Today, we are excited to share an interview with Marissa Lupp. Ms. Lupp is a cast member on the first national tour, where she is a crossover swing. Previously, she has been in the ensemble and understudied Glinda in the same company. Check out her interview below!
What was your first professional production? What did you learn from it?
Wicked was my first professional production! I’ve learned so much both artistically and personally along the way. I have to say the hardest thing was learning how to do a healthy 8-show week. To me it’s something that can’t be taught in school, it has to learned through experience.
How were you cast in “Wicked”?
I actually went to an open call for singers. There was a line around the block and we had to sing a Capella…I was terrified. They actually ended up calling me back! Next I had a work session with the vocal supervisor and a final callback where I was cast immediately after. I was so young and didn’t think I stood a chance, so I approached the entire process with a completely fearless attitude. Looking back that was probably the best thing I could have taken into the room.
What was, for you, the hardest part of the rehearsal process for the ensemble? What about for Glinda?
The rehearsal process for both of the roles was actually pretty smooth. Learning things in a rehearsal setting comes quickly and easy for me, but transferring everything to the stage is the hard part. Technical elements (especially the fog that seems endless) can easily throw me through a loop!
How did your first performance in the show go? How about as Glinda?
My first performance in the show was a complete blur. My only memory was that my green hat fell off during the opening number and I had no idea it did until Richard Blake handed it to me at the end of the scene and laughed. My first performance as Glinda was also a blur but multiplied by at least 20. All I remember was getting the call, going to work where my dresser gave me a clay star that she made for me, and then going home and ordering a gigantic chocolate cake from room service. It was called the “Tuxedo Bomb”. It was amazing.
You’ve seen several other people do the role of Glinda – do you find yourself using some of their quirks in the role or do you make it completely your own?
Originality in itself is quite an interesting topic. It’s hard to trace exactly where ideas and choices come from, who “coined” them, etc. As an understudy I try my best to do things that I think are original but sometimes we are kept on a very short leash. Still, I think it is very important to stay true to yourself and the character that you’ve created. And if that character happens to share some quirks with other actresses, it’s just the nature of the game.
Which is more exhausting – the heavy singing and dancing of the ensemble or the extreme singing and emotional journey as Glinda?
I’d say they’re both exhausting, but on different levels. Glinda is a roller coaster and once you’re on, the show flies by. On the other hand, the ensemble gets little breaks here and there which can get thoroughly exhausting after a while.
Could you ever see yourself playing any other roles in “Wicked”?
Actually, yes. I’ve always wanted to be a crossover swing (the swing who covers both dancers and singers) because I think it would be a fun challenge!
What is your favorite city thus far, and why?
My favorite city hands down has been Seattle. There’s something about the Pacific Northwest that I find so haunting and beautiful. I took up swing dancing, ate great seafood, listened to amazing music, and also had time to enjoy outdoor activities. It had everything I look for in a city. And then some!
Do you have any favorite stagedoor stories to share?
None in particular…except all the times my mother is at the stage door. If you are within blocks of her you will know that her daughter is in Wicked. People actually start asking her for her autograph because she’s so enthusiastic. It’s hilarious.
Do you have any funny blooper stories you’d like to share?
Too many to count! It seems like all the technical difficulties happen when I’m onstage, that’s for sure. Bubble malfunctions, missing props, sound difficulties, costume problems, etc. You name it, it’s probably happened.
What’s your advice to aspiring actors?
Know who you are. This industry can be a very lonely and difficult place unless you have a strong sense of self. Because ultimately, acting is about who you are and what you can bring to a role. I didn’t get this role because I was the best short, perky, blonde girl out there. I got the role because I was me and I had fun doing it!