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OCU Alumni are ‘Wicked’ ‘Oz’-Some
Three Oklahoma City University alumni followed the yellow brick road to Tulsa for the traveling production of “Wicked.” The cast list for the popular musical includes Lauren Linville, a 2006 OCU graduate, Jeremy Duvall, 2001, and Nathan Peck, 1997. “Wicked” is a modern precursor to the “Wizard of Oz.” The story tells how the Wicked Witch of the West meets Glenda the Good Witch in the Land of Oz. The production in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center opened Wednesday and runs until Aug. 9. Spellbound audiences have been raving about the musical since its New York opening run in 2003, and the OCU graduates couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be in the critically acclaimed production with 20 major awards to its name including a Grammy and three Tony Awards. Linville said she’s “thrilled” to be in Munchkinland after first joining the “Wicked” world in Chicago. She talked about the difficult process of landing the role and getting started. “I auditioned a total of five times over the course of three years. Last August I was at home in Texas teaching a dance class to the song ‘Defying Gravity’ (one of the musical numbers in ‘Wicked’) when, ironically enough, my phone rang and it was the casting office inviting me to audition for them in Los Angeles,” she said. Linville had three weeks to move to Chicago and learn her part in the musical. Duvall has a similar last-second story. While teaching dance in Texas, the casting director for “Wicked” called from Los Angeles asking him to audition. He had two days to get there. “I didn't know what to do because I knew plane tickets to L.A. would be super expensive to fly in two days. I had a chat with the owner of the studio in which she insisted that I had to go. It paid off,” he said. Duvall went to New York for a costume fitting, and a month later he was on his way to Chicago to learn his part. Even though the three OCU graduates weren’t in college together, they say they’ve had many conversations about their university days and have been helped along the way through its vast and close-knit alumni network. For instance, a friend of an OCU grad offered Duvall a place to stay in Chicago while he waited for an apartment to become available. Linville rehearsed her part with an OCU alumnus before her audition, and stayed with another OCU alumna when she was in Los Angeles to try out. Linville has also worked on an international tour of “42nd Street” and on several Lyric Theatre productions. Duvall, now a dance captain in “Wicked,” has also worked with Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Music Theatre of Wichita and Tokyo Disney’s “Encore.” After graduating from OCU, Peck moved to New York City. He was in the Broadway production of “Dance of the Vampires,” “The Boy from Oz” starring Hugh Jackman and the Tony Award-winning revival of “La Cage aux Folles.” He served as dance captain of La Cage. Peck has also been in Gap television commercials. Tickets for “Wicked” can be purchased via phone at (800) 364-7111 or online at www.MyTicketOffice.com .