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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Ana Gasteyer

Ana Gasteyer Photograph: Joan Marcus (right)


Ana Gasteyer (2006–07)


You’ve spent a good portion of your career doing comedy. Why did you decide to tackle a dramatic role like Elphaba?
I never really think about a role as dramatic or comedic. I just want to play it if it resonates, and Elphaba is very, very familiar to me. She is academic, funny, misunderstood, vulnerable and acerbic—characteristics of great comic roles, yes, but far more comprehensive when explored from a darker angle. Likewise, musically, the comic take on an Elphaba would live in a really simple place (Almira Gulch on the bike!), but Elphaba’s music in Wicked is well-rounded, so there is ample opportunity to express all of her sides without just singing some crazy one-note musical veneer.

Do you think Elphaba could have become a comedian?
Oh, yes. Elphaba is an outsider. Ninety percent of comedy involves observing and revealing the truth, and that is what she does.

If you didn’t play Elphaba, who else in the musical would you want to take a stab at?
I love Boq. Kind and conflicted.

What was your favorite song to sing?
I love “No Good Deed.” I think it’s a thrilling, expressive piece of music, and it does exactly what it is supposed to do in terms of storytelling. Everyone knows that terrifying, self-destructive brink, and without anyone or anything to pull her back, there is no going back for Elphaba after she’s gone there. I also absolutely love “For Good,” it is so powerfully forgiving and grateful. Playing Elphaba can be a very lonely enterprise, and I really valued the duet and the connection I felt with Kate Reinders when we sang it together.

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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