In June 2012, she celebrated her 1000th performance as Elphaba in three subsequent productions of WICKED: in Stuttgart and Oberhausen (Germany) and in Scheveningen (The Netherlands). On February 12th Willemijn Verkaik will make her Broadway debut and play the green witch for 15 weeks at the Gershwin Theatre.
Verkaik is setting records: she is the only actress who has played Elphaba in three different languages as well as the longest-playing Elphaba worldwide. She isn't the first Dutchman to secure a leading part in a Broadway production: before her, Pia Douwes headlined CHICAGO in 2004 and Bill Van Dijk (currently co-starring as "Wizard" in the Dutch WICKED led by Verkaik) played the title character of the ill-fated CYRANO in 1993.
Verkaik is not completely new to Broadway audiences: she made her American cabaret debut in 2011 at the Birdland, performing with Scott Alan, Jason Robert Brown, and the composer-lyricist of WICKED, Stephen Schwartz. She can be heard on the latest album of Scott Alan, LIVE, performing the song "Say Goodbye".
Now this self-described "little Dutch girl" will be starring in the Broadway production of WICKED for 15 weeks, joining Alli Mauzey as Glinda, Kyle Dean Massey as Fiyero, Randy Danson as Madame Morrible, Adam Grupper as The Wizard, Catherine Charlebois as Nessarose, Tom Flynn as Dr. Dillamond and F. Michael Haynie as Boq.
Verkaik: "I am incredibly happy and proud to be asked by the Broadway producers. I've been playing this role for about five years and every day there are [still] plenty of challenges. In New York the production has been playing to sold out houses for nine years. To be part of that is truly the icing on the cake for me."
Photo credit: Govert de Roos