Leeds prepares to go green as Wicked makes its spellbinding return

Thursday, 31st May 2018, 3:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st May 2018, 5:05 pm

It's the ground-breaking musical that has captivated audiences around the world for more than a decade and now Leeds is set to fall under its spell once again, as Wicked makes its return to The Grand Theatre in June.

Flying into Leeds from Wednesday 13 June to Saturday 7 July, the magical production breathes new life into the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz', telling the untold story of the unlikely friendship between Glinda The Good and The Wicked Witch of the West, who first meet as sorcery students.

A spellbinding tale

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The wonderfully witting re-imagining of Baum's beloved story has proved to be something of a musical phenomenon since its debut on Broadway in 2003, and now Leeds audiences have the chance to experience the magic for themselves - an opportunity lead actress Amy Ross assures is not to be missed.

While the Wizard of Oz famously pictures the Wicked Witch, or Elphaba, in a bad light, this production delves deep into her complicated backstory and shows her in a brand new light.

Stepping into the shoes of green-skinned Elphaba will be Amy Ross, best known for her starring appearances in Kinky Boots and Sunny Afternoon, and she is keen for audiences to see the person underneath the pointy black hat.

"Audiences really connect with Elphaba because of everything she stands for - she is incredibly passionate and cares so much about things being just," says Ross.

"I think people can relate to her because she is an outsider. She is different and most people, at some point in their lives, have felt this way.

"She puts out the message that it's OK to be different and to never apologise for it."

Amy Ross will take on the role of Elphaba, most famously referred to as The Wicked Witch of the West (Photo: Matt Crockett)

Quite the character

While the powerful witch is such an iconic role to tackle, Ross is eager to take on the challenge and is looking forward to showcasing her surprising friendship with Glinda the Good.

"The roles I've played in the past have usually centred around a relationship or romance, and falling in love with a man, so it's wonderful to now play a role where the focus is a friendship between two strong - and very different - women," she explains.

"She is massively changed by the experiences she goes through and the characters she forms relationships with with - the emotional arc is so huge that it's a gift for any actor to play.

"Plus, it goes without saying that Elphaba's songs are epic! Stephen Schwartz's score is incredible and singing those songs is so thrilling."

Going green

Of course the role of Elphaba does come with its drawbacks, with Ross having to coat herself in bright green makeup for every performance - a task which always leaves a few pesky remnants behind.

"It takes me no longer than 10-15 minutes to put on the makeup if I want to do a thorough job, but after a matinee I might be less rigorous as I know I have to 're-green' for the evening show," she laughs.

"But no matter how hard you think you've scrubbed, you'll always find a bit of green paint behind your ear of in your hairline that you didn't manage to get!"

Wicked will be at Leeds Grand Theatre from 13 June to Saturday 7 July. Tickets can be purchased here.