Interview: Savannah Stevenson, Glinda in Wicked
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"Glinda is always good. She has to be. Her world begins to fall apart as she realises that life isn't as charmed as she thought. She makes a huge journey. I love taking that journey each night."
After making her debut as the Good Witch back in autumn 2013, Savannah Stevenson is still loving every minute of her journey as Glinda on stage each night. We sat down with Savannah to talk about what it really takes to be the golden girl of Oz, her lifelong passion for acting, and her most memorable career moments thus far.
What was the first musical you performed in?
I played Nancy in Oliver! when I was about 14 at school. My first professional musical was the original cast of Mary Poppins in the West End. I was in the ensemble and an understudy and was so lucky to get it as I was a new drama school graduate.
What's your favourite song in Wicked to perform?
I love For Good. The words mean such a lot to me.
Do you consider Glinda a 'Good Witch'? How do you think she changes from her time at Shiz into adulthood?
Glinda is always good. She has to be. She just can be very unaware of how she affects others. Her world begins to fall apart as she realises that life isn't as charmed as she thought. She makes a huge journey. She forgives and genuinely loves. I love taking that journey each night.
Which do you prefer: Glinda or GAAARlinda?
I love how fun 'Gaaarlinda' is but Glinda learns her lessons and I love her more for that.
What has been your most memorable moment on stage thus far in your career?
I once played Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind with no rehearsal. I was the understudy and got thrown on. The audience reception at the end was completely overwhelming. I will never forget that.
Were you always interested in acting? What inspired you to pursue this career?
I've always loved it. Many teachers and my family have inspired me to not only use my talent but to stick at it. It's often very difficult as an actress as you deal with a lot of uncertainty and rejection, but they inspire me to keep going.
What advice would you give to young people interested in a career on stage?
They should know it's tough. Regardless of talent there are very few fast tickets to success but if you really want to do it and believe you can... you have to go for it!
If you were able to perform in any musical, past or present, which would you choose?
I've always wanted to play Julie in Carousel. Lucille Frank in Parade is a dream too.
Have you had any experience in film or television? If so, how different is it to performing live on stage each night?
I've been lucky to have worked in all mediums. They are very different. Theatre requires a discipline. Especially something like Wicked. You're doing eight shows a week and so you have to look after yourself and be okay with it taking priority. It's very demanding. Filming is demanding in other ways. It can be difficult when you shoot out of sequence, you still have to have your characters/lines all worked out. Early mornings come with filming too.
Describe your Wicked character in one word.
What are the three skills or abilities you believe an aspiring actor/actress needs to have to be successful on stage?
To be truthful, determined and hardworking.
Do you have any rituals or habits that help you prepare for an evening on stage?
Sadly I do, I have to sing my opening song before the show in preparation. I'm completely superstitious about it now and won't begin until I've done it.
Wicked is all about defying (gravity, of course), and the stereotype of Elphaba as the wicked witch of Oz. Who do you think amongst the Wicked cast is truly wicked, if any?
I don't really think anyone in Wicked is truly 'wicked.' Each character has their own agenda and as events unfurl they get further into hot water. Does ANY person ever think they are a bad person? We all justify our actions in real life and it's the same in our story.
You've had a broad range of experience on stage; which has been your favourite role or musical so far?
It's difficult to pick as they've all been so different but I love playing Glinda as she's so much fun. I'd never really done a comic part before and I've really enjoyed that challenge. I feel very lucky!
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