They’re wicked! 11 of our favourite West End Elphabas
Considered to be one of the most coveted roles in musical theatre, playing Elphaba is often a highlight of an actor’s career. Since Wicked first transported London audiences to Oz in 2006, 11 actresses have made the character their own.
In honor of the show’s 14th anniversary in the West End, let’s take a trip down the yellow brick road and discover more about all the Elphabas of the West End.
Originating the character on Broadway, Menzel’s powerful performance earned her the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. So, when it was confirmed that West End audiences could see the Broadway star defy gravity at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, it’s no surprise that Wicked became the must-see show in the capital. Menzel reprised the role for just 16 weeks, but she definitely made her mark on the greenest production in town. She’s also starred in the Broadway premiere of If/Then as well as being the voice of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen; she’s definitely not gone “Into the Unknown.”
(Jan. 2007 – Jun. 2008, Dec. 2008 – May 2009, Aug. – Oct. 2014)
Taking over the role from Menzel, Ellis made theatre history as the first British actress to play the Wicked Witch of the West. She’s since played the role in London on three separate occasions over the course of seven years, and has even released rock versions of songs including “I’m Not That Girl” alongside Queen band member Brian May. Following in the footsteps of Menzel, Ellis reprised her performance in the Broadway production of Wicked to critical acclaim. As well as starring in Wicked in London, Ellis has played Nancy in Oliver! and Grizabella in Cats.
(Jun. – Nov. 2008, May 2009 – Mar. 2010)
Making history as the first woman of colour to play Elphaba in Wicked in the West End, the show marked Khadime’s second West End musical, previously starring in The Lion King as Nala. She originally covered the role while Ellis was on Broadway; however she made her mark on British theatre, receiving a Woman of the Future award alongside her co-star, Dianne Pilkington. You may have also seen Khadime in other West End productions, as she’s played Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon as well as Miriam in the world premiere of The Prince of Egypt.
(Mar. 2010 – Oct. 2012, Sept. 2016 – Jan. 2017)
With over 1,000 performances on both sides of the pond, Tucker definitely knows a thing or two about what it means to be “popular” in this show. Her first run saw her become one of the longest-serving Elphaba’s of all time, later returning to the Apollo Victoria Theatre for the show’s 10th anniversary. More recently, West End audiences have been able to see Tucker as Beverley Bass in the West End transfer of Come From Away.
(Oct. 2012 – Nov. 2013)
While Dearman made her Elphaba debut in 2012, did you know that she’d already starred in the musical? Yep, starring alongside Tucker all pretty in pink, Dearman turned green for over a year, making her the first actress to play both Elphaba and Glinda! She’s often seen performing up and down the country with Wicked alum Kerry Ellis, or starring in new musicals and celebratory concerts.
(Nov. 2013 – Jul. 2014, Jan.-July 2017)
Could you deliver powerhouse performances in different languages night after night? That’s exactly what Verkaik’s done, as she’s portrayed Elphaba in German, Dutch, and English. This trilingual actress had to cut performances short though, as a back injury debilitated her ability to perform. But, London audiences weren’t to miss out as she returned in 2017. Wicked is Verkaik’s only West End credit, but you can also hear her in German and Dutch translations of Disney’s Frozen, following in Menzel’s footsteps.
(Oct. 2014 – Jan. 2015)
DiNoia’s journey to the Western sky really is nothing short of theatrical magic. Starting as a swing for the Chicago production, DiNoia has provided emergency cover for productions on Broadway, as well as South Korean and Australian tours. Cast as the lead on Broadway in 2013, she hopped on her broomstick for her London debut the following year, holding the record for playing in the most international productions of Wicked. She’s still in the Broadway production of Wicked as standby Elphaba, so who knows, you may even see her onstage!
(Feb. 2015 – Sept. 2016)
Starting her professional musical theatre career in her 20s after studying English and Sport Science at university, Hatton proved it’s never too late to pursue becoming a West End leading lady. Cast in Wicked in 2013, she gave over 100 performances as standby Elphaba. Later promoted to the role two years later, Hatton stayed as the Wicked Witch of the West until 2016. She’s also starred as the titular lady in a national tour and West End run of Evita.
(July 2017 – July 2019)
After understudying roles including Cosette and Fantine in Les Miserables, Fearn became a bonafide leading lady, taking over the role in 2017. But, being a witch doesn’t last forever, and after two years at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, Fearn flew out of Oz. She can currently be seen in the West End production of Come From Away as Beverley Bass, taking over from the aforementioned Tucker.
(July 2019 – Feb. 2020)
Set to take over the role in 2019, Bentley’s run as Elphaba was cut short due to a family emergency. She’s previously starred in West End musicals including Spamalot, Ghost, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. We can’t wait to hear her voice soar at the Apollo Victoria Theatre again.
(Feb. 20 – Present)
Billed to take over Elphaba from Bentley, her run was cut even shorter thanks to a global pandemic. Wicked marks Pick’s debut West End performance, but she’s starred in productions including Anyone Can Whistle and The Sound of Music. We’re excited to see Pick in action!