Craig Jessup has been doing Elphaba’s makeup since 2007. In his high school days, Jessup did makeup at the local mall before moving to New York to attend Marymount Manhattan College. He began working at Bergdorf Goodman and was cast in a production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood with now Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford. When Ashford took over as Wicked’s Good Witch Glinda, Jessup frequently visited her backstage and the show’s makeup supervisor suggested he learn the Elphaba track as a vacation cover. Eventually he was promoted to the full time artist and has been working at Wicked ever since.
The artist behind the greenifying process welcomed Playbill backstage at the Gershwin Theatre and into Elphaba’s dressing room, currently occupied by actor Jennifer DiNoia, to learn just how complicated it is to create Elphaba’s look.
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From hake brushes to goat-hair brushes, chromacake foundation to purple blush, everything that goes on Elphaba’s face is makeup (not paint) and Jessup must ensure full coverage to maintain the magic that Elphaba was born the green girl.
Despite the multi-step process, Jessup finishes his work in about 18 minutes. Tyler Mount took on the Wicked makeup challenge to see if he could keep up and deliver the same polished look for Broadway’s most famous witch.
Watch the video above to watch the makeup tutorial and see who creates the best Wicked Witch of the West.
Flip through the gallery below to get another view of the process: