The whole world has heard of The Wizard Of Oz, but what do you know about Wicked, the untold story of the witches of Oz? Well, since the production premiered in London in 2006, Wicked has been seen by more than four million people and I am one of the happy theatre-goers.
Based on the novel Wicked: The Life And Times Of The Wicked Witch Of The West by Gregory Maguire, the musical tells the tale of two witches from the Land of Oz – green-skinned Elphaba (played by Rachel Tucker) and beautiful blonde Galinda (later Glinda, played by Gina Beck). A riot of colour and song, it is, above all else, a tale of friendship. And its popularity continues to soar. I went backstage to see what goes on behind the wizardry, sorcery and spells that audiences love so much.
Rachel Tucker spends the entirety of the musical painted green. But when we chat in her dressing room at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, there’s not the slightest tinge of emerald on her. So how does she get it all on – and off?
‘It’s a MAC-based water paint. I wear what is, in effect, a green skin, so I’m not fully greened. That’s what the trick is: I just green my hands, up past my wrists. And I get my face, ears, neck and chest done. Where the pinafore stops, that’s where the green stops. The girls do it in about 15 to 20 minutes – and I do my hands just before. You might notice a tinge of green hanging off everything in here. It does come off everywhere. Whenever I’m offstage, I’m constantly being topped up with green.’ Continue reading