Dutch songstress Willemijn Verkaik has played the central role of Elphaba in the Musical WICKED over 2,000 times in London, Europe and Broadway, which is more than anyone else and is the only person to have played the role in three different languages – English, Dutch and German. She made her West End debut at the Apollo Victoria in 2013, but for health reasons left the show eight months later, only to return in January this year as part of the show’s 10th Anniversary celebrations. Her final performance was on the 22nd of July. In an online poll of 16,000 voters she was chosen as the ‘Wicked Personality of the Year’. It took me a while, missing Willemijn on a few occasions at various venues, but I finally got my sketch signed prior to her departure at the Apollo.
Northern Irish singer Rachel Tucker has returned to the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London to play Elphaba in WICKED-a role she knows well, having played it longer than anyone else in the production’s history. Rachel replaced Alexia Khadine in March 2010 and in June 2012 she succeeded Kerry Ellis as the longest running performer to play the green witch. She left the show in October of that year for maternity leave after over 900 performances. In September 2015 Rachel reprised the role on Broadway, replacing Caroline Bowman at the Gershwin Theatre until 30 July this year. In early September she returned to the London production in time for its 10th Anniversary, replacing Emma Hatton where she signed my sketch.