Willemijn Verkaik Confirmed As London's New Elphaba In WICKED From November!
WICKED, the record-breaking hit West End musical that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, proudly welcomes Willemijn Verkaik to the role of 'Elphaba' from Monday 18 November 2013.
The award-winning Dutch star has previously played the role in more than 1000 performances in Holland, Germany and most recently on Broadway. In the hit musical's decade-long history, she is the only actress to perform the role in more than one language.
Willemijn Verkaik said: "It has been my great honour to have played 'Elphaba' in Wicked in Germany, Holland and on Broadway, and to have been part of this musical's incredible international success. I am overjoyed, and sincerely grateful, that the producers have now invited me to make my West End debut playing this extraordinary role in the musical that has literally changed my life."
Michael McCabe, UK Executive Producer, said: "Since its Broadway debut 10 years ago, Wicked has become a truly global phenomenon and nobody personifies the show's international appeal more than Willemijn, who has performed the role of Elphaba in three languages in three different countries. We are thrilled that London audiences will now get the opportunity to experience Willemijn's incredible performance, for which she has been so justly acclaimed."
Willemijn Verkaik made her debut as 'Elphaba' in the German language production of Wicked on November 15, 2007 at the Palladium Theater in Stuttgart and subsequently at the Metronom Theater in Oberhausen. She reprised the role in the Dutch language premiere production, opening at the AFAS Circustheater on November 6, 2011 and made her Broadway debut at the Gershwin Theatre on 12 February 2013. She has won multiple awards in Europe for her performance and received a Broadway.com Audience Choice Award nomination for 'Best Takeover'. Willemijn studied at the Rotterdam Conservatory and originally pursued a career in the music industry before making the transition to musical theatre. In addition to 'Elphaba', she has played 'Scaramouche' and 'Killer Queen' in the Queen/Ben Elton musical We Will Rock You; 'Amneris' in Tim Rice and Elton John's Aida (Da Capo Award for 'Best Musical Performer'); and the title role in Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay's musical Elisabeth, based on the story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. She has made numerous concert and television appearances across Europe and can be heard on two Scott Alan albums, Live and What I Wanna Be When IGrow Up.Willemijn can also be heard on the Original German Cast Recording of Wicked and performs 'Solang ich dich hab' (As Long As You're Mine) and 'Gutes tun' (No Good Deed) on the special 5th Anniversary edition of the Original Broadway Cast Recording.
Louise Dearman will play her final performance as 'Elphaba' on Saturday 16 November 2013.
Recently acclaimed as "one of the most popular West End musicals ever"(London Evening Standard), the Olivier Award-winning London production of the global musical phenomenon is already the 16th longest-running West End musical of all time and has now been seen by over 5 million people since its London premiere in 2006. While continuing its record-breaking, open-ended run at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, a major new production will tour the UK and Ireland, opening at Manchester's Palace Theatre in September 2013.