Willemijn Verkaik, the international Elphaba

Willemijn Verkaik Wicked Elphaba Defying Gravity Olivier Awards 2014

Willemijn Verkaik is probably the most international Elphaba. She can sing ‘Defying Gravity’ in three different languages (and also ‘Let It Go’ from ‘Frozen’ too). She was born in the Netherlands and she studied in the Rotterdam Conservatory. She liked music very much but since she was young she wanted to perform in musicals. Her debut was in ‘Elisabeth’, in the Netherlands, in 2001.

She was also working in animated movies like ‘Barbie & the Diamond Castle’, were she was singing some of the songs. But she became more popular after performing in the German cast of ‘We Will Rock You’ in 2004 and 2005. She has also worked in lots of musicals like ‘Mamma Mia’ in Stuttgart, ‘Aida’ in Germany or ‘Women On A Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown’ in London. She is currently working in Stuttgart, where she is playing Kala in the German cast of the musical ‘Tarzan’.

Without doubt, ‘Wicked’ is one of the most important shows in her career, because she was able to perform in 5 different productions in 3 different countries. She’s always been performing as Elphaba but in 3 different languages. That’s fantastic, she can prove her talent around the world and help the people who speak German and Dutch to understand the story of ‘Wicked’. I am sure that Elphaba is a very important character for her, because they have shared a long journey of 7 years together.

Her debut as Elphaba was in 2007, when the show opened in Stuttgart, Germany. She was there performing every night until 2010, when she opened the new production of ‘Wicked’ in Oberhausen, in Germany. In 2011 she left the show to be Elphaba in the Dutch production of the musical in Scheveningen. In 2012 she moved to Broadway to perform in the American company of ‘Wicked’ and then, after the success, she performed the show in London in 2013 until October 2014.

I was very lucky to discover her in ‘Wicked’. My boyfriend and I went to see the show together in December 2013 and she was stunning. To be honest, at the beginning he was more obsessed than I, checking some of her videos and performances online. Once she left the show, she performed the role of Paulina in ‘Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown’, at the Playhouse Theatre. Of course I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see her live again. I enjoyed the show so much but I was a bit disappointed because she didn’t have any solo. I would like to have seen her singing a song, but unfortunately not this time

On the 21st April 2015, Willemijn Verkaik and Ricardo Afonso, both in the cast of ‘Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown’, made a come and meet at the Theatre Café. There I was amazed by her personality and her voice again and I asked her for a picture (I look horrible and the quality is terrible, I know). She is a great actress, with an extraordinary voice, that I hope I can see performing someday again. She is very important in ‘Wicked’, for her contribution to create a role in 5 different productions and 3 languages. All the best in ‘Tarzan‘ and come back to London soon!

Willemijn Verkaik

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