Today’s exclusive interview is provided by Ms. Carrie Manolakos, the standby for Elphaba on the 2nd National Tour of “Wicked”. She has previously been with “Mamma Mia” as Sophie on both the tour and on Broadway. She joined the 2nd National Tour when it opened in March of this year. We thank Carrie for her willingness to do this interview. Check it out below!
My first professional job as part of the union was Mamma Mia. I got that job right before my senior year of college. We had casting directors come in and teach audition workshops at NYU, and from there they called me to audition for Sophie. I got the job after a few auditions, and I went on tour for a year and a half. I finished up my degree during the summer of the following year.
The rehearsal process for me was mostly watching and retaining. Because we were in rehearsal in New York for 5 weeks before tech, and then had 2 weeks of tech, I had about 9 weeks of watching before I really got on my feet. And then I touched on each scene a few times, had a put in and had to be ready to go!
My first performance for Elphaba happened half way through the show. I was prepared to go on at Emerald City, but went on at intermssion. My first show was just act 2. I was definitely nervous, but I was ready. The following night, I did the whole show and was so excited to go on. I had so much fun. I have gone on in the middle of the first act as well. I had to remember to breathe because there is so much going on with trying to get green and get into costume as fast as possible.
[referring to her time in Mamma Mia!]: It’s always a challenge going from one production of a show to another because each company is different. And as a performer I am used to specific things, as well as the actors I am onstage with. But that is also exciting to see other people choices and what they bring to their character. It’s always a gift to see what a new performer brings out in you.
In all of my spare time backstage, I learned how to play the guitar and I started writing music on both guitar and Piano. It’s always something I wanted to do, and now I had the time and the courage to start! I have loved doing that. 🙂 I am hoping to record an album in the next year, too!
As far as dream roles go, Elphaba was always a dream role of mine. But as far as the future goes, I would really love to create a role and be a part of an original company. So I don’t think I have that perfect role in mind yet, because the show may not be written! 🙂
We thank Carrie for this wonderful insight into her life as a standby for Elphaba, and we hope so see her someday promoted into the leading role!