Essential Pittsburgh
4:33 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Pittsburgh Native John Davidson Seeks Out Challenging Characters

John Davidson plays the Wizard in the touring Broadway musical, Wicked
John Davidson plays the Wizard in the touring Broadway musical, Wicked
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Many 1970s TV viewers remember Pittsburgh native John Davidson as a game show emcee, or as one of the guest hosts for Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.

But Davidson actually got his start in showbiz on Broadway in the early 1960s. And now after many years of making a name for himself on the small screen, he's back on stage playing the part of the Wizard in Wicked. 

Throughout his 50-year career, Davidson says he’s treasured the roles where he has felt truly challenged.

He's particularly enthusiastic about his role in Wicked. He says the Wizard is a “perfect role for an older guy” because it has just enough stage time.

The award-winning musical tells the back-story of the two witches in the Wizard of Oz through song and dance.

“This touring show is as close or better than what’s on Broadway right now,” he says, “I stand side stage and watch the show in awe.”

He also values the message of Stephen Schwartz's musical.

“We all have a green girl inside. What does that mean? We all have been an outcast at some point in our lives where we’ve been rejected. Whether you’re green, or your skin is whatever color, or maybe you’re not cool enough or maybe you’re too cool, too hip…you’ve been rejected from a certain tribe. That’s one of the lessons of Wicked that we can all relate to. How do you deal with rejection and being an outcast?”