Jemma Rix, 26, takes on the green-skinned social outcast Elphaba
She got picked on in school.
‘I’ve always been a performer, I’ve always sung, danced and I’ve done a lot of acting as well. I got picked on quite a bit when I was at school because of that, because I kind of stood out and did these things. It sets you up for bullying. [This] is sometimes what I think about when I play Elphaba. When she feels that hatred from everyone in the classroom scenes because people judge what they see, I was like that at school.’
It takes a full hour to make her green.
‘It’s a proper MAC make-up. They use a big brush and then paint it on my face, then sprinkle powder all over to set the paint. Basically it can be similar to regular stage make-up, but the base is green instead of regular skin colour. It’s hard to take off though [shows that her palms are still tinted], so I live my life partially green.’
Her dream was to become a pop star.
‘I wasn’t a massive advocate for musical theatre. My voice has much more of a pop sound. I saw myself in a band. I saw myself creating a CD… I didn’t write my own music, but I did Top 40 kind of stuff.’
Her previous day job was in the beauty field.
‘I was a beauty therapist, so I did all of the waxing and facials, that kind of stuff. After work I would drive to Sydney for the night and perform with my band.’
She’s not a party girl.
‘I don’t party. I’m a grandma. I don’t go out because as soon as I go out and I need to “talk like this” [uses a fake screaming voice], then there’s no way I can do a show the next day. So I miss out on a couple of things because of that, but at the same time this is a massive opportunity for me and I do not want to blow it.’
Taking her bow is always the most satisfying part of her performance.
‘I get a really happy feeling when I’ve completed a show – I feel really accomplished and getting the attention from the audience gives this special feeling. I mean, how many people have jobs where they get applauded?’
As a kid, she was more of a wicked witch than a princess.
‘You know the movie Batman Returns with Catwoman? I was Catwoman. You know how McDonald’s has those little Happy Meal things? I was desperate for the Catwoman one. I was always the tough girl. Always.’
Suzie Mathers, 27, plays the bubbly, blonde ‘good witch’ Glinda
To prepare for her role as Glinda, she had to channel her inner child.
‘We all have that inner child in us that actually wants to be in their room, on their own, just squealing and singing along to the radio. This is the part of my personality that I had to channel for this character.
‘Glinda is a crazy person. She loves to jump and leap across the room and show how great she is at ballet, even though she’s hopeless at ballet. But she doesn’t care. It’s as if the world’s not watching – she’s in her own little bubble. She really enjoys that, so I just had to find that in myself, even though I’m a much more relaxed, down-to-earth type of person. It’s what we do, eight nights a week – we get paid to embody somebody else and be that character.’
She was not a shy teenager.
‘I was always part of the school band. I actually came to Singapore in 1999 on a school music tour, and went to Sentosa and played in all the big shopping centres. On the music tour I used to play the saxophone and sing in the choir. So I was one of those kids, quietly confident. I would stand up and sing solos in front of the school.’
Acting was not always part of the plan.
‘I actually went to study law and commerce at the University of Western Australia. But after a year I thought: No, I need to get back to my music roots.’
She’s excited to come to Singapore because of The Amazing Race.
‘[I] have seen pictures and videos online of MBS, and really want to go to the infinity pool! It just looks fantastic. We’ve had The Amazing Race on TV [in Australia], and all of us were watching the final and got excited that we’re going.’
She treasures her alone time.
‘Being in a role like this, your free time is something that’s sacred. It’s kind of like you go home, you make yourself a cup of tea and you have an early night, sleep for eight hours – if you can – and you get up and go to the gym, or go for a walk. You try and preserve your voice a lot.’
As a kid, she was more of a princess than a witch.
‘[Growing up] I was probably more of a princess or fairy type, which is ironic now. Mum always had me in some sort of pink dress.’
Wicked plays at Marina Bay Sands’ Grand Theatre till 22 Apr 2012.