Playbill Poll: Who Should Star as Elphaba in a Film Adaptation of Wicked? Readers Respond
By Playbill Staff
As the long-running hit musical Wicked approaches its tenth anniversary on Broadway, Playbill.com begins to dream cast a possible film adaptation, and we wondered: Who would you like to see play Elphaba on screen?
Playbill.com polled our readers via Facebook and Twitter asking which them to share their choices for the coveted lead role of Elphaba. Their choices ranges from previous cast members, Broadway stars and Hollywood actors.
Here are some reader responses followed by our own commentary.
Gwion Jones: Idina Menzel all the way!!!
Idina Menzel, who won the 2004 Tony Award for her performance as the ambitious green witch in Wicked, was the most popular choice amongst our readers. Menzel received critical acclaim for her performance and continued in the show through January 2005, and was succeeded by Elphaba standby Shoshana Bean. The actress also originated the role of Maureen Johnson in the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent and later went on to reprise her performance for the 2005 film adaptation. Maybe the Tony winner will follow in the same pattern if Wicked materializes on the big screen.
Tiffani Murphy: Lea Michele as the younger Elphaba and Idina Menzel as an older Elphaba
Spring Awakening and "Glee" actress Lea Michele was also a popular choice amongst our readers. Michele, who has also been seen on Broadway in Les Misérables, Ragtime and Fiddler on the Roof, plays Rachel Berry on "Glee" and has covered songs from Wicked multiple times on the series. Click here to watch Michele sing "Defying Gravity" and here for her performance of "For Good."
Philip Romano: Lindsay Mendez!
Lindsay Mendez, a Drama Desk Award nominee for her performance in the Off-Broadway musical Dogfight, currently stars as Elphaba on Broadway. Although Mendez originally never thought of herself as an Elphaba, her powerhouse vocals and original take on the not-so Wicked Witch made her a popular choice to reprise her performance on screen. Check out the recent Playbill.com feature with Mendez and her co-stars Derek Klena and Katie Rose Clarke.
Ana Gasteyer, who is known for her on-screen work on "Saturday Night Live" and the ABC sitcom "Suburgatory," was an earlier Elphaba replacement in the hit Broadway musical. Gasteyer also was seen on Broadway in The Rocky Horror Show, Threepenny Opera and The Royal Family.
@Tettekete: @playbill @WVerkaik would be a perfect Elphaba in a Wicked film. The only Elphie who makes me forget she's an actress when she runs onstage!
Willemijn Verkaik, a recent Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked, has played the green-faced witch for over 1,000 performances in both Germany (Stuttgart and Oberhausen) and Holland and in three languages: Dutch, German and English. Click here to read the Playbill.com Diva Talk column with the actress and here for her Playbill "Obsessed!" video with Seth Rudetsky.
Patrick Fitzwater: Anna Kendrick Elphaba would be cool
Anna Kendrick, who was Tony-nominated for her performance in High Society, recently wrapped filming on the screen adaptation of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years. The actress is no stranger to the big screen and is also known for her film work in "Pitch Perfect" and "Camp."
Maddison Nielsen: Sam Barks please!
Stage and screen actress Samantha Barks, who brought Eponine to life on the big screen in the recent film adaptation of Les Miz, played the role in the London production in 2010 and again in the show's 25th anniversary London concert at the O2 Arena. Barks also appeared in the Hollywood Bowl production of Chicago and the West End productions of Oliver! and Cabaret. We'd love to see her tackle the role of Elphaba. Here is her performance of "Defying Gravity."
Grammy Award winner Beyoncé Knowles starred in the film adaptation of Dreamgirls and blew us away with her performance of "Listen," the song added to the score for the film. Can you imagine the end of "Defying Gravity"?
Grammy Award winner Christina Aguilera has been seen in the movie "Burlesque," which featured multiple musical sequences. We'd love to see her in a full-length musical this time, and her infinite vocal range would be perfect for the role of Elphaba.
Jenna Leigh Green was seen as Nessarose in the North American tour and Broadway production of Wicked and also understudied the role of Elphaba. The actress has also been seen in the original Off-Broadway production of bare: a pop opera and on the television series "Sabrina the Teenage Witch."
Andrew Victor Myers: Dee Roscioli as Elphaba, Dee holds the record for the most Elphaba performances and Annaleigh Ashford as Glinda!
Dee Roscioli is a veteran of the Broadway, Chicago, San Francisco and touring productions of Wicked. She holds the distinction of having played Elphaba in more performances than any other actress.
Broadway's original Mary Poppins, Ashley Brown, has also starred in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, as well as productions of Show Boat, The Sound of Music and The Music Man.
Eden Espinosa made her Broadway debut covering the roles of Elphaba and Nessarose in Stephen Schwartz's Wicked. She eventually assumed the role of Elphaba on Broadway and also opened the sit-down production of Wicked in Los Angeles. Espinosa also played the role of Brooklyn — a part she created at the Denver Civic Theatre — in the musical of the same name at the Schoenfeld Theatre. She played Maureen in the final cast of Broadway's Rent.
LookOutBroadway: @playbill @WICKED_Musical Sutton Foster because she can really belt it out!
Sutton Foster, a two-time Tony Award winner for Anything Goes and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Her numerous Broadway credits include Shrek, Little Women, Young Frankenstein and The Drowsy Chaperone. Foster also recording Wicked's stand-out song "Defying Gravity" on her album "An Evening With Sutton Foster - Live At The Cafe Carlyle."
Nathan Hinds: Zooey Deschanel
Zooey Deschanel, the star of the television series "New Girl," previously took a trip to Oz in the 2007 television series "Tin Man." Also a singer-songwriter, Deschanel was tapped by country singer Loretta Lynn to play her in a stage musical adaptation of "Coal Miner's Daughter."
Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence took Hollywood by storm with such films as "Winter's Bone," "The Hunger Games," her Oscar-winning turn in "Silver Lining's Playbook" and the upcoming "X-Men: Days of Future Past."
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