Interview: 'All the Characters Go Through So Much Growth': Mark Curry, Sophie-Louise Dann and Ryan Reid of WICKED Talk About the Magic of the Show

We spent "One Short Day in the Emerald City" and got to know some of the cast of the hit show

By: May. 03, 2023
Photo Credit: Dave Bennett

Wicked the Musical is currently in its 17th year in the West End, and the show has now been seen by more than 11 million people in London alone.

To celebrate the latest cast changes, we met up with the cast at the star-studded after-party!

We kicked things off by chatting with Mark Curry, who is currently playing the role of the infamous Wizard of Oz.

WickedBetween Wicked and the original film, the wizard is an iconic character. How did you feel taking on the role?

Mark: The challenge with the wizard is that he's got three or four scenes, he doesn't come on for an hour, and everybody else is on stage throughout - so you've really got to nail it when you come on. The energy levels have got to be really high, and it's very easy to start watching telly or reading a book in the dressing room while you wait.

And then it's how you play him - is he a good guy, is he a bad guy? Does he have a heart of gold?

Where do you think he sits on that scale between good and evil?

Mark: I think he can't help himself. I think, like a lot of people, when they get in these powerful positions, they just can't help it. And he's come from nothing, and he wants to hang onto that power.

He's basically a good guy, and when he meets Elphaba, there's an unspoken connection, and she gets to him. And she makes him question, 'What am I doing?", but at the same time, he's still thinking, "I've got to carry on because I'm here, and they all think I'm wonderful" - that's what his songs are about.

It would be very easy to play him as a showman, but there's more to him than that.

What is your favourite song in the show?

Mark: I love "The Wizard & I". Every night and I turn the tannoy, and I hear Alexia sing it, and she sings it so well. And I love "Wonderful as well"; I think it's a great song. I just wish we got to dance around the stage like they did in the olden days. I think Nigel Planer did it, and he hurt his leg, so they decided no more dancing after that!

If there was any other role within the show that you could play, which role would you choose?

Mark: Madame Morrible. Those costumes! That's a great role - so one day, you never know!

WickedSpeaking of Madame Morrible, we also caught up with Sophie-Louise Dann, who is currently playing the role.

How did you feel taking on the role of Madame Morrible?

Sophie-Louise: It felt great. She has such a great journey, and I think she's the villain of the piece, really. She creates this monster, this Wicked witch - she's the puppeteer. And it's her ambition when she sees her ticket for herself to get to the Emerald City - that drives this story.

There are so many different ways in which ambition is shown in this story. The Wizard has a similar journey.

Sophie: Absolutely, but he's all smoke and mirrors. I think the message of the story is about friendship, and being true to yourself, and not believing the propaganda that's around you - which is more important now than ever.

What is your favourite moment in the show?

Sophie-Louise: Obviously, theatrically, the end of act one with "Defying Gravity". It's just what everybody wants to hear - that fantastic E-flat that she [Alexia Khadime] belts out effortlessly. It's like an aria, really, and then, of course, you've got Glinda [Lucy St. Louis], who sings everything absolutely gloriously.

It's so refreshing to see a show with so many strong female roles. If you could sing any other song in the show besides your own, which would you choose? Just so you know, Mark wants your role!

Sophie-Louise: I think I'd play the wizard; we could do a gender swap! My history for the show is one hundred years ago; I actually auditioned for the original Glinda. I never went down the Elphaba world, I was a Glinda, but as a grown-up, I've come back into it as Morrible! It's such a lovely, full-circle moment.

Do you remember the first time you saw the show?

Sophie-Louise: I do; it was very early on, actually, so I saw the gorgeous Kerry Ellis, and I only actually saw Act 1 because I had to go as I was doing Forbidden Broadway, and I had to go and warm up. I actually only saw Act Two when I was rehearsing.

So, were you surprised to see what happened to your character?

Sophie-Louise: I was, I was like, Oh, that's what happens!

What is one thing you'd like the audience to take away from the show?

Sophie-Louise: The message of friendship and being true to yourself, embracing who you are.

Photo Credit: Matt Crockett

Later, we spoke to Ryan Reid, who plays Fiyero.

How did it feel taking on the role of Fiyero?

Ryan: I actually loved stepping into the role of Fiyero. I initially thought he was so different to me, but there are actually a few more similarities than I thought; I'm not going to lie.

The fact that in Act 1, he doesn't care and he's just 'dancing through life,' it's lovely to take a little bit of that into your life off the stage. We can all be so uptight, especially after everything that happened with the pandemic, and it's good to chill out a little bit and think, let's just have fun.

It's also nice to see the change in him in Act 2. All of the characters go through so much growth in the story.

How do you get into character each evening?

Ryan: I'm a talker. So, I'm always going around everybody's dressing room, asking, 'What have you been up to today?', 'How are you doing?' I think that's when I realised, actually, he's quite similar to me because I am like that. I'm the person in rehearsal chatting away, and everyone else is getting in trouble when really it's met that was talking!

Who are your favourite audiences to perform for?

The schools! It's so interesting to see how they interpret it and how quickly they get the message of the show or how some of the jokes land.

Can you remember your first time going to the theatre?

I can remember going to see The Enchanted Pig at the Young Vic and seeing somebody who looked like me on stage - just a normal Black man - and thinking wow, this could be something I could do. I also remember the first time I saw Wicked - with Idina Menzel. I don't think I realised at the time how lucky I was to see her in this role, I just went along on a trip. But I remember being amazed by the show - and now to be part of it - it's a real full circle moment!

Wicked has recently extended public booking to Sunday, 2 June 2024.


Photos: First Look at Lucie Jones, Ryan Reid, and the New Company of WICKED in London Photo
Photos: First Look at Lucie Jones, Ryan Reid, and the New Company of WICKED in London

Wicked has released the first production images of new cast members Lucie Jones (Elphaba), Ryan Reid (Fiyero), Sophie-Louise Dann (Madame Morrible) and Gary Wilmot (The Wizard).



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