Wicked on Broadway: Talking to the 15 wonderful witches

We got up close and personal with all 15 emerald divas who played Elphaba in the Broadway smash Wicked.

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Teal Wicks

Teal Wicks Photograph: Joan Marcus (right)


Teal Wicks (2011)


What did Wicked teach you as an actress?
Doing Elphaba for quite a chunk of time—I did it in three different companies, almost for three years—basically taught me about my strengths and weaknesses as a performer. I learned how to pace myself, how to give 100 percent without killing yourself physically and vocally. Doing that show eight times a week for a couple of years was very taxing. It helps me a lot now because I know where my limits are, and how to think of other ways to tell the story without hurting yourself.

Can you tell me about a Wicked high moment?

The high was my first night performing at the Gershwin Theatre. It was literally Elphaba’s entrance. You come running down the stage front and center and you stand there and take in what you’re about to do as a character. And getting to do that and being on Broadway for the first time in such a huge show, in such an iconic role, I literally stood there for a moment and almost broke down and cried. It was like, Hi, dream!

What about a low moment?
One of the lows, I don’t know… I had times where it was really hard to sing it every night, and my body was just screwed up because of the physical choices I made for the character. I reached a point where it was really hard to do the show, and I kept getting sick, and all of these things were colliding. And I didn’t know I was going to survive it…but I did! It was hard with that role. Once you start, and you realize in the middle of the show that you don’t have the energy or power to finish the show, it’s really scary. I feel like almost everyone has had that one performance where you’re just like, Oh my God, what am I doing? I don’t think I can sing this! I have five more 11 o’clock numbers to sing, and we just started! We’re only in the first act! That happens.

Were there any memorable technical glitches?
I feel like we had a lot. There have been shows where the “Defying Gravity” flight mechanism didn’t work. So I basically didn’t fly, and had to run down to the edge of the stage and sing. And then there was my suitcase. At the beginning of the show, Elphaba has a suitcase in her hand when she runs onstage for the first time. It’s a prop that’s there throughout her first number. I had a show where, right before I run down the stage, one of the handles of the suitcase breaks. And then the door opens, and I start running, and the handle breaks completely! And the suitcase flies away from me and down the stage, heading straight toward our musical director. Luckily, it stopped before it reached him. So that was my entrance: a flying suitcase. That actually happened to me twice! I don’t know why that is. That’s my signature thing. I break suitcases.

Out of the Glindas you’ve performed with, which one is your favorite?
That’s not fair! I’ve been lucky—the Glindas that I’ve performed with are some of the best that have ever played the role. They are all very, very different. Can I say all three of them? My first Glinda ever was Megan Hilty, and I love her. She’s amazing and her Glinda is crazy. She introduced me to the world of Wicked. I had Kendra Kassebaum in San Francisco, and she’s a beautiful person and actress. And my Broadway Glinda was Katie Rose Clarke. She holds a special place in my heart. I had such a wonderful time with her, and I think she’s incredible and surprisingly strong and vulnerable and funny, and her voice blows my mind. And she’s my Broadway Glinda. She’s very special.

How many times have you seen the show?
I don’t know.… I only saw it once before I was actually in the company. And then when I joined the Los Angeles company, I was the standby for two months, so I watched the show a lot. I’ll probably see it again. You have to get some distance first!

Wicked on Broadway: Tickets, reviews and video


  SLIDE SHOW: View all 15 Elphabas as one slide show

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14 comments
taylor c
taylor c

I love what SJB said about her husband and his pants. Her and Sebastian were so cute in Wicked together.

Kenia
Kenia

Of course who watched Wicked usually prefer that one that you saw, I don't think someone got the luck of watching all of the from Broadway and UK versions. I've watched and listening some of them, and of course all are great, is Wicked they wouldn't choose a bad singer, but Idina Menzel's is the best with no doubt I'm in love with the book and of all actress she is the one that meke me belive in Elphaba, and she has the voice, THE voice, when you read the book where anyone else could sing after listening to Elphaba's voice is how we saty after listen to Idina's. It's all the package that makes her the best.

sherry
sherry

Jackie is beautiful and amazing inside and out!!

Kate
Kate

@maxii rose: because Kerry was in the original UK cast. She was Idina's understudy. Great article!

maxii rosee
maxii rosee

I thought that Idina had originated the role of Elphaba in the uk and us so why is Kerry saying that she was in the original wicked production at uk!!!

Andrew Wicked
Andrew Wicked

OMG! Only 15 Elphaba' s ?! Wow! #wickedrules

Louis
Louis

Willemijn was and still is the best Elphaba. I've seen her performing three times at Scheveingen in the Netherlands and it was three times Wicked! I hope to see her in London West End too.

Oos
Oos

What about kristy cates? She played Elphaba on broadway And on the Chicago production on was in the original cast!

Mariuca
Mariuca

The article is well written and the beautiful actress is so sweet, also! But! The girls actresses spoke about their roles as if the witches were fairies!OMG! The real witches are bad, evil and they do good only for themselves! Dont let the people be fooled! Thats a fairy who God would love to become true, maybe-I mean, the witches be so strong and their power put it in the service of another..but thats only a fairy..

James H
James H

I know this is the witches on broadway but I would love to hear what the witches around the world have to say to these questions, particularly the Australian witches.

Rachael
Rachael

Idina is AMAZING!!!!! FYI, Mandy you signed my Alphaba doll! She sits in my family room

Logan Stein
Logan Stein

A great and unique article. A fitting celebration on an important milestone for the show. How great to take a look back and realize that only 15 amazing actresses have had the privilege. How wonderful to see how the answers varied.

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