"One Short Day": A Candid Chat With Wicked Co-Stars and Friends Lindsay Mendez, Derek Klena and Katie Rose Clarke

By Michael Gioia
02 Aug 2013

Klena in Wicked.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Lindsay and Derek, tell me about your first show.

DK: I kept telling myself that I was not nervous at all. I felt like we had a good rehearsal process, we felt comfortable, we were ready, our put-in [rehearsal] was great. Lindsay and I were like, "Yeah! We're ready for this!" Everybody kept asking me, "Are you nervous? It's your Broadway debut. It's your first time. It's such a big show." I said, "Yeah, I'm actually feeling okay." Once I sat down in the carriage that I get ridden out on for my first entrance, that's when it really hit me. I was going out on stage, and I was terrified from then on. I would literally run on stage, do my scene, come off, and it would be a blur. I [thought], "Did that go okay?" And, I couldn't remember. I was like, "I guess it did." You just got to keep going!
LM: The first moment that we were actually able to [breathe was] when we sat down to sing our duet, ["As Long As Your Mine"]. We were like, "Oh, hi! Oh, this is happening. How cool is this!" We felt comfortable, and we could breathe and enjoy it. We came off that night, and we both said that was the moment where we were [thought], "This is happening." … I have the most terrifying [first] entrance of [my] life! [Laughs.] It's awful. Running downhill [from upstage], the lights in my face, glasses, can't see the front lip [of the stage]…
DK: [Laughs.]
LM: My heart was pounding behind that clock [tower] so hard. You could probably see my heart pounding through the wool jacket. I was so nervous. We also had so many people there. All of our friends just thought it would be the coolest thing to come on our first night.
DK: I said, "Come three months from now!" They said, "No, dude. We want to see when you're terrified!" [Laughs.]
LM: I mean, we must have had — between us — like 50 people there, right? We had a party afterward. It was crazy and awful…
DK: …and also the best!
LM: It was the best. It was great because they were all so excited to be there.
DK: And, Katie came to our after-party.
KRC: Hell yeah!

How was the crowd that night?



All: Amazing!
LM: They were amazing, yeah. We got a lot of great applause. It was great, but I had no breath under me. The end of "Defying Gravity," I was gasping for air because I was so nervous — nervous that I was going to fly and do it right. There's just so much to think about.
KRC: Y'all were both rock solid. I kept saying to everyone, "It's like we've been doing the show with them for months!" They're so calm — both of y'all were.
DK: On my first steps, I was literally afraid I was going to topple over… And, when it was over, I had the jitters for two hours afterwards.
LM: And then we realized, "Oh, wait! We have a matinee tomorrow!" [Laughs.]
DK: Which was a blessing. It was a gift and a curse that we had two [shows] the next day because we could settle in, and after tomorrow we [would] feel good, and we did.

 Continued...