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What It's Like Being The Elphaba Standby

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Patti LuPone FANatic
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
What It's Like Being The Elphaba Standby#1
Posted: 7/24/19 at 5:43pm
"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Leading Actor
Leading Actor
What It's Like Being The Elphaba Standby#2
Posted: 7/24/19 at 5:50pm

Everything old is new again...

There's also this book, which is a nicely-written and funny look at one performer's journey through Wicked, both as a principle and a standby.

Updated On: 7/24/19 at 05:50 PM
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
What It's Like Being The Elphaba Standby#3
Posted: 7/24/19 at 6:05pm
Felicia Ricci’s memoir is delightful. Highly recommend for anyone interested in this topic!
Chorus Member
Chorus Member
What It's Like Being The Elphaba Standby#4
Posted: 7/25/19 at 3:01pm

Cecelia went on when I saw wicked this past April in Tempe, AZ. I wasn't sure what to expect as it was her professional debut, but she was amazing. Her voice was incredible and she played the character and the role well also. I saw Dee Roscioli in 2013 towards the end of her Elphaba run, and I felt like Cecelia was every bit the singer. Cool article!

What It's Like Being The Elphaba Standby#5
Posted: 7/25/19 at 11:17pm

I love Ricci's memoir!

I always think back to the passage where she discusses making a minor change to the principal's blocking (IIRC it was something like she removed her glasses for the "Yes, I've always been green, no I didn't eat grass a a child, etc" line at Shiz, which the principal at the time didn't do) and she was told in no uncertain terms to never do it again.

The passage related to the incident:

"Like every long-running Broadway show, replacement actors across every Wicked company had to be derivative of the actor who came before them. Standbys, in particular, were coached to stay within the shadow of everything their principal actor did (for consistency and safety when interaction with other people on stage). In short, unless you were originating the role in a company and working with Wicked’s director Joe Mantello, there was only so much an Elphaba could do. It wasn’t about painting a new landscape; it was about coloring within the lines."