by Ryan Patrick Farrell
People constantly ask me, “How do you do the same thing for 10 years?” or “How are you still dancing the same numbers over and over?” With truth and honesty, I don’t look at it that way at all. I won’t deny that a decade is definitely a long time. I’ve seen a lot of talented people come and go. And I’ve made a ton of wonderful, amazing and supportive friends along the way. The kind of friends that last a lifetime.
This June marked my 10 year anniversary in the cast of Wicked. In 2008, the show had a company sit down in Chicago, Illinois at the Ford’s Oriental Theatre. Back in those early days, never in my wildest dreams would I have believed that I would have stayed with a show for an entire decade.
There’s something to be said for what messages Wicked brings to its audience. As a kid, I was bullied and treated incredibly unkind for who I was. I believe that the work we do at Wicked sets forth a message of love, hope, equality and acceptance. This strength and importance of this communication today is crucial for the state of the world we are living in today. Knowing that this show touches people in such a way feeds me an inspiration to play upon every night.
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed dancing with so many beautiful partners. Every new person that comes into the show brings an essence of their own. I have welcomed this kind of adaptation with open arms and felt blessed to have been given the gift of so many people with diverse talents and elements that make Wicked such a dynamic production.
After a few years of living life on the road, I came upon many obstacles. Life happens and as simple as it sounds life was happening to me. Very quickly, I discovered that if I was going to stay on the road, I needed to open myself up. This was change not only in my own personal being but also the change that was a constant around me. And as I began to change and as the people around me were changing, specific qualities of life became more important to me than they had before.
As I gave a warmth to this feeling, I also saw a growth in my work onstage. I was doing the same show every night, dancing the same numbers and singing the same notes. Yet, my own life was rapidly transforming and so did the approach in executing my job. I began looking further and further into the present of the moment when I made entrance to the stage. It was in this moment that I came to conclude that I could apply this ideal to my dancing. From here on Wicked has never felt stale, but instead fresh, vibrant and new.
Of course, we have good days and we have bad days. We have days we want to work and those that we want to stay home. When a rough patch falls in front of me I’ve always remembered to firmly trust in the work and that we touch people. We make a difference in at least one person every night.
Looking back at the last 10 years I wouldn’t change a thing. Now at the age of 36, Im putting myself through school (thank you Wicked!) enjoying the time traveling with my bulldog and focusing on what the future will bring. In the meantime, I will continue to dance with pride while telling the story of the witches of Oz, touching people across the country as well as continue to improve my own self along the way always keeping room open for growth and change.