Forever Glinda: The actresses who played the ‘Wicked’ly funny good witch

Katie Rose Clarke as Glinda

Katie Rose Clarke as Glinda

Beloved Wicked star Katie Rose Clarke has returned to the Broadway stage to reprise the role of Glinda. As of April 23, she is once again making the Gershwin her home after having previously spent time as Broadway’s Glinda in 2010 and 2011. On May 28 she will be joined by a new costar, Lindsay Mendez, who will step into the role of Elphaba. After making her Broadway debut in The Light in the Piazza in 2005, Katie first played Glinda on Wicked’s national tour in 2007. The rest is history, and she has found herself donning that famous Ozian tiara in cities across the country.

Last month we shared a list of every talented diva who has played the role of Elphaba full-time on Broadway. At your request, here are all the ladies who have hit operatic high notes in bedazzled princess dresses as Glinda.

The beloved petite powerhouse Kristin Chenoweth originated the role of Glinda on Broadway when Wicked opened at the Gershwin in October 2003 and stayed in the role until July 2004. She was already a seasoned Broadway pro with a Tony Award under her belt by the time she took on Glinda, having performed in Steel Pier, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown and Epic Proportions. Since her days of traveling by bubble, Kristin has returned to Broadway in two other musicals (The Apple Tree and Promises Promises) and has expanded her onscreen repertoire with shows like The West Wing, Pushing Daisies and GCB.

Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda and Idina Menzel as Elphaba

Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda and Idina Menzel as Elphaba

Jennifer Laura Thompson (July 2004 to May 2005), a 2002 Tony nominee, was the first woman to step into Glinda’s shoes after Kristin’s departure. Prior to Wicked, she’d also been seen in Footloose and Urinetown, and after leaving the show she went on to perform in Lend Me A Tenor and Nice Work If You Can Get It. She also has a wide range of off-Broadway and national tour experience and has been seen on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Megan Hilty (May 2005 to May 2006) may be best known as the vibrant star of Smash, but she got her start in Wicked. She auditioned for the production before graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, and made her Broadway debut as a Glinda standby a few months later. After several months as a standby, Megan made her way into the limelight and took over the role of Glinda full-time, where she remained for a year. After leaving the Broadway production in May 2006, she reprised her role that September in the Wicked national tour. She also originated the role of Glinda in the Los Angeles production, and returned to close it later.  Before lighting up the television screen in Smash, Megan starred in the stage version of 9 to 5 as Doralee Rhodes (the role played by Dolly Parton in the original 1980 film).

Kate Reinders (May 2006 to January 2007) first began her days as Glinda in the Chicago production of Wicked in 2005 and was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for her performance. She transferred to the Broadway stage in May 2006, and Chicago co-star Ana Gasteyer joined her as Elphaba a few months later. She and Ana ended their Broadway run on the same night in January 2007. Kate has also been seen on Broadway in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Into the Woods, Gypsy and Good Vibrations.

Kendra Kassebaum as Glinda

Kendra Kassebaum as Glinda

Kendra Kassebaum (January 2007 to October 2007, May 2008 to November 2008) was the first actress to play Glinda in the Wicked national tour and her stellar performance earned her a nomination for a Helen Hayes Award. She left the tour in September 2006 and took the Broadway stage as Glinda in January 2007. She left the production in October of that year and returned to the Gershwin in May 2008. Kendra played Glinda once again in Wicked’s San Francisco production in early 2009 where she starred opposite both Teal Wicks and Eden Espinosa. She made her Broadway debut as a swing in Rent in 2000 and has also performed on the Great White Way in Assassins and Leap of Faith.

Annaleigh Ashford (October 2007 to May 2008) joined the cast of the Wicked national tour soon after graduating from college as an ensemble member and an understudy for Glinda. She toured with the show from December 2005 to September 2006. In October 2007, after originating the role of Margot in Legally Blonde, she moved uptown a few blocks from the Palace Theatre to the Gerswhin to play Glinda full-time in the Broadway production. She also went on to play the role in the Chicago production from June 2008 to January 2009. Annaleigh has also starred in Hair on Broadway and can currently be found at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in Kinky Boots. 

Alli Mauzey (November 2008 to August 2009, October 2012 to April 2013) started with Wicked as a Glinda standby from April 2007 to October of that year. In November 2008 she joined the cast once again, this time as the star. In the summer of 2010, she reprised her role in the San Francisco production. In 2012 she made her way to the Wicked national tour, also as Glinda. She then made her way back to Broadway one more time, where she has stayed until this spring. Alli has also been seen on Broadway in Hairspray and as Lenora in Cry-Baby.

Erin Mackey as Glinda

Erin Mackey as Glinda

Having begun in show business as Lindsay Lohan’s double on the set of The Parent TrapErin Mackey (August 2009 to January 2010) started as a swing on Wicked’s national tour as just a college freshman and went on to take on the role of Glinda full-time in three cities. After the tour, she joined the Chicago company as a Glinda understudy, and took on the lead role six months later. She stayed in the Chicago production until April 2008 and then headed to the Los Angeles production as Glinda from May to September of the same year. In August 2009, she made her Broadway debut in Wicked’s New York production, where she stayed until January 2010. Erin is married to fellow Wicked alum Stanton Nash, who played Boq in the Chicago production with her. Erin has gone on to perform on Broadway in Sondheim on Sondheim, Anything Goes and Chaplin.

Chandra Lee Schwartz (September 2011 to October 2012) joined the cast of Wicked in 2009 as Glinda on the show’s national tour, where she performed until April 2011. In September 2011 she took on the Gershwin’s flying bubble as Glinda on Broadway and stayed with the production until October 2012. She made her Broadway debut in Gypsy in 2003 and will play Annie in the upcoming stage adaptation of Sleepless in Seattle at the Pasadena Playhouse this spring.

Who’s your favorite Glinda? Let me know in the comments below!

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About Claire H.

Writer, performer, picture-taker, New Yorker. Find me on Twitter at @Claire_Hannum.
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One Response

  1. Kristin Chenoweth and Annaleigh Ashford. So sweet.