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.
Tue Oct 22 2013
Photograph: Joan Marcus (right)
Eden Espinosa (2003–04, 2006)
You performed in Wicked on and off, in and out of New York, between 2004 and 2010. What kept you coming back?
I think that every time I was asked to come back, I just felt like I still had stuff to learn. I was at a different point in my life every time I came back, so I had something different to offer, and new outlooks and portrayals of the story and the character. It’s honestly just a fulfilling role to play and I never got tired of it.
Do you have a favorite span of time that you played in?
Probably right in the beginning. I was in the original company, and that was a very new experience for me. And then also when I closed the L.A. company. Megan Hilty and I, who opened that company, came back to close it at the end. I think I felt [that] at that point, it was a complete maturation of me as a woman and my outlook on Elphaba.
Who is your favorite Glinda that you’ve performed with?
I have to say, they coincide with my two favorite eras. Performing with Kristin Chenoweth was just an amazing experience. She was so gracious with me. I was 25, and it was my first time performing on Broadway. And the Glinda I did it the longest with was Megan. She and I really developed a strong trust on- and offstage. So those two are my favorite. But I consider Megan my Glinda.
Is there any part of Elphaba that’s in you?
I relate to her in that I was made fun of and bullied a lot in school, so those scenes at the dance and when she’s been tricked into wearing the hat—those kind of things—I really connect, because I had those moments in my adolescence. I try to be like her in taking that leap and going against what everyone wants, to have the strength to go on her own path. I think that’s brave, and I think I’m like that—or at least, I try to be like that!
You released your debut album last year. Are there any Wicked songs that you like to perform in concert?
I recorded “I’m Not That Girl” on my album. I love it. It’s just a glimpse into Elphaba’s softer side, into her inner self. The version on my album is a very different version than the way it is in the show. But I always do that song. And a lot of time, depending on the venue and what kind of concert, I will do “Defying Gravity.”
But no flying, I assume.
The flying part I leave at home. [Laughs]
It’s a very tech-heavy show. Do you have any memorable tech glitches?
I do remember when I was a standby for Idina, this is the first onstage mishap that happened in my presence: Norbert Leo Butz [as Fiyero] would fly in on the rope, land on one knee and say, “Let the green girl go.” Usually after that, he’s supposed to stand up, but that particular time, I noticed he didn’t get up from the ground. It turned out that he had split his pants from front to back! I was laughing, and Kristin was laughing, and the audience was laughing. And my family was there, too!
So on the topic of Fiyero pants, who wore them best?
I’m going to say Derrick Williams. He just filled them out really nicely. And he’s on the taller side. He was a taller Fiyero, with a really masculine frame.
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