We had the exclusive opportunity to interview Jennifer DiNoia about her involvement with the award-winning musical Wicked. DiNoia has been in various productions of the hit musical over the last eight years including in North America and internationally and has now made her West End debut as Elphaba. She is in the West End production for a strictly limited engagement until Saturday 31 January 2015 at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre.
You have performed the role of Elphaba to huge acclaim across North America and internationally in Seoul and Sydney. How are you enjoying performing on the West End so far?
It has truly been an honor to make my West End Debut with this Company. From the performers, to management, & to the crew - everyone has been so welcoming. Wicked had brought me to so many places and given me incredible experiences, and every company (and city!) never ceases to amaze me with their talent and generosity.
When did you first see Wicked, and what attracted you to be a part of the show eight years ago?
I actually didn't see the show until I was hired in February of 2006 for the Chicago company. It had been a dream of mine to be a part of Wicked from the first moment I heard the Broadway recording in 2003. The music immediately drew me into the show and once I learned the story, I was hooked!
What are the standout moments of the show for you?
There are so many, it's difficult to choose just one. The End of Act 1 always gets me. It's a huge transformation for Elphaba and happens to be one of the most stunning and beautiful moments to witness. But I do think the many subtle moments in the show is what really makes it magical and easy to identify with.
How long does it take to get ready before each performance?
Well, my makeup and hair take about a total of 30 minutes. I also have to warm up my voice and body before every show, as well.
I also have to warm up my voice and body before every show, as well. Some days, my warm-up is longer than others. It really depends on how I'm feeling that day.
Wicked explores the intriguing nature of what it is to be good and to stay true to yourself; how do you prepare yourself for that kind of character arc?
What a great question! This is what makes this show so beautiful. It's a difficult thing in life to stay true to yourself AND be able to stick up for others. I wouldn't say I do anything specific to prepare myself, except to make sure that I'm ready to go on this very emotional ride. It's a difficult journey in real life, so I personally don't think it should be easy onstage. It can be exhausting but it definitely helps me sleep well at night!
How did you feel at your first performance on the West End?
Excited. Nervous. Honoured. Welcomed. Happy. Wonderful! Almost like it wasn't real. It truly was one of the best moments of my career thus far.
Every actor puts their own stamp on a part. Do you feel each new location and company brings something new to your role?
Absolutely. Every Glinda, Fiyero, Boq, Nessa, Wizard, Morrible, Dillamond, and Cast that I've worked with all over the world, bring their own qualities to every role. Working with so many people has definitely shaped my Elphaba and has helped me find new moments along the way. Real life experiences have also played a huge part in how I play Elphaba.
For those not familiar with Wicked, what is it that you think makes the show so special?
Not only is the music, costumes, choreography, makeup, lighting, & direction incredible but it's the alternate view on such a well known story, that makes it so familiar. Even if you might not have known who the Wicked Witch of the West was before hand, you can come to the show and still understand why she is the person she is. That's why I think the show is so special. No matter your age, gender, where you live or who you love, Wicked is a story of friendship, acceptance and standing up for what you believe in. And we can all relate to that.