Kate was here at the press preview of Wicked in Manila

Wicked in Manila: Meet the Cast

Whether you’re pro or anti-Glee, you have to admit that they helped introduce musicals and Broadway references to the young pop culture generation that was once too busy gloating over Bieber.

Who can blame the Manila crowd for going crazy after hearing the news that Wicked will be staged in CCP early this year? Theater purists can snub Kurt Hummel and Rachel Berry’s version of “Defying Gravity” all they want (ICYDK, Lea Michele was a Broadway star before Glee), but that won’t stop Wicked from selling to that crowd.

“Defying Gravity” is Wicked’s most popular track that helped this musical win numerous accolades, including one Grammy and three Tony awards.

At last week’s press preview, I asked Suzie Mathers, who plays Glinda in Australia’s touring production of Wicked, how opening night (January 22) was. “It was insane!” she said. “It was a little bit crazy, and the stage door was crazy, too,” added Jemma Rix, who plays Elphaba.

It was the Kristen Chenowith-Idina Menzel pairing that helped bring this Broadway musical to fame, but there are many other productions (from London to Japan) that star up-and-coming thespians who are just as wickedly good. The Manila run features performers from New Zealand and Australia, including Jemma Rix (right) and Suzie Mathers (left), playing Elphaba and Glinda.

The rest of the cast, as well as the producers responsible for shipping 23 12-foot containers of props and costumes to CCP, were so excited to see how Manila would respond. They’re only on their second week, but it’s safe to say that Wicked is outdoing 2012’s Phantom of the Opera in terms of hype and early ticket sales.

Scroll below to meet the cast.

Jemma Rix as Elphaba. “For me when I first heard the soundtrack of Wicked with Idina Mendel and Kristen Chenowith, I completely fell in love with the musical,” she said. “My voice is not a traditional kind of theater-sounding voice, so when I heard Idina’s voice, I was, ‘Oh, that’s sort of my sound!’”
Suzie Mathers as Glinda. “In the fear of sounding very cliché, Kristen Chenowith is a massive inspiration to me,” she said. “I heard the recording of Wicked, and thought, ‘Omigosh, she does what I can do!’ Who’d think that five to six years later, I’d be sitting here playing this role?”
Steve Danielsen as Fiyero. He started as a screen actor in 2004 before training for dance and voice. He recently completed the Australian tour of Legally Blonde the Musical before landing his dream role in Wicked.
Jay Laga’ia, an actor, producer, and singer from Autralasia, plays The Wizard.
Edward Grey as Boq
Nathan Carter as Dr. Dillamond
Emily Cascarino as Nessarose

Maggie Kirkpatrick as Madame Morrible
Kate was here at the press preview of Wicked in Manila

Wicked: The Untold Stories of the Witches of Oz runs from January 22 to February 23, 2014 at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater), Roxas Blvd. Pasay City. Tickets are available at Ticketworld. Ticket prices: P7,000, P5,800, P4,500, P3,500, P2,250 and P1,750 plus tax.

Photos by Andrew Ritchie, Jeff Busby, and Maye E. Wong courtesy of Concertus Manila. Additional photo (Kate with Jemma and Suzie) by Cy Boongaling.