Monday, 14 June 2021

COMING HOME: Laura Pick, soon to return to the role of Elphaba in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre

Pocket Size Theatre and Liza Heinrichs (Captured by Liz) have teamed up again and created our new series 'Coming Home'. In this new piece, we look at the reopening of Theatres in London and around the country and celebrate our industry coming back. We got together some performers who will be some of the first to return to theatres and created this piece to bring some positivity to the theatre industry which has been through one of the toughest years in our lifetime. Whilst it is important to acknowledge the hardships we've all gone through, it's important we pull together as a community and celebrate our beloved industry finally coming back! 

Wicked is one of the biggest musical theatre hits of the 21st century so far. With productions all over the world, an 18 year run on Broadway plus almost 15 years in the West End, it’s safe to say Wicked is a modern musical theatre staple. The lead roles of Glinda and Elphaba have made stars of those who have played them. Some of the wonderful ladies to have played these roles here in the UK are now some of the top musical theatre performers we have; Kerry Ellis, Rachel Tucker, Alice Fearn, Louise Dearman, Diane Pilkington & Gina Beck to name just a few - Laura Pick is now following in their footsteps. 

Laura started in the show as the standby to Elphaba. She covered Alice Fearn (now starring in the London production of Come From Away) and Nikki Bentley (soon to be starring in Joseph at the Glastonbury Abbey) before taking over as the principal role at the beginning of 2020. After a short run as the full-time lead, her new Elphaba journey was cut short due to the theatres closing. Laura will be returning to play the most famous green girl in London when it reopens on the 15th of September 2021. A year and a half after having last played the role, Laura says she cannot wait to be reunited with the cast, telling us how much she is looking forward to sharing this show with audiences once again; “I can’t wait to be able to tell this beautiful story again, it continues to be relevant and I want to connect with the wonderful audiences that we always get at the Apollo Victoria.” 

Most recently you could see Laura representing Wicked at ‘The Shows Must Go On’ for the Theatre Support fund at the Palace Theatre. She performed alongside members of the cast from Six which she managed to catch in the short time a few theatres reopened back in December 2020, “I don’t know if its a show that many people cry at, but I was a mess pretty much from start to finish. There was something about sitting in the auditorium of a theatre that just set me off. Never mind the music and the talent on that stage!” 

Over the past year Laura has kept herself pretty busy; getting herself a new puppy took up a lot of time and she has also has been working for a company online. As well as all of this, she has completed two half marathons and is performing a solo show at the Chiswick Playhouse on the 20th June! But even after achieving all of this she still tells us that, much like a lot of people, she realised the importance of listening to herself and what she needed to get through this difficult year; “I have spent the year with many good intentions of things I would learn, hobbies I would pick up but some days I was just proud that I’d managed to get out of bed and change out of my pyjamas, I’m sure a lot of people can relate to that.” 

After a very difficult year for most of us, Laura reflects back on how she’s grown as a person through this very strange experience; "I’m still me, of course, but I’m a year older, and wiser, right? Well, I’m not sure about that, but can any of us say we are the same? We can no longer sit back and just let everything happen. So no, I’m not the same. I’m more aware and I want to and will be a better ally.” We went on to speak to her about what she means by ally and we started talking about how the industry has changed or needs to change to go further and truly be an equal opportunities industry, she says “We need to move forward with complete awareness and understanding. We need to educate ourselves on how to be more inclusive as an industry. I think this time out has given the industry the time and opportunity to unite and I hope that moving forward we are going to continue to grow and change for the better.” 

Elphaba is one of the most challenging roles out there and Laura is just wonderful in the show, but of course, with such a huge role comes looking after yourself! Laura tells us about how amazing it will be to come back and how she is already having to get physically and vocally back on track to prepare for the return of Wicked. But she also reminds us that we shouldn’t put too much pressure on ourselves, we have to take it at our own paces; "We need to remember that we are only human, it is going to be a shock to the system, so we can’t be too hard on ourselves. We’ve got this!” 

You’ll be able to see Laura in all her true West End leading lady glory when she reopens the West End production of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre from the 15th September 2021 and you can also catch her in her solo show at the Chiswick Playhouse, ‘Sunday Soul’, which will be a journey through music that inspires us and feeds our souls, I think that's exactly what we need right now! 

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