Dutch actress Willemijn Verkaik will make her Broadway debut as Elphaba in “Wicked” next year.
Verkaik, who currently plays the same role in the Dutch production of the musical, will take over the part on February 10 for a 15-week engagement. She takes over the role from the current Elphaba, Jackie Burns, who will play her final performance February 10 at the Gershwin Theatre.
“Since opening in 2003, ‘Wicked’ has truly become a global phenomenon and no one exemplifies the show’s international appeal more than Willemijn,” said producer David Stone in a statement. “As soon as we saw Willemijn’s astonishing debut as Elphaba in 2007, we knew we wanted to bring her to New York one day. Happily, that day has arrived. Her performance has thrilled audiences in two major international markets, and we cannot wait to introduce her to Broadway.”
Verkaik is the only actress to play Elphaba in three languages, and also has played Elphaba the longest worldwide. In June of this year she celebrated her 1,000th performance of the role (over three subsequent productions).
“I am incredibly happy and proud to be asked by the Broadway producers,” Verkaik said in a statement. “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.”
The actress will join the current Broadway cast, which includes Alli Mauzey as Glinda, Randy Danson as Madame Morrible, Dean Massey as Fiyero, Tom Flynn as Dr. Dillamond, F. Michael Haynie as Boz, Catherine Charlebois as Nessarose and Adam Grupper as The Wizard.
The hit musical features music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz with a book by Winnie Holzman.