Broadway gem Wicked opens in December. City News meets Suzie Mathers who plays Glinda the Good Witch.
Contributed By Yong Yung Shin
Even if you’re not a fan of musicals, you would have heard by now that Wicked, one of Broadway’s hottest selling acts, will be performing in Singapore come December. Relating the untold story of the witches of Oz long before Dorothy came onto the scene, Wicked tells the journey of friendship between two girls who couldn’t be more different—one is smart, fiery, misunderstood and has emerald green skin (no relation to Shrek); the other, beautiful, ambitious and very popular.
Wicked has won 35 major awards including a Grammy and three Tony Awards. It is directed by 2003 and 2004 Tony Award winner Joe Mantello (Assassins, Take Me Out, Frankie & Johnny In The Clair de Lune), and is currently in its eighth year on Broadway.
Much has been said about the sets; there are 54 scenes and locations, each with distinctive mood and lighting. Says technical manager Cameron Flint, “The set extends out into the auditorium to draw the audience into the story. There are seamlessly smooth scene changes and some stunning flying effects: Glinda’s first entrance is via a gliding bubble, resplendent in burnished aluminium, dispersing thousands of bubbles all over the stage; and what would the Land of Oz be without its flying monkeys?”
The Australian cast that will be performing in Singapore has delivered successful runs in Melbourne and Sydney. City News takes five with the leading lady of Wicked’s Singapore show, Suzie Mathers, and uncovers how the one-time law student battles the nerves as she takes on the role of Glinda the Good Witch for the first time.
What is it about the role that inspires you?
Vocally, it’s a demanding role—she starts in a soprano range and has to hit the pop belt in the middle, and then do a duet with Elphaba which is on a lower range. Character-wise, she’s really fun and bubbly. She’s the kind of person who has everything, but by the end, she learns a lot about life and about herself.
What are the challenges of being part of the show?
Making the role my own and putting my own flavor in it. After all, the show is eight years old, and there’s been so many Glindas, so I try not be just another Kristin Chenoweth (who played the original Glinda on Broadway) or someone else. Another challenge is the stamina; to do eight shows a week while giving the same fresh, high energy show every night.
I was actually studying law of commerce at the University of Western Australia; I then joined an amateur theater club and once I caught the acting bug, I couldn’t let it go.
What’s your most effective secret to combating stage fright?
Being very well-rehearsed so that you don’t double-guess what you’re going to do onstage. Also I try to turn up at the very last second before the curtains go up because I’m not good at waiting around.
What’s one thing you’re looking forward to experiencing here in Singapore?
Wicked opens on Dec. 7, 2011 at Marina Bay Sands. Tickets from S$65 to S$250 from Sistic.