Nessa’s Niblets: March 30, 2015

Alison Luff

Alison Luff

Alison Luff (former Elphaba – 1st Natl. Tour) is currently playing Miss Honey in the Broadway production of MATILDA. Other former WICKED cast members who have been in MATILDA include Alex Brightman (former Boq – Broadway) and Richard H. Blake (former Fiyero – Asian Tour, Broadway, 1st Natl. Tour).

Stephen Schwartz (composer of WICKED) and Eugene Lee (Scenic Designer) both graduated from Carnegie Mellon University.

Joel Grey (The Wizard – Original Broadway Cast) was in the opening night cast of the Broadway Revival of ANYTHING GOES. Stephanie J. Block (former Elphaba – Broadway, 1st Natl. Tour; former ensemble, u/s Elphaba – Pre-Broadway), Erin Mackey (former Glinda – Broadway, Los Angeles, Chicago; former ensemble, u/s Glinda – Chicago; former swing – 1st Natl. Tour), Brandon Rubendall (former ensemble, u/s Fiyero – 1st Natl. Tour), and Hayley Podschun (former Glinda – 2nd Natl. Tour) also performed in this revival of ANYTHING GOES.

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Nessa’s Niblets: March 16, 2015

Felicia Ricci

Felicia Ricci

Felicia Ricci (former s/b Elphaba, former ensemble, u/s Elphaba – San Francisco) currently teaches a free singing course via her website.  She has also written a book called “Unnatutually Green” about her time in WICKED.

Sam Lips (former ensemble, u/s Fiyero – 2nd Natl. Tour) and Kristine Reese (former Nessarose – 2nd Natl. Tour, 1st Ntl. Tour; former swing, u/s Nessarose – 1st Natl. Tour) are currently touring the country in PIPPIN as Pippin and Catherine respectively.  Other former WICKED cast members to perform in PIPPIN include Kyle Dean Massey (former Fiyero – Broadway, 1st Natl. Tour; former ensemble, u/s Fiyero – Broadway, 1st Natl. Tour) and Billy Harrigan Tighe (former Fiyero, former ensemble, u/s Fiyero – 2nd Natl. Tour).

Jeffrey Kuhn (former Boq – Broadway) is currently playing Zazu in the Broadway production of THE LION KING. 

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Emily Mechler Cast in Broadway’s THE VISIT

Emily Mechler

Emily Mechler

Emily Mechler (former ensemble, u/s Glinda – Broadway) has been cast in the upcoming Broadway musical, THE VISIT. Ms. Mechler will cover the roles of Young Claire Zachanassian, Ottilie Schell and Annie Dummermut, played by Michelle Ventimilla, Elena Shadow and Diana DiMarzio, respectively.

Starring Chita Rivera, THE VISIT tells the story of Claire Zachanassian, the world’s wealthiest woman who returns home for the first time in decades. THE VISIT marks the final collaboration between legendary composing team, John Kander and Fred Ebb.

THE VISIT will begin previews at Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre March 26, with an opening night set for April 23.

For tickets and more information, visit

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WICKED First National Tour to Close 3/15

The final Elphaba and Glinda of the 1st National Tour, Jennifer DiNoia and Chandra Lee Schwartz

The final Elphaba and Glinda of the 1st National Tour, Jennifer DiNoia and Chandra Lee Schwartz

The First National Tour of WICKED will play its final performance this Sunday, March 15 at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. Known as the Emerald City Tour, the production will close ten years to the week after the tour began in Toronto.

With 10 Glindas, 14 Elphabas and $790 million in grosses, the First National Tour of WICKED has played 4,160 performances, 124 engagements (including successful return engagements in major U.S. cities) and took in an average gross of $1.5 million a week. It broke box-office house records in every single stop it played. When the tour closes this Sunday, more than 10.3 million people will have seen this production of WICKED.

The second national tour of WICKED (the Munchkinland Tour) continues with no determined end in sight.

The production’s original Glinda was Kendra Kassebaum, who later played the role on Broadway and in San Francisco. Since her departure, the actresses who have played the role of Glinda in this WICKED company include Megan HiltyChristina DeCiccoKatie Rose ClarkeChandra Lee SchwartzAmanda Jane Cooper, Alli MauzeyPatti MurinJenn Gambatese and Gina Beck.

After having participated in early workshops of the show as Elphaba and understudying Idina Menzel in the show’s pre-Broadway engagement in San Francisco, Stephanie J. Block took on the role of Elphaba for the original First National Tour cast. Ms. Block was injured during a final dress rehearsal during a moment that has since been cut from the show, where Elphaba was to fly onto the stage prior to “No Good Deed.” The Toronto premiere of the tour was forced to postpone performances due to Ms. Block’s injury and Kristy Cates, who was understudying the role of Elphaba in the Broadway company of WICKED at the time, stepped in for the first three weeks of previews for the tour. Producers postponed the show’s official opening by a week until Block was well enough to perform the role of Elphaba. Other actresses to have performed the role of Elphaba on the First National Tour include Eden EspinosaJulia MurneyShoshana BeanVictoria MatlockCarmen CusackDonna VivinoJackie BurnsDee RoscioliMamie ParrisNicole ParkerAlison LuffEmma Hunton and Jennifer DiNoia.

The closing Emerald City tour cast of WICKED features Jennifer DiNoia as Elphaba, Chandra Lee Schwartz as Glinda, Kim Zimmer as Madame Morrible, Tim Kazurinsky as The Wizard, Nick Adams as Fiyero, Jenny Florkowski as Nessarose, Tom Flynn as Dr. Dillamond, Etai Benson as Boq, Emmy Raver-Lampman as the standby for Elphaba, with Lauren BoydKyle BrownNirine S. BrownRick DeslogeTimothy A. Fitz-GeraldDominic GiudiciBrenda Jean HamiltonSpencer JonesSheila KarlsTrevor Ryan KrahlRebecca KritzerMarina LazzarettoAllison LeoMarissa LuppRaymond Joel MatsamuraJonathan  McGillKevin McMahon, Shanon Mari MillsAshley Dawn MortensenCassie OkenkaAdam PerryChristopher RussoDaniel Switzer and Erin Wilson.


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Nessa’s Niblets: March 9, 2015

Jeanna de Waal

Jeanna de Waal

Jeanna de Waal (former Glinda – 2nd Natl. Tour) and Kennedy Caughell (ensemble, Elphaba u/s – 2nd Natl. Tour) both performed as Heather in AMERICAN IDIOT.

Idina Menzel (original Elphaba – West End, Broadway, Pre-Broadway)Lisa Brescia (former Elphaba – Chicago; former s/b Elphaba – Broadway) and Mandy Gonzalez (former Elphaba – Broadway)all played the role of Amneris in AIDA.

Andy Kelso (former Fiyero – 1st Natl. Tour) and Chris Peluso (former ensemble, u/s Fiyero – 2nd Natl. Tour, 1st Natl. Tour; former Fiyero – 2nd Natl Tour) both played Sky in the Broadway production of MAMMA MIA! Jerad Bortz (ensemble, u/s Fiyero – Broadway) was a Sky u/s. 


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Donna Vivino to Present “Confessions of a Broadway Baby” at 54 Below

Donna Vivino (former s/b Elphaba – Broadway, 1st Ntl. Tour; former Elphaba – 1st Ntl. Tour) will be doing another show at 54 Below! This show, entitled “Confessions of a Broadway Baby” is set for Saturday, April 25 at 9:30 pm. 

The cover charge starts at 30.00, and there is a 25.00 food and beverage minimum. The poster for the event – which includes a special discount code – is shown above. 

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Nessa’s Niblets: March 2, 2015

Derrick Williams

Derrick Williams

Derrick Williams (former Fiyero – Los Angeles, Broadway, Chicago, 1st Natl. Tour, former swing, u/s Fiyero – Broadway) and KJ Hippensteel (former ensemble, u/s Fiyero – 2nd Ntl. Tour) are currently in BOOK OF MORMON on Broadway as the General and Elder Price s/b respectively. Billy Harrigan Tighe (former Fiyero, ensemble, u/s Fiyero – 2nd Natl. Tour) is starring as Elder Price in the US tour of BOOK OF MORMON. Mr. Tighe previously portrayed Elder Price in the London production.

Liana Hunt (Nessarose – 2nd Natl. Tour), Jenny Fellner (former Nessarose – 2nd Natl. Tour, Broadway) and Carrie Manolakos (former s/b Elphaba – San Francisco, 2nd Ntl. Tour) have all starred as Sophie in the Broadway musical MAMMA MIA!

Marina Lazzaretto (Witch’s Mother, ensemble – 1st Natl. Tour) was in the ensemble of the opening night cast of WEST SIDE STORY.  Other WICKED cast members who have performed in WEST SIDE STORY on Broadway include Matt Shingledecker (Fiyero – Broadway, former Fiyero – 2nd Natl. Tour), Mikey Winslow (former ensemble, u/s Boq – 1st Natl. Tour), Manuel Herrera (former ensemble – Broadway; original Chistery, ensemble – Broadway, Pre-Broadway), and Phillip Spaeth (former Asst. Dance Captain, swing u/s Chistery – Los Angeles; former swing, u/s Chistery – San Francisco; former Chistery – Broadway).

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Annie Funke Cast in CBS Pilot, ‘LFE’

Annie Funke

Annie Funke

Annie Funke (former ensemble, u/s Madame Morrible – San Francisco) has been cast in the upcoming CBS medical drama pilot, LFE. Written/co-executive produced by Paul Downs Colaizzo, LFE is described as “a high-octane medical procedural centering on second-year residents at New York City’s top hospital as they  attempt to balance their god complexes with their humanity.”

Funke will play the role of Chelsi, a genius resident who works in the hospital’s internal wing.


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Media: WICKED in Atlanta


Alyssa Fox

Check out these great articles from the 2nd National Tours stop in Atlanta, Georgia. WICKED will play at the Fox Theater until March 8th. Get your tickets fast before it flies away!

Duluth graduate returns home as a castmember in the hit musical ‘Wicked’ (interview with cast member Lauren Haughton)

Theatre Review: ‘Wicked’ at The Fox

Witches’ Night Off Questionnaire with Wicked Cast Member Dash Mitchell

Smash musical Wicked comes to Atlanta (Video interview with John Davidson)

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Exclusive Interview: Matt Shingledecker

Hello readers & listeners! Today, we’re thrilled to share an exclusive interview Isaac had the pleasure of conducting with Matt Shingledecker, who currently plays the role of Fiyero on Broadway. Previously, he performed the role on the 2nd National Tour, and has also performed as Tony in WEST SIDE STORY on Broadway, Roger in RENT off-Broadway, and in multiple roles both on Broadway and on tour with SPRING AWAKENING. Click below to listen to his fantastic interview!

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