Today, we bring you our first exclusive interview of 2011, provided by the lovely Emily Rozek. Ms. Rozek has a wonderful history with “Wicked”, having been the standby for Glinda in Los Angeles (two separate times) and an ensemble member and cover for Glinda on the 1st National Tour (where she was an original cast member). Check it out below!
What was your first professional acting job and what did you learn from the experience?
My first professional acting job was at the Helen Hayes theatre in Nyack. I played the role of Marta in Company starring Norm Lewis and Donna Mckechnie. I booked the job just after my graduation from The Boston Conservatory. My first Broadway show was Annie Get Your Gun starring Bernadette Peters. There was a lot to be learned in both shows and working with those amazing actors was priceless. I believe that the best way to learn is by observing people you respect and admire.
Other than “Wicked”, what has been your favorite acting job so far?
My favorite role was Millie Dillmount in Broadway’s Thoroughly Modern Millie. I enjoyed her wit and tough persona. It was extremely fun for me to play.
Tell us your audition & casting story for “Wicked”.
I don’t actually have a long and drawn out casting story for Wicked. I only went in once and was cast as the understudy for Glinda for the first national tour. From there, I was promoted to the Stand-by position in the Los Angeles company and the rest happened from there. I was excited to be a part of the show, but nervous about how to play the role initially. I knew I couldn’t be a carbon copy of what had already been done so the trick was to bring myself into the character while also keeping within the set form of the show and direction.
What was your initial rehearsal process for Glinda like?
My rehearsal process for Glinda started with basic music and blocking and it was actually through performing the role as frequently as I did that I found my own portrayal.
How did you stay fresh in the ensemble each night?
Any of us in a show, whether it be in the ensemble or playing a lead role works to stay fresh by staying present with the other performers on stage each night. Our goal is to tell the story and we all play a part in that. The audience is new each night and brings with it its own energy. That helps create something new each night.
How did your move to Los Angeles come about? Did you have to audition a second time?
As I said above, I was offered the Los Angeles position from the tour, so no. I did not audition again.
What, for you, is the best and worst part of being in a hit show like “Wicked”?
Being in a hit show like Wicked is a huge blessing, but a long running show like that can also have its down side. It’s very easy to get used to the income and get a false sense of stability within the business. Most of us, once in a show like Wicked, stay for quite some time instead of auditioning frequently. As hard as it is to go in and out of employment, moving from show to show helps build a resume and offers many experiences with many different shows. All that said, I am monumentally grateful for Wicked and all it has given me.
Do you have any memorable stagedooring experiences you’d like to share?
I always enjoyed the people at the stage door and how touched they were by the show. It was a constant reminder that what we do reaches people. We all like to feel like what we do makes a difference.
What are some dream roles you have in mind?
One of my dream roles is Polly in Crazy For You and I just got to play the role this past fall for the first time. It was the first Broadway show I ever saw and I have wanted to play the role ever since.
Would you ever consider a return to “Wicked”?
Depending on the situation, I would absolutely return to Wicked. One never knows.
What advice do you have for aspiring performers?
I would advise aspiring performers to keep training and learning from people they look up to. Also, to figure out what is special about them. Don’t try to fill someone else’s shoes. Build your own.