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Our Top 10 Broadway Elphaba's
Abigail November 11th, 2020
A rundown of our favorite actresses who embraced the green!
Now in its 17th year, Wicked continues to be the toast of Broadway. With over nineteen actresses stepping into the iconic role of Elphaba, a.k.a the Wicked Witch of the West, we've taken on the challenge and compiled a list of our 10 favorite Broadway Elphaba's!
It wouldn't be a favorite top 10 without the queen herself, Idina Menzel. Originating the iconic green role on Broadway, Idina's powerful vocals shot Wicked into the musical stratosphere. Idina's portrayal of Elphaba has seen her win a Tony award, originate the role on the West End and has seen her career skyrocket from the stage. Now a certified Broadway legend, Idina may be known to younger musical fans as the voice (and vocal powerhouse) behind Elsa in Disney's megabucks movie franchise, Frozen.
STEPHANIE J. BLOCK
Stephanie J. Block is the star who makes up the building blocks of Wicked as we know it today. Block was a key member of the show's creation and built the role of Elphaba with the production team in early workshops in the early 2000s. Although she didn't originate the role on Broadway, Block starred as the green-skinned witch in the production's first national tour. She then went onto star as Elphaba on Broadway between 2007 and 2008!
Comedy legend Ana Gasteyer has appeared in TV shows like Seinfeld, starred on Saturday Night Live and played Cady Heron's (played by Lindsey Lohan) mom in fellow SNL actor Tina Fey's 2004 hit, Mean Girls. Gasteyer first performed as Elphaba between 2005 and 2006 in the Chicago production, for which she was nominated for a Jefferson Award, before heading to Broadway to reprise her role for a limited run in 2006. Not only an accomplished comedy and Broadway actress, Gasteyer's talents have also seen her become an accomplished solo artist, releasing her own Christmas album, Sugar and Booze, in 2019.
Eden Espinosa is definitely a Wicked favorite having starred as Elphaba in the San Francisco and Los Angeles productions, the first national tour and on Broadway! Espinosa was starring as Elphaba as the Broadway production reached its milestone 1000th performance, alongside Megan Hilty as Glinda on March 21st 2006.
Making her Broadway debut in the 2002 production of Hairspray! Shoshana Bean began her Wicked journey as Idina Menzel's understudy. After Menzel left the Broadway production in 2005, Shoshana Bean took over the role of Elphaba full time until 2006. Bean then reprised her role in the production's national tour in 2006. Since then, Bean has starred as Jenna in the Broadway production of Waitress and has had a successful solo artist career, having released three albums (Superhero, O'Farrell Street and Spectrum).
West End star Kerry Ellis replaced Idina Menzel as Elphaba in the original London production of Wicked in 2007. Ellis was the first British woman to play Elphaba and reprised the role on Broadway in 2008. Before starring in Wicked, Ellis featured in West End productions of My Fair Lady, We Will Rock You and Les Miserables. Since then she has appeared in countless British TV shows as well as starring in London productions of Cats, Oliver! and Murder Ballad.
Currently starring as Angelica Schuyler in Lin-Manuel Miranda's mega-hit, Hamilton, Mandy Gonzalez has been a Broadway favorite for many years. Starring in In The Heights, Aida, Lennon and Dance of the Vampires Gonzalez starred as Elphaba on Broadway between 2010 and 2011. In 2019 Gonzalez headed to Washington to star as Mrs Walker in the regional production of The Who's Tommy at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Another London favorite, Tucker recently assumed the role of Captain Beverley Bass in the Broadway production of Come From Away after originating the role in the original London production. Tucker starred as Elphaba on Broadway between 2015 and 2016 after finding fame on the British TV show, I'd Do Anything and starring as Elphaba in the London production of Wicked between 2010 and 2012.
Dutch star Willemijn Verkaik is a Wicked record-breaker, having been the only actress to star as Elphaba in four countries and perform the role in three languages (English, Dutch and German)! Verkaik first starred as Elphaba in the German production (2007 - 2010), before reprising her role in the Dutch production (2011), on Boadway (2013), and in London in both 2014 and 2017. Throughout her career, Verkaik has taken to the Western Sky over 2000 times - what a star!
Jessica Vosk began her Wicked journey in the national tour, where she starred as Elphaba between 2016 and 2017. Vosk then headed to Broadway to reprise her role as Elphaba between 2018 and 2019. Her Broadway performance garnered her the 2019 Broadway.com Audience Choice Award for Best Replacement (female).