Recently announced "Wicked" cast member Amanda Jane Cooper is a dead ringer for Kristen Chenoweth, the comic actress who originated the role of Glinda in the Broadway production of "Wicked." But don't let that fool you. She plans to bring her own brand of perkiness and humor to the popular role -- but without forgetting those who came before. She spoke to The News a week before joining the cast of the show in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
You were just announced as the new Glinda in "Wicked." So is your Facebook page going crazy right now?
It's kind of blowing up. But it's so much love and so much support. I'm very grateful for everybody who's believed in me.
Are there ways in which you identify with Glinda?
Oh, absolutely. My two vices are jewelry and lip gloss. Ask anybody who knows me well and they will tell you I am always on the prowl for jewelry and lip gloss, so yes, I identify with her love for accessorizing very much
She just really loves life and I love that about her. Actually, learning this part has made me examine the parts of my life that I love because I've tried to personalize this role as much as possible, to bring my own personal experiences to it.
When you first saw "Wicked" during your sophomore year of high school, did you already have your sights set on a career on Broadway?
That decision was still a little far away. But "Wicked" definitely sparked something in me that said, "Wow, that is the kind of thing I want to be doing with my life." I just want to story-tell. I want to tell these amazing stories of friendships
I knew that I had a lot of growing to do; I had to go to school and do some training and really hone my craft, but I kind of knew that I had a -- just a knack. Everybody's born with a knack for something, and I think this is my knack. And something during 'Wicked' just sparked that ambition in me.
What accounts for the massive popularity of "Wicked?"
It has this mass audience appeal. It's an amazing show for an 8-year-old to see and for an 80-year-old to see. I really admire the fact that the story is based around a friendship between two women. You rarely see that as the main plot point for any show Like any piece of theater or entertainment it's a bit of an escape, but it's also grounded in things that you can really relate to. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it inspires you, all that. It's just epic.
- Colin Dabkowski