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BOISE -- The musical Wicked is in Boise for another two weekends, and this week, KTVB was given a backstage pass to see how they make the character of Elphaba green. She's the character known as the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz.

The actress and make-up supervisor showed the physical transformation, but both also talked about how the make-up is more than skin deep; there's actually a lot of meaning behind the greening of Elphaba as they call it.

Going green eight times a week

There is green pretty much everywhere. On my pillows, on my towels, in my ears and my pores, actress Laurel Harris, who plays Elphaba in the Wicked tour, said. It's on my jacket. Yeah, it kinda lingers... definitely in the the hairline. People will look at you funny sometimes if you're sitting at a restaurant or walking down the street. I'm sure they're wondering, 'Why is her neck kinda green?'

For two years, actress Harris has been in Wicked as an understudy, then standby for Elphaba. Four weeks ago, she took over that leading role. For that part, she's painted green eight times a week.

To be completely transformed like this, to have a completely different skin color and look, it really allows you to enter into the world so much easier and enter into this world and to really become the character, Harris said.

The process involves makeup supervisor Joyce McGilberry putting down a layer of green on Harris's hands and face, adding additional colors and features. In the story, Elphaba is born green, much to the disappointment of her parents and the terror of pretty much everyone she meets.

The designer wanted her skin to be transluscent in that she looks like this is her skin and not pasty or overdone, Joyce McGilberry, makeup supervisor, said.

On the night KTVB went backstage, the process of greening Harris's face and hands took around 20 minutes. It can be done in eight minutes though.

Yup, from like jeans and flip flops to on stage and green in costume in eight minutes, Harris said. It's amazing, McGilberry added.

The real meaning behind the greening

The make-up process is intriguing itself, but Harris and McGilberry talk about how the deeper meaning of the greening is at the heart of this show: A different look or lifestyle or any individual characteristic can be perceived or misunderstood as bad, abnormal, wrong, or wicked.

You can be bullied for looking different or believing something or not believing something, the person you choose to love, and that obviously goes beyond school years, Harris said. Something we're proud to be involved with is being a part of... this theater is social theater in a way in that it brings about topics that people can talk about after the show. The topics of bullying, the topics of accepting and loving people regardless of their beliefs, regardless of how they look, Harris said.

The storyline is so rich, as Laurel was saying, McGilberry said. We have a chance to give multiple stories intertwined into one, and there's something for everybody to take away and grow from, to have open discussions about to help bring us forward.

While the show has been around for years and maintains consistency in make-up, costumes, songs and scripts, McGilberry says every show is still different.

The unique thing about it is it changes every day because of the actors, what's going on in the world. You hear something, the lines are the same, but your mind sees something different, McGilberry said.

Harris says fans will often meet the cast at the stage door and tell stories of how the musical has changed their lives. That's one of her favorite parts of sharing the story, and she says the ideas behind the show can certainly be looked at through different lenses based on current situations.

How does this apply to our world today? How does this apply to our political situation, our social situation? There's definitely a lot of thought provoking ideas if you really listen and are aware of what's going on on stage, Harris said.

How to get tickets to the remaining shows

The Morrison Center says there are still tickets available for every show. The show runs through Sunday, May 4. Tickets range in price from $55 to $150.

The show also has a lottery for $25 tickets before each show. Details from the Morrison Center on the lottery are below.

Two and one-half hours prior to each performance, people who present themselves at the Morrison Center Box office will have their names placed in a lottery drum; thirty minutes later, names will be drawn for a limited number of orchestra seats at $25 each, cash only. This lottery is available only in-person at the box office, with a limit of two tickets per person. Lottery participants must have a valid photo ID when submitting their entry form and, if chosen, when purchasing tickets.

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