DIVA TALK: The Elphabas of Wicked; Looking Back at a Decade of Interviews

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25 Oct 2013

Mandy Gonzalez
photo by Joan Marcus

Mandy Gonzalez, interview from January 2011

About going green each night:
Gonzalez: Well, it takes me about 45 minutes every day, and then it's about 16 minutes of scrubbing to get it off, and I've gotten pretty used to it. I mean, I have this incredible makeup artist, Craig Jessup, who does my makeup every night, so I don't really have to do anything. I just have to sit there and be patient while somebody paints my skin. It's been a little different with the winter just because it's cold, and so when he puts on the cold makeup, it gets really cold. [Laughs.] But it's been interesting just because it takes a while for your skin to get used to doing this, to putting this makeup on your face every night. For the two-show days, I have to wash my face and my body in between, just because Elphaba starts out a lot lighter in the beginning, and then she gets darker, so you have to go back to the lighter makeup. So that takes a while to get used to on your skin, but it's been fun. [Laughs.]

Her description of Elphaba:
Gonzalez: Elphaba is somebody that's had a very hard life, that hasn't had life make her jaded. She still has a lot of hope, and she's somebody that comes into the show with hope for new beginnings, and she kind of always feels that, but she's always been an outsider, so she's always had to build that hope on her own, because she's never had anybody there to say, "You can do it," so she's had to be that person to do that for herself. Through the show, she learns so much about trust, about trusting people and about friendship, and she's just a dreamer. She loves people, she loves animals, but it's really a great journey because I get to go through such an arc. I fall in love. She's the ultimate green girl. What can I say about Elphaba? [Laughs.] She's that person full of hope, that she puts all of her hope into things, even though things sometimes don't work out... She still has hope that there's something better for the future, and I think that that's a great quality to have.

What it's like to fly at the Gershwin:
Gonzalez: You know, the flying is really awesome. It's just interesting. I mean, I know they don't want me to give away too many secrets, but it was really interesting because when you're singing and you're rehearsing, you sing these big notes, and as a singer, I just take it from the ground, and I plant myself in and I get all my singing down. I remember when I first got onto the flying contraption, I realized that I can't really move anywhere. I can't move my legs, I can't do anything like that, so one time I actually did, and I felt it. [Laughs.] … So I just have to stay put, and that's really interesting, because I just get to use my upper body and pretend like I'm flying with the broom, and it's really cool. Once you master it, it's a really amazing, amazing ride.

About the "green girl" network among the women who have done the role:
Gonzalez: I remember seeing Stephanie J. Block at a commercial audition, and she's like, "How are you? What are you doing? What are you doing? I can't believe you're out," and I'm just like, "Yeah! You know." [Laughs.] But it was nice to see her because I don't think that anybody really knows exactly what you have to go through except for other people that have played the part, and they know that it's individual for everybody, but it's nice to see somebody and go, "Oh, did this happen to you? Did you ever feel like this?" Everybody's ready to talk, so it's good. [Laughs.]

To read the full interview, click here.



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