Willemijn Verkaik

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Willemijn Verkaik
Image: 250 pixels
Background information
Born (1975-06-16) June 16, 1975 (age 43)
Son en Breugel, Netherlands
Genres Musical theatre
Occupation(s) Singer, actress
Years active 2000–present
Website www.willemijnverkaik.nl

Willemijn Verkaik (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋɪləmɛin vərˈkɑik]; born 16 June 1975) is a Dutch singer and actress. She is best known for her stage roles in Wicked and Elisabeth, and for providing the singing voice for Elsa in both the German and Dutch versions of Disney's Frozen. She was the longest running Elphaba in the musical Wicked, having played the role over 2,000 times, and is the only person who has played the role in three different languages [1]. Her first performance as Elphaba was on 31 October 2007 in Stuttgart, Germany and her final performance in the role was on 22 July 2017 in the West End of London. She is currently starring as "Molly" in Ghost the Musical (German title: Ghost - Nachtricht von Sam) at Theater des Westens.

Early life[edit]

Verkaik was born in Son en Breugel, Netherlands, and grew up in Nuenen near Eindhoven. She graduated from the Rotterdam Conservatory.[2][3]

Career[edit]

Before her acting career began, Verkaik sang in various pop bands for over ten years.[2] Her first professional theatre role was that of an ensemble member in the Dutch production of Elisabeth.[4]

In 2004, Verkaik played the singing voice of Erica in the Dutch version of the animated movie Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper. In 2008, she recorded the Dutch voice of Lydia in Barbie & the Diamond Castle.

Since then, her various musical theatre credits have included Elisabeth (in Holland and Thun, Switzerland),[5] The Three Musketeers, We Will Rock You[2][3] and most notably Wicked, in which she was chosen as the "Wicked Personality of the Year", among all the actresses who played the role in November 2010, in an online poll with over 16,000 voters.[6] She is the only actress to have played the role in more than one language: as of December 2013, Verkaik has appeared in the Dutch, German, Broadway and London West End productions.

Verkaik, 2015

Verkaik originated the role of Elphaba in the original German-language production of Wicked, which began performances in Stuttgart on 1 November 2007, prior to a 15 November opening night. Sabrina Weckerlin was her original alternate, appearing in the two shows a week which Verkaik was not contracted to perform.[7][8][9] She can be heard on the original German cast album.

Verkaik soon repeated her performance in the original Dutch-language production, which premiered in Scheveningen on 6 November 2011, after previews from 26 October. This required her to learn the role in her native language. The run ended on 11 January 2013 and Verkaik transferred to North America, to make her Broadway debut in the English-speaking New York company of Wicked, marking her third language production. Verkaik played a limited 15-week engagement at the Gershwin Theatre from 12 February 2013 to 26 May 2013.[10]

Verkaik played the role of Donna in the Stuttgart production of Mamma Mia! for a limited run starting 26 July 2013,[11] before playing the role of Elphaba again. Beginning on 18 November 2013, she made her West End debut in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, London.[12] Due to health reasons, Verkaik had to depart early from the West End production of Wicked on 19 July 2014.[13]

She can be heard on Wicked's German-language cast recording, as well as Scott Alan's album What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up[14] and on the Scott Alan album LIVE, which was recorded at the Birdland jazz club in New York City on 30 April 2012. The CD was released on 26 June 2012.

Verkaik also provides the Dutch speaking and singing voice and the German singing voice of Elsa, the Snow Queen in Disney's 2013 animated movie Frozen (the German speaking voice was provided by Dina Kürten). She also performed the song "Let It Go" in English at the UK premiere of the movie.

It was announced on 24 October 2014 that Verkaik would be joining the cast of the musical, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown alongside Tasmin Greig, Ricardo Afonso, Hadyn Gwynne, Jérôme Pradon and Anna Skellern, in the role of Paulina.[15] The show's previews started on 16 December 2014 at the West End's Playhouse Theatre with an opening night on 12 January 2015. The show ran until 23 May 2015.This was Willemijn's first role after her surgery in 2014.

It was announced on 14 July 2015 that Verkaik would be returning to Stuttgart as Kala in Tarzan in August 2015, at the Stage Apollo Theater.[16]

On 14 September 2016, it was announced that Verkaik would return to her starring role of Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked beginning 30 January 2017 as part of the production's 10th anniversary celebrations.[17] She played her final performance on 22 July 2017 and was succeeded by Alice Fearn.[18] Verkaik confirmed in her speech at the end of her final performance that, after 10 years, it was her last ever performance as Elphaba.

On 10 September 2017 it was announced that Verkaik would star in Ghost - Das Musical in Berlin from 7 December, in the role of Molly.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Verkaik is multilingual, speaking Dutch, German and English. She is married to musician Bart van Hoof.[20]

Theatre work[edit]

Show Location Role Year
Elisabeth Netherlands Ensemble 2001
Jeans 11 Soliste 2001–2002
The Three Musketeers Ensemble 2003
We Will Rock You Germany Killer Queen u/s 2004–2005
Elisabeth Switzerland Elisabeth 2006
We Will Rock You Germany Killer Queen
Wicked Stuttgart Elphaba 2007–2010
Aida Germany Amneris 2009
Wicked Oberhausen Elphaba 2010–2011
Scheveningen, Netherlands 2011–2013
Broadway, New York 2013
Mamma Mia! Stuttgart Donna
Wicked West End, London Elphaba 2013–2014
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Paulina 2014–2015
Tarzan Germany Kala 2015–2016
Wicked West End, London Elphaba 2017
Ghost the Musical Germany Molly 2017–present

Performances[edit]

  • Pfingstgala (Tecklenburg, Openluchttheater, Whit Monday 2006, 2008 and 2014)
  • Concert with Mark Seibert (Stuttgart, Palladium Theater, 26 May 2008)
  • Dance Benefit Gala (Hamburg, TUI-Operettenhaus, 29 September 2008)
  • Benefit concert with Roberta Valentini (Oberhausen, Metronomtheatre 30 August 2010)
  • Simply the Music of Scott Alan (Londen, New Players Theatre, 26 September 2010)
  • Backstage with Philippe Ducloux (Essen, hall Lukas, 22 and 23 January 2011)
  • Concert with Scott Alan (Hamburger Kammerspiele, 20 June 2011)
  • Performance with Jason Robert Brown en Scott Alan (New York, Birdland, 22 August 2011)
  • Concert with Alex Melcher (Oberhausen, hall Ebertbad, 31 March 2012)
  • Concert with Scott Alan and Friends (New York, Birdland, 30 April 2012)
  • As I Am (Scheveningen, Circustheater, 26 June 2012)
  • Concert with Patrick Stanke (Hamburg, Stage Club, 10 August 2012)
  • Concert with Scott Alan (Amsterdam, M-Lab, 5 November 2012)
  • Exclusevening with Willemijn (Utrecht, Boerderij Mereveld, 20 November 2012)
  • Concert series Musical & Xmas (Thun - Bern, Switzerland, 12 - 16 December 2012)
  • Concert with Scott Alan (Londen, O2 Arena, 4 August 2013)
  • Wow, Here Comes The Girls (Dunstable, The Grove Theatre, 27 April 2014)
  • Musicals in Concert (Amsterdam, Ziggo Dome, 15 en 16 November 2014)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar in Concert - Maria (Amsterdam, DeLaMar Theater, 16 March 2015)
  • Soloconcert (Amsterdam, DeLaMar Theater, 31 mei 2015 en 31 October 2015)
  • Soloconcert (Londen, Ambassadors Theatre, 25 August 2015)
  • Soloconcert (New York, 54 Below, 27 en 28 August 2015)
  • Musicals in Concert (Amsterdam, Ziggo Dome, 13 en 14 November 2015)
  • From Broadway to Breda (Breda, Chassé theater, 15 November 2015)
  • Bevrijdingsfestival (Amsterdam, Amstel, 5 May 2018)

Discography[edit]

Cast recordings[edit]

  • Jeans 11 (Jeanscompany, 2001)
  • Eternity (Orkest Kon. Luchtmacht, 2003)
  • Drie Musketiers (Three Musketeers) (Joop van den Ende Theaterproducties, 2003) - a dvd was also released
  • Wicked, German cast recording (Stage Entertainment Germany, 2007)
  • Frozen, Dutch cast recording (Walt Disney Records, 2014)
  • Olaf's Frozen Adventure (Walt Disney Records, 2017)

Other recordings[edit]

  • Musical Gala Ludwigsburg (2008)
  • Best of Musical Gala 2010, Promo cd from Stage Entertainment Germany (2009)
  • Musicalballads Unplugged - with Mark Seibert (2010)
  • Superstars des Musicals - collection of 3 cd's (2010)
  • Scott Alan: What I Wanna Be when I Grow up (2012)
  • Scott Alan: Live - double cd recorded in Birdland (2012)

Other[edit]

  • Verkaik sang in 2004 the role of Erica, for the Barbie-cartoon Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper that was released on cd in 2004 and released on dvd in 2007.
  • One 29 June 2012 she appeared once with the other cast from Wicked in the soap Goede tijden, slechte tijden. She portrayed the role of Elphaba.
  • In 2013 she voiced the character Elsa in the dutch version of Frozen. She also voiced the songs for the German version.
  • It was announced that in July 2014 Verkaik was forced to stop with the London production of Wicked because of a back injury.
  • *In 2015 she again voiced the character Elsa in the short-film Frozen Fever.

Awards[edit]

  • In 2008 and 2010 Verkaik was elected best actress by the readers of the German musicalmagazine Da Capo because of her portayal of Elphaba in the German production of Wicked.
  • In 2009 she was elected best actress by the readers of the German musicalmagazine Da Capo because of her portrayal of Amneris in the German production of Aïda. In 2009 and 2010 she won the won the audience prize from the german magazine Musicals for best musical actress.
  • In 2010 Verkaik won the voting, organised by the site BroadwayisWicked.com where people could vote for the best Elphaba that played in a production of Wicked from over the whole world.[21] She got 49,9% of a total of 16705 cast votes.
    • On 9 January 2012 it was announced that Verkaik again, in a voting organised by the site above, was titled Wicked Personality of the Year 2011.[22] She got 55% of a total of 590.000 cast votes.
    • In May 2012 Verkaik won the Musicalworld Award for "best female lead in a big musical" for the portrayal of Elphaba in the Dutch production of Wicked.

    References[edit]

    1. ^ http://feastcreative.com, Feast Creative. "Wicked The Musical". www.wickedthemusical.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
    2. ^ a b c "Willemijn Verkaik maakt debuut in New York", Musical Reports, 2 August 2011 (in Dutch)
    3. ^ a b "Willemijn Verkaik and Mark Seibert", Zibb[dead link]
    4. ^ "Diva Talk: A Chat with Dutch Actress Willemijn Verkaik, Star of Broadway's Wicked", Playbill
    5. ^ "Willemijn: alweer Nederlandse Elisabeth", Musical Site Archived May 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
    6. ^ http://broadwayiswicked.com/2010/11/11/willemijn-verkaik-favourite-elphaba/ Archived November 22, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
    7. ^ "Dutch obtains in leading German musical", Nieuws[dead link]
    8. ^ "Verkaik and Schere to Star in Germany's Wicked", Playbill
    9. ^ "Willemijn Verkaik ist die grüne Hexe von 'Ozerhausen'", staff writer, City News, 5 December 2009 (in German)
    10. ^ Andrew Gans. "Willemijn Verkaik Flies Into Broadway's Wicked Feb. 12". Playbill. 
    11. ^ http://www.stage-entertainment.de/musicals-shows/mamma-mia-stuttgart/news/willemijn-verkaik-bei-mamma-mia.html
    12. ^ BWW News Desk. "Willemijn Verkaik Confirmed As London's New Elphaba In WICKED From November!". Broadway World. 
    13. ^ BWW News Desk. "Kerry Ellis to Return to West End's WICKED; Willemijn Verkaik Will Play Final Performance this Saturday". 
    14. ^ Genevieve Rafter Keddy. "Photo Coverage: The Songs of Scott Alan at Barnes & Noble". BroadwayWorld.com. 
    15. ^ BWW News Desk. "Wicked's Willemijn Verkaik and More Join Tamsin Greig in West End's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown". BroadwayWorld.com. 
    16. ^ Joe Gambino. "Former Broadway Elphaba Willemijn Verkaik Joins the German Cast of Disney's Tarzan". Playbill. 
    17. ^ BWW News Desk. "Willemijn Verkaik Returns to Wicked this January!". Broadway World. 
    18. ^ Ben Hewis. "New cast announced for Wicked". Whats on Stage. 
    19. ^ "Willemijn Verkaik plays the lead in musical Ghost in Berlin". nu.nl. 
    20. ^ Bruce Glikas. "Bart van Hoof and wife Willemijn Verkaik pose at the stagedoor as..." Getty Images. 
    21. ^ Willemijn Verkaik Favourite Elphaba
    22. ^ Willemijn Verkaik is Wicked personality of the year 2011

    External links[edit]