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Man behind the curtain

Native Tulsan is part of the touring production of ‘Wicked’

Jason Graae as the Wizard of Oz

Justin Barnes

When Chapman Music Hall’s curtain rises Sept. 5 for Celebrity Attractions’ three-week run of the Broadway smash “Wicked,” a Tulsan will be among the leading actors.

Jason Graae, 1976 graduate of Tulsa’s Edison High School, was named to the role of the Wizard of Oz this past May when the show hit Omaha. “That’s where the Wizard is from, so it was kind of perfect,” Graae says.

“Wicked,” written by Stephen Schwartz, tells the story of two witches and their relationship with the Wizard. “I feel mighty lucky to be part of this big, beautiful show,” which is the sixth-longest running in Broadway history, Graae says. “It was daunting when I first joined this incredible company. Now, I’m so proud to have the opportunity to help tell this wonderful story.”

Growing up, Graae played oboe for Tulsa Youth Symphony and participated in Theatre Tulsa. A musical theater degree brought him to New York in 1980. “I love the immediacy of a live audience,” Graae says. “You and the audience are in the same hall living and breathing the experience together. You have more control in the theater.”

When he’s not on the road, he splits his time between the Big Apple and Los Angeles. But between his Tulsa performances this month, Graae plans to enjoy “running along the river,” catching up with friends and exploring around the Tulsa PAC. He says, “I hear downtown has built up, and I look forward to spending time there.”