BWW Interviews: Teal Wicks of Broadway-Bound JEKYLL AND HYDE Answers Our Silly Query
After several years of being "green" as Elphaba in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Broadway productions of the hit musical WICKED, singer/actress Teal Wicks can now be seen touring the country in the new Broadway-bound revival of JEKYLL & HYDE: THE MUSICAL, in which she co-stars with Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis and Grammy nominated pop star Deborah Cox.
Featuring book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and music by Frank Wildhorn, this newly-conceived production -- which began previews locally at the La Mirada Theater for the Performing Arts last year -- will now be playing a limited 3-week engagement at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood starting February 12, before finally making its April bow at the Marquis Theatre in New York City.
Trading in her witch broom and pointy black hat, Wicks is now cinched into the 19-century corsets of Emma Carew, the uber-loyal fiancée of Dr. Henry Jekyll (played by Maroulis). While on the road, Ms. Wicks agreed to answer a few of our silly, rapid-fire questions... in which we learn her pre-show rituals, her past musical influences, and what she likes to belt out in the shower...
Subject: Teal Wicks
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Hi, Teal! So, you spent your college years here in Orange County, CA as a musical theater student at the University of California Irvine (UCI). Looking back at it now at 2013, what were some of the more significant things you learned about yourself that you first discovered during your time at that school?
Well, I discovered I could belt. I discovered Chekhov. I discovered that there is always more to learn and there is no such thing as a finished product when it comes to your art.
Many, of course, know you for playing Elphaba in WICKED in L.A., San Francisco and on Broadway. What was your favorite part of that experience?
It was a huge undertaking and I really discovered who I was as a performer through it all. I worked with so many amazing people and learned a lot from every one of them. I just grew a lot throughout my journey as Elphaba, and I am so grateful for it all... the good and bad, it has only made me stronger.
Would you ever go "Green" again?
My Broadway run was pretty much the pinnacle of my WICKED journey and I am happy discovering new roles, but [I might] with the right cast and maybe somewhere abroad like Australia.
You are currently playing Emma Carew in the Broadway-bound revival of JEKYLL & HYDE. What do you feel has been the most rewarding aspect of playing this role?
Tearing up the dance floor with Deborah Cox! Basically, this is quite a phenomenal cast and it is just a blast to play on stage with these folks every night.
Alright... time for the lightning round... Do you have any pre-show rituals that you do to prepare before a performance?
Vocal warm-ups and some stretching... coffee and some tunes to get in the zone.
Okay, imagine you've got an iPod and we stole it from you. What music will we find on it?
Music takes up about 75% of the storage on my phone, so I can't even begin to list individual artists! But mostly you'd find... classic rock, indie folk-rock, bluesy ladies, singer-songwriters from the 1960's and on, rough demos my boyfriend sends me of his original music, and my voice lessons.
In one sentence, describe what goes through your head right before you step out on stage:
Deep breath... And go.
What's your favorite musical cast album of all time?
Tough one! Too hard to pick one! RENT in high school; THE WILD PARTY (Andrew Lippa) and THE LAST FIVE YEARS in college; and now FLOYD COLLINS and ONCE.
Who were some of your icons and/or influences that have helped shape your journey as an actor?
In no particular order: Kate Winslet, Julie Andrews, Mary Louise Parker, Daniel Day Lewis, Gene Kelly, Sherie Renee Scott, Brian D'Arcy James, Audra McDonald, Sarah Vaughn, Janis Joplin, Patty Griffin, Bob Dylan... and my parents.
So what's the song that you like belting in the shower or when you're all alone in the car?
Either a Janis Joplin or an Aretha Franklin tune.
What is your one guilty pleasure?
Just one? Coffee.. it's actually more of an addiction!
What do you most like to do on your day(s) off?
Go for a walk, cook dinner, drink wine and watch a movie.
What or who irritates you the most?
When someone says they hate social media and then Instagrams their outfit! And when people lash out at others for no reason -- I don't understand that at all.
What instantly puts a smile on your face?
Live music or a puppy!
What makes you laugh uncontrollably?
The sneezing baby panda!
Name a dream role in another show you'd like to play someday that you haven't done yet...
Queenie in THE WILD PARTY or Dot in SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE.
If you could trade lives with someone for one day, who would that person be and why?
Anyone in the cast of ONCE. That show is theatrical perfection to me. To be able to do what they do and to live in the magic of that show for one night would be a dream!
If you weren't an actor, what other career do you see yourself doing?
Nothing really practical... either a professional snowboarder or a park ranger.
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing moment that has happened to you during a show?
I was playing Catherine in the National Tour of PIPPIN. I was not sure what city we were in, but I think it was Toronto. In the number "With You" we had some aerial silk choreography with a PIPPIN and a different lady for each verse -- I was one of them. We would enter with the silks wrapped around us and a pick would fly in for us to hook the silk onto so it would fly out and we could do our tricks. I was the third to enter and I had a silk hammock. So I am waiting in the wings to make my entrance and there seems to be some problem with the pick flying in. I make about three false entrances trying to see if the pick is going to make it in... it doesn't. So I have to enter without a hammock and no hope of doing our fancy flying choreography! Instead Joshua Park (who played Pippin) and I created an improvisational floor routine that was very reminiscent of Romy and Michelle's "Time After Time" routine -- I wanted to die!
And, finally, do you have any advice for our budding young readers who want to pursue a similarly successful career in musical theater?
Work hard and never take things for granted. The more you know, the more you have to draw from -- in the skills you hone and in life experiences. This is a business, so be respectful and professional with everyone you work with.
Follow Contributing Editor Michael Lawrence Quintos on Twitter: @cre8iveMLQ
Photo of Teal Wicks and Constantine Maroulis in JEKYLL & HYDE by Chris Bennion.
Performances of the pre-Broadway National Tour of JEKYLL & HYDE: THE MUSICAL at the Pantages Theatre continue through March 3 and are scheduled Tuesday through Friday at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm and 8 pm, and Sundays at 1pm and 6:30pm. Please Note: There is no evening performance on Sunday, March 3rd.
Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online at www.BroadwayLA.org, by phone at 1-800-982-ARTS(2787) or in person at the Pantages box office (opens daily at 10am) and all Ticketmaster outlets. The Pantages Theatre is located at 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, just east of Vine Street.