Wicked Tickets: Catching Up with Norbert Leo Butz

Wicked the Musical has done more than simply wow audiences; it has been a huge break for many of its principle actors and actresses, especially those who originated the roles. Norbert Leo Butz is one of those actors. He portrayed Fiyero in the original production.

Butz did not come into the production of Wicked as an unknown. He first made a name for himself after stepping in for Adam Pascal as Roger Davis in the musical Rent in 1996. Post-Rent, he originated the role of Camile Raquin in the Broadway flop Thou Shalt Not, earning a Tony Award nomination despite the poor sales and reviews.

Then came his big break, he took the stage as Fiyero on October 30, 2003. Though he would be outshone by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, Butz had earned quite the respect from the Broadway community, going from promising actor to a star overnight. It seems odd that a performer’s future can be decided by the sale of Wicked tickets as opposed to the actual performance, but that is how life is in sports, the movies, theater, and real life. The more success you are associated with, the more demand you will be in the future.

Norbert Leo Butz is a prime example of this axiom. After Wicked he originated the role of Freddy in the musical adaptation of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a role for which he won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor. He then took Jeremy Piven’s place when he suddenly left the revival of Speed-the-Plow with health complications.

Recently, Leo Butz has starred as Jeffrey Skilling in Enron and Agent Carl Hanratty in Catch Me If You Can. He has been praised for both those performances and won his second Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical for the role in Catch Me if You Can.

In addition to his time on Wicked advancing his career, he also found a love connection on set. In 2007 he married Michelle Federer, the actress who portrayed Nessarose. They have since had added a child to a mixed family that already includes two children from a previous marriage.