BWW INTERVIEWS: Alexia Khadime, London's Elphaba In WICKED
Hi, Alexia, and welcome to BWW:UK. How's everything going?
It's going really well, thank you. It's great being back; I was so glad to return to the show in May.
Have the fans welcomed you back?
Yes, it's been amazing! They're so dedicated; the show obviously touches a nerve.
Why do you think that is?
Because it's something people can relate to. It's a great story, but it does have bits of reality in there. If you're young, old, male, female, wherever you're from, you'll watch it and at some point you'll think, "I know what that's like." I first saw the show in Chicago in 2005, and I had no idea what it was about. I came out thinking how amazing and how well-written it was - I absolutely loved it.
But you must have had no idea then that you'd end up playing Elphaba in the West End!
I didn't even think I'd be considered! I didn't even dream of it! I was in The Lion King, and the same casting director was dealing with Wicked. They said to me, "Have you looked at the stuff for Elphaba? We'd really like to see you." And I did, and I kept getting recalled - I can't remember quite how many auditions I went through, but it was more than five. Then I got the phone call, and my heart was thumping. I remember saying to them, "No, I can't have got it, you're lying!"
It's famously hard work playing Elphaba.
Yes, it's very hard work. You've got to look after yourself. I have a long list of do's and don'ts, simply because I don't get any breaks and I've got to stay fit and healthy.
Are you quite attached to Elphaba now?
You get attached to any role. You start to learn different things about the character, and performances change every night, so you react differently. I think it's impossible to not get attached.
What will you do next?
I don't know! I'm open to all sorts. I never say I'm only going to do one thing - why limit yourself? There are other roles out there - I didn't even think about auditioning for Elphaba, so who knows? I'd love it if Aida came here. And there are always shows being written. But I'm open to everything - TV, music, movies - I want to do it all. It's not an easy industry, so it's good to grow and learn things about yourself.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to star in the West End?
It's funny, actually, the other night at stage door there were a group of girls who had just started at Mountview, and they asked me what I'd advise them. I said to take whatever you can - your teachers are your eyes, your MDs are your ears. However it feels on stage, it might not play like that. Enjoy it - you've got to enjoy it, it's got to come from the heart. Take criticisms as a positive, keep your options open and listen. That's what makes you a better performer.