Today we will be sharing an interview with Jessica Randall, a fan of the show from Michigan who has seen the show several different times – including United States productions AND the production in Stuttgart. Enjoy the read below!
> Who is your favorite Elphaba and why?
—I have found that every actress I have been fortunate enough to see as Elphaba, has really taken the time to find her as a character. Elphaba is not a role that just anyone can jump into and expect to portray sufficiently.. Her hand movements, awkwardness, vulnerability, rage, facial expressions, stance, etc. are all important to make Elphaba who she is as this misunderstood college student. All while having the vocal ability behind it. The actress that completely seals the deal for me is Willemijn Verkaik. You can definitely tell that she has done her research and understands exactly w ho Elphaba is and who she wants her to be. She is a beautiful performer and could not be more gifted in the vocal department. I also give my upmost respect and credit to Carmen Cusack, Dee Roscioli and the six other actresses I have seen in the role. They all have brought something special to Elphaba in their own ways.
> Who is your favorite Glinda and why?
—Out of the eleven actresses I have seen as Glinda, my favorite would have to be Melissa Bohon. I just adore her in and outside of the role. She just radiates love for what she does and you can really tell she wants nothing more than to make the audience and fans happy. It is impossible to look at her and not crack a smile. The 1st National Tour was very lucky to have her and I personally wish more people would have had the opportunity to see her perform. I could rant wonderful things about her for days and days!
> Which Elphie/Glinda pair do you think has the best chemistry?
—I absolutely loved watching the connection between Carmen Cusack and Katie Rose Clarke. There were many moments throughout the show where you could definitely tell that their friendship outside of Wicked was very strong. They must have simply adored the time they spent together on tour.
> What other standouts have you seen in other principal roles? What about ensemble?
—Heidi Kettenring, Summer Naomi Smart and Cristy Candler were all standouts as Nessarose. I absolutely adored Kevin Kern as Fiyero, Jill Hayman as The Midwife and Don Richard as The Witch?s Father. The ensemble for me is what makes Wicked so special. That may just be the dancer in me talking, but the show could not go on without the work of the ensemble. They are all so fabulous! Some standout ensemble members I have seen are Neka Zang, Samantha Zack, Jessica Walker, Marisa Field, Mindy Reid, and then of course Melissa Bohon, Cristin Boyle, Michelle London and Kate Fahrner when they were in their ensemble tracks.
> Who are some standout understudies you have seen?
—Let me tell you these understudies/standbys make the Wicked world go round. Melissa Bohon as Glinda is an obvious one. Cristin Boyle and Kate Fahrner were always joys to watch as Glinda. I loved Lisa Brescia, Melanie Gebhard, Merideth Kaye Clark and Jennifer DiNoia as Elphaba. My first Elphaba ever, Victoria Matlock, was a standby at the time and I have absolutely no regrets seeing her perform. I have to remember to thank her someday, she did after all introduce me to not only Wicked, but really theatre in general. Understudies/Standbys have such enormous talent that is not always showcased, so it?s always great to see them in the spotlights. Im hoping to catch Carrie Manolakos on tour very soon!
> Who is the nicest person you have met at the stagedoor?
—Wicked has been really fortunate to have such wonderful people within its companies. Almost all of the cast members I have met at Wicked have been very sweet, but a few do stand out particularly. I will never forget the first time I met Lisa Brescia. She was just a gem. One of the most humble and gracious people I’ve ever met. Also at Wicked, Dee Roscioli, Jennifer DiNoia, Carmen Cusack, Melissa Bohon, Merideth Kaye Clark, Cristy Candler, Kevin Kern and Melanie Gebhard. Among other shows, J. Robert Spencer (Next to Normal), Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone (Legally Blonde), and Valerie Stanois (We Will Rock You).
> What was your favorite time seeing the show?
—I hold each performance I see very close to heart, but my favorite time seeing the show was definitely in Stuttgart, Germany. Not only was I in another country but it felt as though I was in a whole different world. I am a lot better at speaking German now than I was when I saw the show, but there was just something magical about it in this language. Since I didn’t understand the majority of what they were saying, I had to rely on their talent as actors and vocalists. I didn’t find myself listening to the words, but instead concentrating on their movements. It was a completely different experience and I am excited to see it again in Germany next year. Like they say, ‘1 Musical, 2 Hexen, Unendliche Magie!’
> Other than Wicked, what are some of your favorite shows?
—The musical ‘Tanz der Vampire’ is just remarkable, as well as ‘We Will Rock You.’ I am one of the people who pretty much likes everything they see if it is done with talent and professionalism. Next to Normal was also a show that left me staring at the ceiling going “Did that really just happen!?…wow, good for them!
> Which “Wicked” alumni/current cast member’s work outside of “Wicked” do you admire most?
—I think it’s really great that once a performer has done ‘Wicked’ they draw in a fan base so that after they leave ‘Wicked’ a lot of people look into their next projects and shows. The ‘Wicked’ alumni cast member I admire most for their work outside of ‘Wicked’ is Summer Naomi Smart who was a Nessarose in Chicago. She is an all around beautiful person who has starred in shows such as ‘Sweet Charity’ and ‘The Light in the Piazza? post her time with ‘Wicked. I’ve always been a fan of Stephanie J. Block’s work, especially with ‘9 to 5′ and ‘The Pirate Queen.’ Also, I love Caissie Levy’s current work with ‘Hair.’ Carmen Cusack has done some great projects outside of ‘Wicked’ as well as a personal favorite of mine, Laura Bell Bundy, whom I have worked with here in Michigan.
PHOTO: Jessica with Cristy Candler (former Broadway Nessarose) in Times Square