Willemijn Verkaik to Join WICKED as 'Elphaba' in February!
Willemijn Verkaik was born in The Netherlands. She studied both performance and teaching of vocal technique at the Rotterdam Conservatory. Willemijn's professional singing career began as a lead vocalist for many pop bands. After ten years on the road, she turned her attention to musical theatre and appeared in the ensemble of the dutch Joop van de Ende produced musical Elisabeth. In 2001-2002 she toured with the theatre group 'JEANS', in which she was one of a company of eight players. In 2003, Willemijn understudied and played 'Queen Anna' in the world premiere of the musical 3 Musketiers.
The Dutch Army-Orchestra brought in 2004 a new production to the theatre called Eternity in which Willemijn played the lead part of 'Barbara'. At the end of that year she left for Cologne, Germany where she covered and played 'Scaramouche', 'Killer Queen' and 'Ozzy (Meat)' in the Queen and Ben Elton musical We Will Rock You. In 2009 the Elton John and Tim Rice musical Aida was performed at the Open-air Theater of Tecklenburg, Germany in which Willemijn played the role of 'Amneris.' For this performance she received the Da Capo Award for Best Musical Performer. Later that year, Willemijn became a founder member of the New World Musical Ensemble, of which their inaugural production was Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World on the stage of the Wilhelmatheater Stuttgart. The readers of Germany's 'Musicals Magazine' voted Willemijn best actress in both 2009 and 2010. Since November 2007, Willemijn has become best known to German audiences for her portrayal of the misunderstood witch Elphaba in the hit musical Wicked - die Hexen von Oz. http://www.willemijnverkaik.nl/
Broadway's #1 show for an unprecedented eight consecutive years, Wicked has been declared "A Cultural Phenomenon" by Variety and "The Best Musical of the Decade" by Entertainment Weekly. There are currently 7 productions worldwide: New York, London, Japan, Holland, Seoul and two concurrent North American National Tours. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Winnie Holzman. The production is directed by Joe Mantello with musical staging by Wayne Cilento. Wicked is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone.
Winner of 35 major awards including the Grammy Award and three Tony Awards, Wicked is the untold story of the witches of Oz. Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. Wicked tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.