The cast of blockbuster Broadway musical "Wicked" acted out real-life scenes in its rehearsal room on Wednesday as part of its first ever anti-bullying workshop. The captive audience: students from upstate New York and Minnesota.
“Trust me we're all green. We all have issues. We all have challenges,” said "Wicked" ensemble actor Anthony Galde.
The musical’s compelling story of a green-skinned girl named Elphaba -- her name before she became known as the Wicked Witch of the West -- attracted the national anti-bullying organization BullyBust last year.
"Wicked" agreed to work with Bullybust and allowed the group to use its message in the classroom and they launched a nationwide essay contest last fall.
The winner of the contest, 15-year-old Ammie Jergenson of Minnesota, was flown to New York on Wednesday to pick up her grand prize: a seat at the anti-bullying workshop, backstage tour and tickets to the evening performance.
“I was born with cerebral palsy and I know I'm different. We’re all different so we should all just act kind to each other,” said Jergenson, who admitted she has not been bullied for several years.
Warwick Valley Middle School 7th grader Natalie Dahl was one of the runners up. Nearly 90 of her classmates from upstate New York joined her for the 90-minute workshop.
“There's always going to be that one person bullying but if you could also be the one person to stop the bullying,” said Dahl.
At the end of the workshop, the students and cast members took a pledge to not be a bully and to stand up to the bullies.
A spokesperson for "Wicked" said the relationship with Bullybust will continue for another school year and the workshop now has been added to the list of other workshops offered at the Gershwin Theater.