By Kristy Johnson of Dance Informa.
With Lucy Durack leaving the stage to take on her next “thrillifying” role as a mother, comes news that original ensemble member Suzie Mathers will be taking over the role of Glinda for the 2015 Brisbane and Perth seasons. Here we chat with Suzie on returning to the role that saw her tour internationally, and the differences between the Australian and British musical theatre scenes.
Congratulations on securing the role of Glinda for the 2015 Brisbane and Perth seasons! You must be thrilled.
“I’m very excited about returning to my Wicked family. The show has been such a huge part of my life and career over the years and coming back feels somewhat like coming home! I can’t wait to get to Brisbane and Perth. Having toured to Brisbane as Sophie in Mamma Mia!, I’m really looking forward to seeing all the wonderful fans again and re-connecting with the beautiful Queensland Performing Arts Centre staff. And Perth, well that is my hometown. I am beyond excited to see my family and friends!”
Having relocated to London, how does it feel to be back performing on Aussie soil?
“Wonderful! I love London and I’ll be heading back in July once the show wraps up in Perth, but performing in Australia is pretty special. To quote the show, ‘There’s no place like home’.”
How different is the musical scene in London, compared to Australia?
“The main difference is size in terms of both the talent pool and the opportunities. It’s harder to get seen for things, but there is more of a chance that you’ll get that big break if you do. At one point I had six auditions for major commercial musicals in one week. In Australia, we’d be lucky to get that in a year. However, in terms of shows and casts, I really do feel that in Australia the standard is on par, if not better than overseas. They absolutely love Aussies in London! Our productions really are world class!”
Having performed the role of Glinda internationally since 2011, does the role have a special place in your heart?
“Absolutely! I adore the show and the role of Glinda. When I was at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, I only dreamt of being a part of something like Wicked. Now, having been part of the show for such a long time and having played Glinda around 450 times, it holds a really special place in my heart. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s all real!”
Why do you think Wicked is such a huge hit?
“Besides being an absolute spectacle, with fantastic costumes, set design, lighting and music, I think a lot of people can identify with the themes of the show. The story of the two girls is so beautiful and explores love, friendship, heartache and not judging a book by its cover. Although the show is set in Oz, these themes are universal and appeal to all ages.”
Do you feel you have big shoes to fill with the departure of Lucy Durack?
“Elphaba and Glinda are such demanding female roles, both physically and vocally, and require such an array of talent. I don’t feel like I’m stepping into Lucy’s shoes as such but having the ‘wand’ passed on. There has actually been over 150 Glinda’s worldwide, not to mention the numerous Elphie’s. We are all unique and every actress is different, but to be amongst these leading ladies is a great honour and I feel very privileged to be reprising this wonderful role once more. “
After its record breaking run in Melbourne and Sydney, Wicked transfers to QPAC from 12 February and to the Crown Theatre, Burswood from 3 May for a strictly limited season. For tickets and more information visit wickedthemusical.com.au.
Photo (top): Jemma Rix and Suzie Mathers in Wicked. Photo by Andrew Ritchie.