BWW INTERVIEWS: WICKED's Natalie Anderson
First of all, how's it going?
It's going really well. It's my first time in the West End, but it's something that I've always wanted to do - both Wicked and being in Theatreland!
Wicked is famous for having incredibly dedicated fans - how are you getting on with them?
They are so dedicated, and they're all really lovely. They're so loyal, and they know the show so well - it keeps you on your toes. And of course they spend lots of money coming to see the show regularly, so it inspires you even more to give your very best performance every time.
You're not the only new cast member - how are all the others settling in?
Alexia [Alexia Khadime] is lovely, and we get on really well. We play sisters on stage, so it's a nice relationship that we have. Sam Kelly is lovely too, he's SUCH a nice man. We were all nervous together on the first night!
This is your first West End appearance but you've always been a singer.
Yes, I've been singing for a really long time. I trained in musical theatre and acting, but it just so happens that my career's been in TV for a while. I took time out last year to record my album, and now I'm here.
Have you been accused of being part of the "stunt-casting" phenomenon?
Yes, sometimes, which is really frustrating. I find myself defending myself and telling people that musical theatre and singing are where I started, I didn't do TV until later. I was always in school shows; I was in a band when I was 16!
And your album came out last year. How much creative control did you have with that?
I had pretty much total control as I was also executive producer. Obviously the producers made their changes, but if there was something I didn't like, we changed it again.
What about choosing the songs you sang?
I'm always very conscious that I have a family following, and I don't ever want to alienate people who have followed me. It was the same thing with Wicked - a lot of people who have watched me in The Royal are really excited that they can come and see me in a family show, and it's been lovely to get letters from young girls who watch The Royal and also love Wicked!
Nessa-Rose isn't really much of a singing part, though...
No, and I'm glad it's not! We have such a phenomenal Elphaba and Glinda, and I'm glad that playing Nessa-Rose with them is my introduction. I have lots to learn having been in a different genre for so long, and this is such a nice way in.
How are you getting on with Nessa-Rose's wheelchair?
Oh, the wheelchair! There are three different wheelchairs, and on my opening night, the big wheelchair - the one I have for my big scene - had no brakes. Honest to God. I couldn't believe it. I was thinking, "This can't be happening," but it did. So when I got to the bit where I had to stand up, it started rolling towards the orchestra pit - I had to stick my leg out to stop it! I nearly had a heart attack. It was a baptism of fire.
What would your ideal musical theatre role be?
Roxie in Chicago. It's such a terrific acting part. That would be perfect, that's my dream role. But lots of people must say that!