Amy Ross On Playing Elphaba in the WICKED UK Tour

Amy Ross On Playing Elphaba in the WICKED UK Tour

BWW speaks to actress Amy Ross about playing Elphaba in the UK tour of Wicked and their run at the Edinburgh Playhouse in May.

How do you prepare for a role like Elphaba?

Well, we found out five or six months before starting rehearsals that we had the roles, so that was really a lovely amount of time to start singing the songs.

Also just to build up a stamina, because once you're up and running you're doing eight shows a week. If you've already sung them into your voice and into the muscle, it makes it a lot easier once you're up and running.

Is this the most challenging role you've had to date?

Yes, definitely, because it stretches you both as a singer and an actress. As an acting role, Elphaba's journey that she goes through from start to finish is huge. You start the show hopeful, young, happy about this new university and things might be different here. And obviously, she goes through lots of hard times from start to finish and by the end is hardened by a lot of it.

She's much darker by Act Two, so it does stretch you. But that's why I love it - because it is such a great challenge.

Do you feel any pressure going into a show that audiences love so much?

Yes. I think you want to honour the wonderful, fantastically talented women who have played the role before. You want to live up to that and do it justice. So, that does add pressure but again its something to embrace and it's a great challenge. It should never be easy!

Were you a fan of the show before you got the part?

Absolutely. When I was training at college in musical theatre it had just come out on Broadway and it was this new show that everyone was listening to. We were all listening to the CD so before seeing it, I was already completely in love with it.

The score is just epic and so exciting. It was wonderful to go and see it when it came to the West End and go "Ah, that's why she does that in that song and how that happens".

So was this a dream role for you?

Yes - I don't think there are many musical theatre actresses who wouldn't want to play Elphaba!

Why do you think people connect so strongly with the show?

I think because of the really important messages in it. I think that anyone, at any point in their life has felt like an outsider or they didn't fit in with certain things. Obviously, Elphaba is a massive outsider as soon as you meet her and she teaches that you should embrace that and not apologise for it. Always stay true to yourself - and that resonates with people.

How long does it take to greenify?

Not too long, only about half an hour. MAC make the green especially for the show. It all gets painted on like a base, like your normal foundation except they put it in my ears as well. On top of that is just make-up and eyeliner like you would normally do.

The lady who does my make-up, Camilla, we're nice and quick now. She's got it down to a fine art!

Do you come out of the make-up between a matinee and evening show?

Absolutely. A lot of people ask me that! I didn't actually realise that was the case, I thought you could just sit there and stay green. In Act Two she's a lot darker and there's much more make-up. In Act One she needs to look younger, so after a matinee you need Act Two to come off again to start you back for the second show.

It's a long tour - how are you feeling about being away from home for so long?

I've got a husband and a cat that I will miss, but what's nice is that we kind of bed down in each place for a month, sometimes six weeks, so that makes it less tiring. I've done tours before where you change every week.

Also there's Bristol, which is close enough to go back to London on our day off, so we will try and see each other as much as we can.

Have you got plans for your downtime in Edinburgh? Is there anything you're desperate to do?

I've been to Edinburgh a couple of times on tour and loved it so much that I've come back for holidays, so I've done kind of all the obvious stuff. I'm a massive fan of The Crown, so I would like to go and see the royal yacht, which I've not done before. Even though I think they actually filmed it on a ship in the Thames...

Other than that it's just walking around - the architecture is just so beautiful.

Wicked is on tour around the UK and at the Edinburgh Playhouse 8 May-9 June

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