Although her onstage persona is intimidatingly glamorous, we snag the opportunity to show that actress Carly Anderson – Glinda the Good Witch in this year’s production of WICKED – is beautifully human. After a phenomenal opening performance last night, we grab five minutes with one half of the witchy duo to find out more about life in the Emerald City.
Are you touring the world by broomstick?
Can you please write that?! Yeah, so we all come here by private jet, it’s got Wicked written on the side, and the aeroplane is shaped like a broomstick! No, not really – we all fly by normal aeroplane.
So what are your first impressions of Hong Kong?
We [the cast] are very much looking forward to spending Christmas here. When we arrived the other day it felt so festive, it’s really lovely. And as much as I love the cold weather, this weather is glorious. I really like hiking too, and there are amazing trails around the city so that’s top of my list.
Have you got any wacky pre-show rituals?
I don’t have any good luck things, or anything that I have to do. The Bubble Dress is a bit of a nightmare to get out of though, so if I need to pee I’m buggered – pardon my French. I like to have my pin curls done before warmup too. I freak out if I don’t have them done.
Has anything gone dramatically wrong so far?
That’s the joy of live theatre – inevitably things will go wrong and of course they do. It’s our job to make it look like nothing happened at all. And most of the time the audience don’t realise, it’s just us people on stage. Oh there have, of course, been a few mishaps here and there, but mostly just me being clumsy – I broke my wand a couple of times.
What’s your favourite costume?
I love the Bubble Dress – it’s based on a Dior design, and it’s so iconic you just feel totally incredible in it. But it’s not the comfiest. Actually, all of my costumes are very corseted. I think actually the comfiest is the little Chanel-inspired number I wear to school. And it’s probably one of my favourites as well – but it changes! Some days I’m like ‘oh I love my engagement costume from Act 2’ and then other days I’m like ‘oh I love my pink party dress’, because I feel like the girliest girl in it.
… And your favourite song to perform?
Defying Gravity is definitely the one for me. It’s mostly Jackie [Elphaba] in that number, but it’s just so exciting. It brings me back to the first time I ever watched it, and I was like ‘oh my god this is incredible and I really want to be in this show.’
What’s so special about Wicked for you?
I think the biggest thing is the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. It’s the heart of the show. And without it – I mean without it you have the flying monkeys, and an incredible spectacle. But with the friendship, you really connect with it. It’s a beautiful story and one that we love to tell every night.
What did you do when you got the call?
I screamed very loudly down the phone to my agent. And then a couple of minutes later did exactly the same thing to my mum. It didn’t feel quite real at that point. Then about an hour later I cried – when my boyfriend came home I was sobbing!
What’s your off-stage friendship like with Jacqueline Hughes, aka Elphaba?
We’re really good friends in real life, which is amazing because we can take the chemistry that we have in our own relationship and take it on stage. It would be difficult – well, it would be a much harder job, let’s put it that way, to pretend that we really do love each other.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in theatre?
I like old properties. I like old things in general actually, like I have a little bit of a fascination with antiques and vintage things and old buildings. I think I’d quite like to be a property developer or something like that. Or maybe be really clued about antiques and work on Antiques Roadshow.
Go to the Emerald City! Wicked is now open at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, with performances until January 22, 2017. Click here to buy your tickets.