for a convenient time to be seated.