The legendary megahit musical Wicked has returned to Boston, now through July 23 at the Boston Opera House. The show, as hot as ever almost 14 years after its debut, continues to enthrall audiences with the story of two polar opposite roommates: the popular Galinda and the outcast Elphaba. Actress Jessica Vosk took time out of her role as the iconic green girl to talk about why the character is as relevant as ever, tour life, and more.
What is it like taking on the role of Elphaba?
It’s very special and extremely important. I find Elphaba to be a timely character right now in our current events. She is a passionate and courageous woman, who cares fiercely when it comes to her cause. I feel so lucky to be on this ride with her.
What has surprised you most about her?
That she’s unapologetic for who she is. No matter who puts her down, no matter how bad it feels, she will pick herself up and stand up for what’s right.
Do you have a favorite song in the show? Does that favorite change?
Oh, it changes all the time. I am loving “I’m Not That Girl” right now, because it’s just beautifully written. They all are. But, when I’ve been in a particularly sassy mood, “Defying Gravity” will make me a happy camper. It really depends on my mood!
Why do you think Wicked has remained so beloved for nearly 15 years?
Because the material is timely; any age can relate to several aspects. In a world where bullying is such a problem these days, this show tackles that subject matter in a way we can all understand. It makes us question ourselves, and I really appreciate that. To be the only person on stage who is considered “different” is a huge life lesson.
Is this your first national tour? What is touring life like?
It is! Tour life is one of a kind! It’s very different than our usual NYC Broadway show living. We constantly travel, but we are on a particularly phenomenal tour, with an amazing company. We are so very well taken care of. I thank my lucky stars. And I travel with my puppy-son, Fred, which makes it much easier.
What is it like handling the response from fans, particularly young ones, who adore Elphaba, the show, and now you?
It’s been life-changing. I didn’t expect the response to be so huge, so I was overwhelmed in a wonderful way. I love the kids who come to see this show and really connect. Young ones who aren’t very social, or who have felt different growing up, they can escape reality and really find something special in Elphaba and in Wicked. I never take that for granted. This show is particularly important to me because of the kids.
What was your path to the stage like? Were you a musical theatre fan as a child?
I have a weird path! So I always say, it doesn’t matter how you get there! Just work hard and persist, you’ll get there. I was a music junkie growing up. My parents are both artistic. I did theatre through high school, and then BAM! Totally graduated college and went into a finance job in NYC. After a while, I realized I wasn’t doing what I loved, so I took a risk and a leap of faith and left the corporate world. And I’m very glad I did.
What is your advice for young performers who want to pursue musical theatre?
Never stop learning. Take a class, go to a show, see a concert, take notes. It’s all important. You can do this. Is it easy? No way. Is it possible? Absolutely. And we work hard because we love what we do. Keep putting the work and effort in. Whatever path you may take, you will get where you’re supposed to —no matter how many bumps may come along the way.