Willemijn Verkaik will join the cast of Wicked later this year to bring her acclaimed performance as Elphaba to the London stage following more than 1000 appearances as the misunderstood, green-skinned witch in productions across the world.
The Dutch musical theatre star has played the role in productions of the hit show in Holland, Germany and on Broadway, making her the only actress to have ever performed the role in more than one language and, in her case, an impressive three.
Verkaik, who will join the cast at the Apollo Victoria theatre from 18 November, exactly six years and three days since she made her Wicked debut in Stuggart, described appearing in all three productions as “a great honour”, adding: “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.”
When she was not busy Defying Gravity and attempting to be Popular in productions of Wicked, Verkaik also appeared in We Will Rock You and Elton John’s Aida, and has made numerous concert appearances across Europe. In 2012, Verkaik made her Broadway debut in Wicked earning her a Broadway.com Audience Award nomination for Best Takeover.
Wicked, which opened in London in 2006 and has since been seen by more than five million people, is based on the now famous story by Gregory Maguire telling the untold story of the Witches of Oz. Featuring songs including I’m Not That Girl, As Long As You’re Mine and The Wizard And I, the show takes audiences on the adventure-filled journey of two young sorcery students, explaining how they came to fulfil their destinies as Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
Commenting on the casting announcement, Michael McCabe, Wicked’s 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.”
Louise Dearman, who is currently playing the role of Elphaba and is the first person to ever play both leading roles having first played Glinda in 2010, will play her final performance on 16 November.