Interview: 'We Have a Connection Beyond the Show' Alexia Khadime and Lucy St. Louis of WICKED Talk Friendship, Representation and Harnessing Emotions

"There's an unspoken love and support"

Photo credit: Dave Benett

To celebrate the newest cast joining the iconic production, we spent "One Short Day In The Emerald City" and spoke to the leading ladies themselves.

The fantastic Alexia Khadime returns to Wicked as Elphaba - thirteen years after first playing the role. She's joined by the phenomenal Lucy St. Louis as Glinda. This marks the first time in history that the roles are being played by Black actors simultaneously.

Congratulations on your truly wonderful performances. I heard that you already have a long-standing friendship in place, did this help when taking on the parts?

Alexia: We didn't have to go for coffee to get to know each other; we already had that, which was quite nice. After all, it's a lot to go through as these characters, so it helps to have that.

Lucy: There's a trust that you have to have on stage when playing alongside each other, telling the story that we are telling. You have to trust your fellow performer for it to really resonate and come from the heart, and that's something that we already had. We have a connection beyond the show, beyond anything, and I think that's very powerful.

How was the process of auditioning for these roles?

Alexia: I've played the part before, and I never thought that I would come back; thirteen years since I last did it! When I think about my first experience when I was cast in the role, I didn't think at all I would get cast. I just thought, let's go through the motions of the audition, but it's so nice to see the representation now. It's been so many years since I last did it, and it's amazing to come into a company and see a Black woman playing Glinda, a Black man playing Fiyero, and a Moroccan man playing Boq. It's so important for people to see themselves.

Photo Credit: Matt Crockett

You have a lot of school audiences coming into see Wicked, and having that representation is so crucial.

Lucy: That's exactly it. And it's not about schools of privilege, either. It's for everyone coming to see the show, and Black little boys and Black little girls sitting there and going, 'Wow, we could actually do that too.' That is something that is not lost on us every time we go on stage. Throughout, we have a special connection, with our eye contact, with our journey, and what we leave on stage is something very important, and we don't take that lightly. That's why it's so important, to tell the truth of the story rather than just playing the costumes and the songs.

Alexia: The show is iconic. The music is phenomenal, and the songs are so wonderfully written, but one of the things we really wanted was to tell the story because there is a wonderful story to be told.

Is there a particular moment in the show that really drives that home for you?

Lucy: There are so many moments, but I think 'For Good' is a really powerful one for both of us. And that whole scene at the end, where Glinda will almost be undone because she loves someone so much that the consequences do not matter to her anymore. And I think that whole final section scene is such a powerful moment.

Alexia: So much goes on, and the moment of them splitting to then being back together again [during "For Good"] and having that moment of stillness, and honesty and opening their hearts is really amazing.

Lucy: We do not get through that song any night without crying. And we've had to really learn how to control that because it can be so exposing and so raw, and we are baring our hearts. When you look into someone's eyes and see someone's soul, that's such a powerful and emotional thing, and it's so raw. So, we never get through it without crying, and we've had to really learn how to harness it.

Alexia: It's important to keep that honesty, but you need to do the show without being in absolute bits - we'll let the audience do that part. We want to keep it together.

Photo Credit: Matt Crockett

The show, at its core, is about friendship and what we can learn from each other. What is one thing that you have learned from each other - inside or outside of the show?

Alexia: About having a beautiful heart - it's a trust between us.

Lucy: It's okay to be vulnerable; it's okay to really be who you are from the inside out and to let people really truly see you. And I think something with these characters, and our friendship, is that we've gone into this with the intention of telling the story in its true form, which means that we've opened ourselves up. Looking at that in the show context, it's a really amazing and special thing, as we're rawest selves - as we're ugly, crying every night. It's a powerful thing to be able to stand on stage with someone and be completely trusting and know there's an unspoken love and support. It's very rare.

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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