Wicked Awesome!

12.10.2006

By Jeffrey Epstein

Have you always wanted to be a big Broadway diva?
Yeah. Basically. [Laughs] It's definitely a dream come true. When people say 'Was SNL your dream?' Well, it was at a certain point. But it wasn't something I lay in bed when I was a kid thinking about. I wanted to be Annie.

You've played Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Mrs. Peachum in Threepenny Opera, Columbia in Rocky Horror, and now Elphaba. Is there another role you'd love to play?
I would love to do Fanny Brice in a New York production. It's absolutely a dream. I don't know how to get the rights or to get someone to do it. I need to find a wealthy gay patron! It's something I can really relate to. And of course I'd like to originate something. Because Idina originated the role in Wicked before me, it's still her part: her phrasing, her blocking. There are times when that can feel, frankly, like a big pain in the ass because you're a bit shoehorned. But that's the nature of replacing. The nice thing about doing Wicked in New York is that I'm starting to meet new songwriters and have been getting some calls for workshops, and that's really where it all begins.

It's rare that someone goes from Saturday Night Live to, say, musical theater. Did people question your decision?
I didn't really ask. I am with a manager who really gets multifaceted performers. Frankly a lot of other people would have said, 'You're crazy, you have to stay in TV.' I did a pilot. I did Reefer. But I definitely have someone in my life professionally who understands the value of what it means. He encouraged me to write my one-woman show, Let It Rip. I have this act and this real goal in mind to create a life of Broadway shows and concerts. The truth of it is, at the end of the day, I am happier when I'm singing. My therapist told me there's a study that says people who sing every day are happier. I wasn't going to do Wicked on Broadway. I was done with Wicked. But when it came back up'and I had to start just one week after Threepenny closed'I like the feeling of using my voice every day' It's a unique way to express yourself. If I had gone the other route'to say no theater ever and gone out to LA, I would go crazy. I'm not the type of actor who wants to sit around auditioning every day and doing deals. In New York you're always doing a workshop or a benefit. You can put your anxiety on hold because you're working. It's not the most lucrative route or the fanciest. It's the most fulfilling. At least for me.

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