Today, we are pleased to publish an exclusive interview with Lindsay K. Northen. Ms. Northen has been a member of the Broadway company of “Wicked” since late 2006 dancing and singing in the ensemble, as well as being an understudy for the role of Glinda. Prior to this, she toured nationally in “The Sound of Music” as Maria. Check out her interview below!
– What was your first professional acting job and what did you learn from it?
The Main Street Theatre in Quaker town PA. I was an acting Intern, got 50 bucks a week, and was in the ensemble of Fame,Damn Yankees and Les Cage, while also building sets, making costumes, and putting up dry wall etc.
Pros of touring- you get to see the entire country and its kind of up to you how much you want to “explore” in each location. Con- Traveling is exhausting and sometimes in order to do your job well, you need to opt for watching TV in the hotel overseeing the world’s largest ball of string so you can SING that evening.
– What has been your favorite acting job thus far? Why?
Wicked is tied with the production of Pirates! at Goodspeed Opera House. It was a totally newly conceived version and I got to help create it from the ground up. That and East Haddam CT is awesome, as were the FANTASTIC ladies I was living and working with.
– How did you come to audition for “Wicked”, and what was the process like for you?
I got the audition from my agent while I was in CT doing Pirates. I was sent the material to learn for Glinda, went to NYC and sang the opening and popular and read 2 scenes, had 2 callbacks, had to do a dance call, and got the call about a week and a day later. The day before thanksgiving!
I felt like I was going to throw up, in the best way and my hands were shaking. I thought I was auditioning for the Chicago production, and was cast in the BROADWAY production…it was awesome.
– What was the most difficult part of your initial rehearsal process? What about your rehearsal process for Glinda?
The most difficult thing for me was learning choreography, in a group, without the rest of the group. Spacing and I have trouble. They teach you with numbers on the stage. Me and Numbers don’t get along so hot either. AS for Glinda, it was more of an acting challenge, on learning to find who she is and who she becomes as a REAL person, and not falling into the “clown” trap. You can get some serious laughs clowning around as Glinda…but they are cheap laughs, and Glinda isn’t real. Making her someone I know, or you know, that happens to be hilarious, was the challenge. It’s still a challenge, because I play that part so inconsistently.
– What was your first performance like in the ensemble? What about as Glinda?
In the ensemble, it went well, except I stopped dancing all together in the ballroom cross over and my strong and handsome dance partner at the time, Clifton Oliver, essentially picked me up and carried me where I was supposed to go. My first Glinda performance was nerve wracking but absolutely MAGICAL. Playing Glinda is always magical to some degree for me.
The WHOLE show changes with who is playing each of the witches. I love that, it’s awesome. You just have to hop on board and stay in the moment. Go along for the ride. At the top of Shiz, you just met her anyway, so you shouldn’t know her that well. It kind of works nicely. I’ve performed with Julia Murney, Lisa Brescia, Julie Reiber, Marcie Dodd, Kerry Ellis, and Nicole Parker. I think…
– What is the most difficult part of the show in the ensemble? What about when you’re on for Glinda?
The most difficult part of being in the ensemble is staying focused and energized during the show when you have been in it for a long time. It’s easy to fall into some serious shenanigans with those crazy fun people. Or to be lazy if you are tired for whatever reason. The most difficult part of playing Glinda for ME is not getting caught up in “Do I know this?! Did I just mess up the lyrics?” If I think too much about anything, I will second guess myself and then… I WILL mess up.
– Have you witnessed (or been involved in…) any bloopers or mishaps you’d like to share?
Oh we have many bloopers. One of my most obvious bloopers, is that I sang Elphaba’s (Lisa Brescia at the time) “For Good” lyrics during my first verse. She just looked at me like “What? Am I supposed to sing YOUR words now?!” but she just repeated her lyrics and we moved on. I was smirking, but that Lisa Brescia is a rock. You can’t make her laugh on stage for 10 million dollars.
– Could you ever see yourself playing any of the other roles in “Wicked”?
Whether or not I am RIGHT for it, i would love to play Nessa. Mostly for the evil part at the end. And the shoes.
– What are some dream roles for you? What about some people you’d love to perform with?
I would love to play “Violet” in the musical, Violet, which was off Broadway some time ago. I’d also like to be Mary Poppins! And Anne in a Little Night Music. I just want to go on for Glinda with Rondi. That’s who I’d like to perform with. And I REALLY wish I had gotten to play Glinda with Dee Roscioli.
– What advice would you give to aspiring actors and actresses?
Take Dance class. Take dance class NOW if you want to be in musicals. Be involved in as much theatre, on ANY level, as you can just to learn things from people more experienced than you. And be Nice. Be nice is good advice for anyone.