Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Cast Members vs. 'Recycled' Ones: UPDATED!

Hey everyone!  I originally posted this in 2013, but I thought I would bring it back to get some thoughts from y'all. I thought I would talk about when Wicked recycles cast members vs bringing new ones in, which I think is an interesting topic, and one that I have never addressed on here!  First, I'm gonna start by saying I LOVE everyone who has played a role in Wicked for one reason or another, and I am never anything but excited when someone returns to a role, be it on Tour, Broadway, London or anywhere else.

For those who are not sure what I/we mean by "recycled," the term refers to a cast member who has previously appeared in the show in a certain role (in a principal capacity), and after their initial run is brought back one or several times.  Some examples would include Dee Roscioli as Elphaba, who, after standing by for 9 months, played the role for 2 years in Chicago.  After her Chicago run, she briefly stood by in San Francisco, then was brought to the Broadway production.   A year later, she joined the 1st National Tour for a few months, and then re-joined the 1st National Tour in 2012 for a much longer run.  She has played the role of Elphaba more than any other actress, and I think she is fantastic.  I also would not be surprised to see her return to the role again in the future!  Another example would be Alli Mauzey as Glinda.  After standing by for the role for 6 months in 2007, she played the role for 9 months in 2008-9. She has since returned to Broadway twice, as well as a stint on the National Tour and in the Closing San Francisco company.

Some people have expressed frustration with recycling, claiming that no fresh faces are brought into the show.  My goal in this post is to illustrate that though recycling does occur often, new faces are brought into the show regularly.  I am going to go through each of the three currently running US Companies to illustrate this.

For example, let's look at the witches.
The Glindas: Kendra Kassebaum (2005-2006), Megan Hilty (2006), Christina DeCicco (2007), Katie Rose Clarke (2007-2009, 2011-2012), Chandra Lee Schwartz (2009-2011, 2014-2015), Amanda Jane Cooper (2011), Alli Mauzey (2012), Patti Murin (2012-2013), Jenn Gambatese (2013), Gina Beck (2013-2014).

The newbies: Kendra Kassebaum, Christina DeCicco, Katie Rose Clarke (for her first stint with the tour), Chandra Lee Schwartz, Amanda Jane Cooper, Patti Murin and Jenn Gambatese had never played the role of Glinda in any capacity before joining the 1st National Tour.

The "recycled": Megan Hilty and Alli Mauzey both played the role on Broadway prior to joining the tour, Gina Beck played the role in London's West End prior to touring.

The promoted: N/A.

The ones who have played the role again (so far): Kendra Kassebaum (Broadway: 07, 08, San Francisco: 09-10, Katie Rose Clarke (Broadway: 10-11, 13, 1st National Tour: 11-12), Chandra Lee Schwartz (Broadway: 11-12, 1st National Tour 14-15).

The Elphabas: Stephanie J. Block (2005-2006), Julia Murney (2006), Shoshana Bean (2006), Victoria Matlock (2007), Carmen Cusack (2007-2008), Donna Vivino (2008-2010),  Jackie Burns (2010-2011), Dee Roscioli(2011, 2012-2013), Mamie Parris (2011-2012), Nicole Parker (2012), Alison Luff (2013-2014), Emma Hunton (2014-2015).

The Newbies: Julia Murney, Jackie Burns, Mamie Parris,  Alison Luff abnd Emma Hunton had never played the role of
Elphaba in any capacity before joining the 1st National Tour.

The "recycled": Shoshana Bean, Dee Roscioli and Nicole Parker had all played the role of Elphaba in the Broadway company prior to joining the 1st National Tour, and Dee Roscioli played the role in Chicago.

The promoted: Stephanie J. Block (u/s San Fran pre-Broadway), Victoria Matlock (s/b 1NT), Carmen Cusack (s/b Chicago), Donna Vivino (s/b 1NT).

The ones who have played the role again (so far): Stephanie J. Block (Broadway: 2007-2008), Julia Murney (Broadway: 2007), Donna Vivino (Broadway: 2011-? *s/b*), Jackie Burns (Broadway: 2011-2013).


The Glindas:  Helené Yorke, Natalie Daradich, Tiffany Haas, Jeanna de Waal, Hayley Podschun, Kara Lindsay, Carrie St. Louis.

The Newbies: Helené Yorke, Jeanna de Waal, Hayley Podschun, Kara Lindsay and Carrie St. Louis had never played the role of Glinda in any capacity before joining the 2nd National Tour.

The "recycled": N/A

The promoted: Natalie Daradich (u/s & s/b LA, s/b LA), Tiffany Haas (u/s 2NT).

The ones who have played the role again (so far): Natalie Daradich (temp s/b 1NT: 2012), Tiffany Haas (Broadway: 2012-? *s/b*), Kara Lindsay (Broadway 2014-?).

The Elphabas:  Marcie Dodd (2009-2010), Vicki Noon (2010-2011), Anne Brummel (2011-2012), Christine Dwyer (2012-2013) and Jennifer DiNoia (2013-2014), Laurel Harris (2014-2015), Alyssa Fox (2015-?).

The Newbies: N/A

The "recycled": Marcie Dodd (Broadway 2008-2009).

The promoted: Vicki Noon (u/s Chicago, s/b LA & San Francisco ), Anne Brummel (u/s & s/b 2NT),
Christine Dwyer (u/s & s/b 2NT), Jennifer DiNoia (u/s & s/b Chicago, s/b Broadway, s/b Sydney, alt. Asian Tour), Laurel Harris (u/s 2NT, s/b 1NT), Alyssa Fox (u/s San Francisco, s/b 2NT).

The ones who have played the role again (so far): Marcie Dodd (San Francisco 2010), Vicki Noon (Broadway 2012-2013 *u/s*), Christine Dwyer (Broadway 2014), Jennifer DiNoia (London 2014-2015).

Finally, the Broadway company.  This is where most of the "recycling" happens.  People appear in companies all over the world, and Broadway is where several reprise their roles.

The Glindas: Kristin Chenoweth (2003-2004), Jennifer Laura Thompson (2004-2005), Megan Hilty (2005-2006), Kate Reinders (2006-2007), Kendra Kassebaum (2007, 2008), Annaleigh Ashford (2007-2008), Alli Mauzey (2008-2009, 2012-2013, 2013), Erin Mackey (2009-2010), Katie Rose Clarke (2010-2011, 2013), Chandra Lee Schwartz (2011-2012), Jenni Barber (2014), Kara Lindsay (2014-?).

The Newbies: (excluding the OBC) Jennifer Laura Thompson and Jenni Barber never played the role of Glinda in any capacity before joining the Broadway company.

The "recycled": Kate Reinders (Chicago 2005), Kendra Kassebaum (1NT 2005-2006), Erin Mackey (1NT 2005, Chicago 2006-2008, LA 2008), Katie Rose Clarke (1NT 2007-2009), Chandra Lee Schwartz (1NT 2009-2011), Kara Lindsay (2NT, 2014)

The promoted: Megan Hilty (s/b Broadway 2004-2005), Annaleigh Ashford (u/s 1NT 2006), Alli Mauzey (s/b Broadway 2007).

The ones who have played the role again (so far): Megan Hilty (1NT 2006), Kendra Kassebaum (San Francisco 2009-2010), Annaleigh Ashford (Chicago 2008-2009), Alli Mauzey (1NT 2012, Broadway return 2012-2013), Katie Rose Clarke (1NT return 2011-2012, Broadway return 2013).

The Elphabas: Idina Menzel (2003-2005), Shoshana Bean (2005-2006), Eden Espinosa (2006), Ana Gasteyer (2006-2007), Julia Murney (2007), Stephanie J. Block (2007-2008), Kerry Ellis (2008), Marcie Dodd (2008-2009), Nicole Parker (2009), Dee Roscioli (2009-2010), Mandy Gonzalez (2010-2011), Teal Wicks (2011), Jackie Burns (2011-2013), Willemijin Verkaik (2013) Lindsay Mendez (2013-2014), Christine Dwyer (2014), Caroline Bowman (2014-?).

The Newbies: (excluding OBC) Nicole Parker, Mandy Gonzalez and Lindsay Mendez had never played the role of Elphaba in any capacity before joining the Broadway company.

The "recycled": Ana Gasteyer (Chicago 2005), Julia Murney (1NT 2006), Stephanie J. Block (1NT 2005), Kerry Ellis (London 2007-2008), Dee Roscioli (Chicago 2007-2009), Teal Wicks (LA 2008, San Francisco 2009-2010), Jackie Burns (1NT 2010-2011), Willemijin Verkaik (Stuttgart 2007-2010, Oberhausen 2010-2011, Scheveningen 2011-2013), Christine Dwyer (2NT 2010-2013).

The promoted: Shoshana Bean (s/b Broadway 2004-2005), Eden Espinosa (s/b Broadway 2003-2004), Marcie Dodd (u/s 1NT 2007, s/b LA 2008), Caroline Bowman (u/s Broadway 2011-2012).

The ones who have played the role again (so far): Idina Menzel (London 2006), Shoshana Bean (1NT 2006), Eden Espinosa (LA 2007, 2008-2009, San Francisco 2010), Kerry Ellis (London 2008-2009), Marcie Dodd (2NT 2009-2010, San Francisco 2010), Nicole Parker (1NT 2012), Dee Roscioli (1NT 2011, 2012-2013), Willemijin Verkaik (London 2014-?)

As you can see, many people HAVE been recycled, but many people have also started off one one of the tours and then moved on to other companies of the show.  As listed above, most of the recycling occurs in the Broadway production, as the Broadway company tends to be a melting pot of those who have played the roles in various companies, and new people.  Also, these are just the witches.  There have been people in all of the different roles who have played the role across different companies, and there are many people who have been brought in completely new.

I personally have absolutely no issue with the way WICKED does its casting, in fact I love it.  I think that it gives us an opportunity to balance seeing some of the people we have loved take on these roles through the last few years again with recycling, and bringing in new people who have never played the roles before.  Many of the new people start out on tour, giving the country the chance to see them, and end up cycling into the Broadway company.  To many people who do not keep up with cast comings and goings, seeing new people on tour is fresh every time, and to those of us that do, we love to go and see our favorites in whatever company they may be a part of! :)

What do YOU guys think about recycling vs. new cast members?  Leave a comment letting me know below, or in the comment box, email me at, or tweet me @FlyingHighWKD! :)

I hope you enjoyed reading this!

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