Wicked, the musical phenomenon has been seen by more than 44 million people in 13 countries. It premiered in the West End at London’s Apollo Victoria on 27 September 2006 and has been running there ever since. It was the first full production outside the US.
My wife and I received prime stall tickets to review the show from Official Theatre and Seat Plan, which coincided with Emma Hatton’s elevation to the lead Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. She joined the cast from We Will Rock You in late 2013 as the standby Elphaba, but due to a back injury sustained by lead Willemijn Verkaik, Emma performed the role more frequently. She temporarily became the lead in July 2014, performing her 100th show at the Apollo on 3 September and this month her lead role was made permanent. It’s fair to say she was familiar with the part.
The other lead, Glinda The Good was played by the sensational Savannah Stevenson who’s been living in ‘the bubble’ since July 2013, replacing lead Gina Beck in November that year. As it turned out Emma wasn’t Elphaba the night we saw it. Having drawn her, I did think she looked a bit different, but to misquote a famous muppet amphibian, “it’s not easy recognising people when they’re green.” Which witch was which?
Natalie Andreou, the standby Elphaba, also joined the show this month from the the jukebox musical Rock of Ages. It was a memorable performance, Defying Gravity especially, the big number to end the first half, was impressive, but when she belted out No Good Deed in the second, the audience responded with thunderous applause.
We waited at the stage door and Savannah came out armed with her own sharpie. In the show she’s blonde, in real life she’s not, so waiting fans had to ask who she was. “I get that all the time,” she said. She happily signed my sketch and I said, “It must take Emma a lot longer to remove the green make up”. She concurred and then told me it was Natalie doing the part. I didn’t have a sketch of Natalie. So I left the sketch of Emma and Savannah at the theatre, went home and did one of Natalie as Sherrie in Rock, and her most recent role as Snow White at the Opera House in Mancherster over the festive season and posted it. Both came back signed…. so here they are…. I got to see Wicked for free and witches three!