DO YOU LOVE the Wicked Witch of the West, or do you hate that you love her? She's powerful, she's complicated, and her skin is that lustrous combo of army green, olive, and lime. I fulfilled a dream last week when I sat down with the Wicked Witch, Elphaba (or Alyssa Fox, the actress who plays her in the touring company of Wicked). When Fox said hello, I told her I wanted to speak to the witch.
MERCURY: Do you tan?
ALYSSA FOX: [Pauses] Yes.
So do you become more of a wintergreen then? Or a forest green?
I don't sunbathe a lot. When I'm outside, I've got the big hat on and 100 SPF sunscreen. There's a line in the show where I say, "The green just get greener."
Everything nowadays is green. Green buildings. The green, healthy choice. Does that ever piss you off? You were green before it was trendy.
I fully support going green. I'm all for animal rights. That's one of my main projects.
What do you have against Dorothy?
Those jeweled shoes are pretty special. They hold a deep sentimental value. And she stole them off of my dead sister's body. Wouldn't you be angry?
Have you ever had sex on your broom? In the air?
No. I think it would get too tricky. Maybe too bumpy of a ride. Sometimes the broom has a mind of its own.
How do you describe your dueling love interest with Glinda the Good Witch?
I didn't really mean for it to happen. Fiyero [the man who goes on to become the Scarecrow] and I have a connection. Glinda realizes it. She recognizes that Fiyero and I love each other. It definitely was a hard thing to go through with a best friend, where it looked like I was stealing her fiancé. But sometimes love just happens.
Are you in a relationship now?
Kind of? Wait, Elphaba or Alyssa? I plead the Fifth.
I'm talking to the witch here.
Oh, I'm still with Fiyero.
Do you want kids?
That's hard. There's the Elphaba in the book, who I'm not supposed to speak for, and the Elphaba in the show, who's a little less dark. Book Elphaba would probably not want kids. But I think Elphaba in the musical would want kids. To create life and have that empowering experience.
I have a Wicked sequel all worked out for you: Octomom in Oz. There's a mishap with Elphaba's fertility drugs, and she has eight witch babies. They fly around in geometric formations on their mini-brooms. I don't see Elphaba ever turning to porn like Octomom did, though.
Eight babies would be a lot of work. I don't think witches like to babysit that much.
If you became angry with me, what spell would you hit me with?
I'd turn you into an animal: a frog or a rat, something harmless.
You have a fall from grace. What's the hardest part of that to deal with?
Being bullied and told you're wicked all your life eventually breaks you down. At one point, I cracked and gave up and said, "Fine, you think I'm this evil, wicked person? Then that's what I'll be." So I accepted it and became the Wicked Witch of the West. I owned the title.
Who do you identify with?
I'd say the Big Bad Wolf. When I was a younger witch, I read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. The wolf gets a bad rap. He's hungry. He needs food. He's huffing and puffing because he's trying to survive; it's nature. When you take a look at a villain's story, sometimes the villain isn't so bad.
What's the hardest part about playing the Wicked Witch?
Stamina. Elphaba is onstage almost the entire show without a break. Even during intermission, I'm getting painted again. They're retouching my makeup until I go back onstage. I hardly have time for a bathroom break during the whole show. You have to remind yourself to breathe and find little moments onstage to relax. Hydration is important. I expend a lot of energy doing this show, and I sleep a lot more than the average person. Witches have to eat right, too [laughs a non-witch laugh].
Talk about the pressure of being the Wicked Witch. What happens when you're not feeling wicked?
There's a lot of pressure. People have an idea in their head of what they want the Wicked Witch to be. And Wicked fans have ideas for what they want Elphaba to be. Between that, and the director having specific ideas for the role, it's a lot to consider.
What's next for you?
My contract goes for a few more months on tour as Elphaba. Then I'll probably move back to New York City and start auditioning for new things. I've been on the road for three years now. It'll be nice having an apartment I can actually stay in. I started as Elphaba's understudy and then moved up to standby. I was standby on this tour for two and a half years, and I got the lead at the end of January. It's exciting to be the main witch. I'd love to play Elphaba on Broadway. That's the main dream role.
How many main witches are you competing against?
There's me and the girl on Broadway, in America. And there are some in other countries. But there are tons of people who would love to play the role of Elphaba on Broadway. Being the main witch is hard to top.