Reporting Jessica Kartalija
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Cast members from the Tony Award-winning musical “Wicked” have an important lesson for students in Baltimore City.
As Jessica Kartalija reports, they’re teaching kids to stand up to bullying.
The story of “Wicked” follows the misunderstood green witch of Oz, Elphaba, who endures a childhood full of bullying for the green color of her skin.
“No, I’m not seasick. I’ve always been green and I didn’t eat grass as a child,” Elphaba says in the show.
Now, middle schoolers at Booker T. Washington Middle School are being treated to a private performance from a cast member and teaching artist as part of an anti-bullying workshop.
“No, it’s my seat. I sit here every day. So, if she’s not moving, what are you going to do?”
“Go sit somewhere else.”
Teacher: “She’s not moving. What are you going to do?”
“These children have all seen the show ‘Wicked.’ And so they are working together, using exercises of how it feels to be bullied and ways to avoid bullying,” Olive Waxter of the Hippodrome Foundation said.
“When Elphaba goes up into the air, it spoke a message about bullying and how we shouldn’t bully each other,” Anyah Lowe, a student at Booker T. Washington Middle School, said.
The workshop is part of a national campaign, partnering the Broadway musical with schools from across the country.
Students learn how to stand up to bullying by being an upstander, someone who stops the teasing.
“It’s a problem in the schools, and we’re finding a way to address it that doesn’t feel preachy and allows the students to open up and talk about their experience,” Larry Smiglewski of Broadway Classrooms said.
“Wicked” is in Baltimore City for five weeks. The last performance is Sunday, Nov. 4.
The Hippodrome Foundation provides outreach and education programs in Baltimore.