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Stars of Wicked: The West End needs more empowering roles for women

Matt Crockett

The new leading ladies of smash-hit show Wicked have expressed their hope that the West End could find more empowering roles for women.

Alice Fearn and Sophie Evans, who play green-skinned Elphaba and bubbly Glinda in the musical, spoke to Gay Times following their media night performance in the West End.

“There could definitely be more,” begins Welsh actress Sophie, with co-star Alice agreeing: “There could always be more!”

Sophie continuing: “It’s so special with Wicked as it’s centred around two women who are friends and having this amazing bond – they are the rock of the show. Men are amazing as well, I don’t want to be bad to men, but this show is special in that way as it is a platform for women to show that you can be friends and…”

Alice jumping in: “And to fight for each other, regardless of how it looks from an outside perspective. If you believe you want to fight for something, fight for it! Glinda does for Elphaba.

“That’s a wonderful message to say that if you see someone and you say that’s not right – stand up for it and a wonderful thing can happen and a wonderful friendship can come out of it. It’s beautiful.”

Related: Will Ariana Grande play green witch Elphaba in musical Wicked?

Getty / Wicked UK

Acknowledging that the LGBT+ community hold the show close to their hearts, Alice beams of her time performing gay anthem Defying Gravity at a recent pride celebration.

“I sang it at Bristol Pride and I went quite ballistic with my riffs as I’m generally not allowed to do – I went for it,” she giggles. “Someone said after that I went for it and I pointed out that the song is loved!

“LGBT+ people want that and they want to be transported. They not only want you to defy gravity but also want your voice to do it as well.

“It’s lovely that you’ve got that support from the LGBT+ community – it’s great! Even if you sounds quite rubbish one night, they’d still say ‘good on ya’ for giving it a go. They love it so much!”

Adding that the musical, even 11 years after opening, connects with the community still – and fans continue to share their messages of empowerment and difference today.

“Elphaba is a part that… she is the outcast and that connects with a lot of people who feel separate themselves. They go, “Thanks so much for empowering me and making me feel it’s okay.”

“I don’t play that or think about it, but it’s what she is. It’s wonderful that it makes people feel that they can be themselves and that it’s okay.”

Leading lady Alice adding: “We’re all weird and wonderful in our own weird ways and that’s brilliant. Why not? They connect with feeling outside of society in a way or outside of what people feel is ‘society’. It’s great!”

Matt Crockett

Sophie and Alice later reminiscing of their first times seeing the West End smash, of which they now lead.

“I came and watched it for my 16th birthday and it blew me away,” smiles Welsh actress Sophie. “I remember sitting there and thinking that if I don’t do this musical theatre business then I’ll be very sad. My mother, who’s a little bit spiritual, was sat in the audience with me and said that she felt I would be doing it sometime soon.

“I auditioned for Over The Rainbow soon after that and then moved to do The Wizard of Oz, but she knew the show was going to be part of my life somehow. It bloody worked out!”

Alice ending: “To finally get the chance to do it and to it with such a special cast, at a special time, is beautiful.”

More information on Wicked can be found here.

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