Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Feature: Wicked celebrates 10th birthday - quotes from cast members past & present!

Over the years we've interviewed our fair share of Wicked cast members! Check out some of our favourite quotes below:

Rachel Tucker
Currently playing Elphaba

"Elphaba was always a dream role for me so for that to become my job was a dream come true. It’s a tough role to sing, it’s pretty hardcore, but when you love something so much it’s really not hard work. It might have been a job but it was also something I loved doing. Each night I had to see how I was feeling and think about whether I was feeling physically tired or vocally tired and pace myself throughout the show accordingly. Then when I got into 'Defying Gravity' I always wanted to better what I had done the night or week before and try and get something new from the song. Everybody knows Defying Gravity is the big number so I had to live up to that as much as I could every evening without shattering my voice [laughs]!"

Original Broadway replacement Elphaba

"I don’t even know how long it took for me to realise what a huge deal it was. It was a big deal when Idina was in it and then it grew and grew and the tour went out so it was a big deal nationwide. I don’t think I realised until years later. It’s just a phenomenon and I think realising that was when I got just very happy to sing ‘Defying Gravity’ if that’s what people want, because it has really been a gift."

Original West End cast member & former UK tour Elphaba

"Wicked holds a massive place in my heart, and it always will. I have really fond memories. You mustn’t let the pressure get to you. I treat it like any other role and remain truthful to the character. It just so happens Elphaba has some incredible songs to sing and goes on this brilliant journey. I always came at it from an actor’s point of view and tried to make it my own as much as possible. You’ve just got to get out there, enjoy it and give it your best shot!"

Original West End cast member & former Standby Elphaba

"Idina Menzel is probably my favourite Elphaba, I just thought that she had a real magic about her and I felt so honoured to be a cover for the role. The memories of that time are very exciting. When Idina left there was this unbelievable weekend where Idina did her last show on the Saturday night, Kerry Ellis did the Monday night and then I was on for the Tuesday evening performance! I remember it being a month of finding out I was on last minute all the time because bless Kerry Ellis, I think she popped a vocal cord or something and couldn’t do all eight shows for a while so she could slowly build up her stamina. I often had to help out and go on at the last minute. It was an absolute dream to get on as much as I did over the two years that I was there, I felt like I had my own portrayal of Elphaba."

Julia Murney
Former Broadway Elphaba

"I’ll say this – I did it as many times as I could… and most of the women you will find can’t do it eight times a week. It’s just too hard. The truth is that when you’re not sick it’s the greatest – you get to be a rockstar! The show is so popular that the audience walk in already loving it, you usually don’t have to win them over because they think it’s the greatest thing they’re ever going to see. If you can just do your job then you can all have a really great party! You just have to get over the anxiety of, ‘Oh god, oh god, oh god this is really hard to sing!’ It makes it rough because when you get a role like that you want to be able to play it every single time you’re allowed because it’s so special and such an honour."

Hayley Gallivan
Former Standby Elphaba 

"I was the person who went to the first ever preview in London and from the moment it started I was completely swept up and crying. I was just completely in awe of the show – the songs and story and everything about it is just so magical so to get the call saying “you’re going to be playing Elphaba” was a dream come true. Obviously you can’t see yourself green on-stage, but every time I caught a glimpse of my hands or looked down and saw my costume I got that realisation of where I actually was!"

Katie Rowley Jones
Original cast member, currently playing Nessarose

"I had had such a brilliant experience with Wicked, we had such a great time, and in my heart I thought it would be nice to revisit that amazing time all over again. But the years went by and I did other things. I was actually in the mix for a few other things and then I received the offer to go back to Wicked, it was totally unexpected! However, it didn’t take me long to make up my mind! I had such incredibly fond memories of the first time around and felt that it was my time again. It was an easy decision."

Oliver Tompsett
Original West End cast member & former Fiyero

"Well Fiyero was my first big lead role when I was promoted from understudy to lead so when I was asked to stay as Fiyero for longer I was at a point in my life where I had the chance to erase any debt and to get myself in a financially strong position, plus it’s obviously a great show so I was more than happy to stay! The person who inspired me to go into musicals is Adam Garcia; to understudy and eventually take over from in Wicked was such an honour."

Kerry Ellis
Original cast member, first British Elphaba

"I absolutely love it! It is a fantastic show! The stage time for Elphaba is phenomenal, probably one of the most out of all the female roles out there. I know I keep saying that I’m very fortunate, but I really am! I do enjoy it – it’s as straightforward as that. It’s an easy show to enjoy because you have some great songs, great scenes and some brilliant co-stars! Who doesn’t like being clapped at the end of their day?!"

Dianne Pilkington
Former Glinda

"I loved working alongside Kerry (Ellis) and Alexia (Khadime). When you’re given such a complex character like Glinda, you can always find something more and I think if you ever get to the stage where you can’t find something more then it’s time to go. I still love the show! I was a fan before I went into it and I am still a fan now, I just had the most amazing time!"

Oliver Watton
Former Understudy Fiyero

"Very much. I absolutely adore this show. It’s so beautifully put together. It’s exciting and moving and funny and all the things a musical should be. I remember seeing the original cast here in London and being blown away by the whole production. To be part of it now feels like a dream come true. I still have moments where I have to pinch myself. It’s hard work though as it’s such a busy show for the ensemble but of course it’s also great fun. I feel very lucky to be not only in a job that I love but also blessed with one of the friendliest companies I’ve ever been in."

Eden Espinosa
Original Broadway Standby Elphaba

"I really didn’t know that the show would be what it is today - I don’t think anyone did at the time. I knew it was special and I knew it spoke to me, but to imagine it being a global phenomenon?! I also didn’t anticipate the part I would play in its early years. Playing Elphaba for 7 years (on and off), people watching me on YouTube and so on. Wicked most definitely changed my life for good... see what I did there? [laughs]"

Matthew Croke
Former Understudy Fiyero

"Wicked was one of my first jobs out of college – the first time I did it I was a flying monkey, nineteen years old, loving life in Wicked. I was very fond of the part of Fiyero back then. I thought, 'maybe I could do that one day’. To go back and go on as Fiyero was a dream come true, I couldn’t have had a better time in that role. It meant so, so much to me to give it my all and make the part my own. I grew so fond of it."

Mark Curry
Currently playing The Wizard

"There are so many levels to the story about people being different and not fitting in; what makes somebody good and what makes somebody bad, as well as are the evil really evil and are the good really good? Everybody is phenomenal! You walk in and the energy is terrific. Even though there are over 2,000 people in the audience most nights, you can feel them listening to you. Audiences get so into it! And at the end it’s like a rock concert."

Louise Dearman
Former Elphaba & Glinda

"People always say being in the levitator is scary but it’s really not! I find it less frightening than being in the bubble! It isn’t as high! In the bubble I would often look down and think “for goodness sake this is so high” and I felt like I would topple forwards – even though it’s very safe. But during Defying Gravity I forget that I’m even up there!"

Chlöe Hart
Former ensemble member

"Wicked was and is my favourite show; I had seen it thirteen times before I was in it. It was amazing – I got to do the show with Rachel Tucker who is the Queen! All hail Rachel Tucker! I met some of my closest friends in Wicked, I stayed on and did it for two years - I enjoyed it a lot."

Sophie Linder-Lee
Former Standby Glinda

"I never thought that I would achieve what I achieved in that building. I still have to pinch myself sometimes! I was very lucky to be welcomed into the company, and they were always so loyal to me. I really miss Glinda. She’s such a special part so I always knew that when I left I was going to miss it. Hopefully my time with the show isn’t quite done… you never know. I never expected to play Glinda once, let alone become a standby! It was absolutely nuts. There’s so much to that part so I never, ever got bored once. As an actor I was kept on my toes and able to work on my instincts. I loved singing it all and loved every scene, there was never a moment where I thought ‘I don’t want to do this bit’. I loved it!"

Oliver Savile
Currently playing Fiyero

"I saw it almost ten years ago with Adam Garcia and Idina Menzel and said ‘I want to do that’. He was amazing so I have big old boots to fill! I came down to London with my friend Callum Francis. We saved up and drove down on the mega bus – it was disgusting [laughs] – from Manchester. I literally said “I want to do that” and ten years later I am! I felt a little bit of pressure because there are so many good people who have played Fiyero. I approached it as ‘I’m just going to do what I was employed to do’. You do put your own stamp on it, you try to push and pull and say things differently."

Jennifer DiNoia
Currently playing Elphaba on Broadway

"Elphaba means so much to me. everything that Wicked stands for – equality, understanding, not judging a book by its cover and friendship – and how powerful friendship is. As performers we are so highly critical of ourselves, we can really beat ourselves up about things. Playing a character who is so strong minded helps me feel stronger in life. It’s like a booster - if I can make it through a show as Elphaba I can make it through anything."

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