In advance of The Witches, a Cabaret, a benefit performance supporting Theatre Workshop of Nantucket, N Magazine linked up with the three wickedly talented witches themselves — Dee Roscioli (Elphaba on Broadway and first National Tour), Patti Murin (Glinda, first National Tour), and Jenna Leigh Green (Nessarose on Broadway and first National Tour). These Broadway bombshells will be on island for a special two-night-only show featuring the songs of Wicked and other Broadway favorites! See what they had to say before taking the island by (tornado) storm.
N MAGAZINE: How old were you when you first knew you wanted a career on the stage?
DEE ROSCIOLI: I was 12 years old and my parents signed me up for this non-profit called The Performers Studio. It was basically acting, singing, and dance classes twice a week. I was smitten and I knew then that I wanted a career in showbiz. My parents finally had something to bargain with — I unloaded the dishwasher without being asked! I mean, that’s power!
PATTI MURIN: I remember always wanting to perform, but it wasn’t until high school that I realized I could go to school for musical theatre and start auditioning when I graduated. I never had a backup plan or anything else I wanted to do, so that was it!
JENNA LEIGH GREEN: I was a bit of a shy child, being a twin I think I took on more of a secondary personality. That all changed when I was introduced to the stage. By the time I entered 8th grade, I was hooked! I don’t know that I ever had a moment where I realized that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life…I just started and never stopped!
N MAGAZINE: What actors or actresses did you grow up watching and wanting to emulate?
ROSCIOLI: I really liked Barbara Streisand, mostly her singing. I really didn’t get the whole acting thing at first, I took characters so seriously. I remember my parents trying to explain that Annie, the lil’ orphan, wasn’t a real girl and that it was just an actress playing a character. I suppose I looked up to Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart — I liked the classics.
MURIN: My Grandma Murin took me to see a lot of Broadway shows growing up, and she would constantly show me classic movie musicals with Shirley Temple and Judy Garland, and of course Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. When I was 10 or 11 years old and saw The Secret Garden on Broadway, and saw that there were kids my own age in it, I caught the acting bug.
GREEN: I don’t know that I had a lot of acting idols, but I was always fascinated by Audrey Hepburn. I watched everything, I was just enchanted with her style, grace and presence. It was definitely something I wanted to emulate.
N MAGAZINE: What was the first show you ever performed in professionally?
ROSCIOLI: Well, my first professional show was at a theme park during summer break in college! I performed in a country show. I lied and told them I yodeled…I’d never yodeled in my life…I mean, I learned…sort of.
MURIN: I played Polly in a production of Crazy For You at a non-Equity theatre in Florida, but my first Equity job was a show called Princesses at the Goodspeed Opera House, written and directed by David Zippel. I am still very close with a lot of those girls!
GREEN: I did a lot of really fantastic local theatre growing up, but my first real professional work was actually in television. Once I found the balance, I returned to the stage and one of my first professional stage credits was playing Dorothy in Wizard of Oz.
N MAGAZINE: What was the most demanding aspect of rehearsing for and performing Wicked?
ROSCIOLI: This is a question I could write a thesis on! If I had to narrow it down, I would say keeping it fresh. Remembering that it’s not about me or what I’m feeling that particular day. And let me tell you, anyone who has performed Elphie or Glinda 8 times a week knows the strain it puts on every part of you! But, like I said, remembering that it’s not about me — it’s about the people coming to have an experience at the theatre, and more specifically, the phenomenon of Wicked. It’s not even the fact that they paid to see it, it’s deeper than that. These audiences keep coming back to have an experience, and while the songs are awesome and the story is killer, if we, the cast, aren’t in it 100% they will leave thinking, “Oh wow, great show,” instead of having an experience that maybe words can’t quite communicate. That’s why we all love the theatre, that’s what people are waiting for. I don’t always succeed at making it like the first time every time, but believe me, that’s my goal 8 times a week!
MURIN: Glinda is just a very difficult role to play, because of the energy required, not to mention the fact that her vocal range literally spans every single note I can sing! So you’re on stage for almost 3 hours a show, and you spend the rest of that day and night making sure you sleep well, eat right, take your acid reflux medicine on time, all in the name of doing it again the next day! So while being incredibly rewarding, it is certainly pretty exhausting.
GREEN: The wheelchair. 100%. Ha! I wheeled around in those chairs for close to 3 years without a break and it really does a number on your body. You really need to take care of yourself physically and make sure to stretch it out before shows.
N MAGAZINE: Which do you enjoy more: opening night or closing night?
ROSCIOLI: Next question! Apples and oranges!
MURIN: Opening night! Because then the show takes on a life of its own, and you can really start finding and exploring your character in a much deeper way. Closing night is usually pretty sad.
GREEN: Opening night, for sure. The excitement of finally getting an audience in those seats and the rush of laying it all out there is unlike anything else. It’s why we do it! Closing night are almost always sad for me. You grow so close…to the people and the story. It’s always sad to see it end.
N MAGAZINE: If you could play any part in any musical theatre show, what would it be and why?
ROSCIOLI: I worked on a show in the fall at Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut called The Circus in Winter and the character I played was so deep and conflicted. I want so badly to keep exploring her…hopefully I will!
MURIN: If they ever make a Princess Bride musical, obviously Buttercup, with my husband Colin Donnell as Westley. Before we get too old!
GREEN: Les Miserables is my all-time favorite show and I’m still dying to do it. I’d also love a shot at Sally Bowles, as well as Louise in Gypsy.
N MAGAZINE: What is your favorite song to sing from any of the shows you’ve performed in?
ROSCIOLI: Funny you should ask! It’s from The Circus in Winter and it’s called “Never Alone,” written by Ben Clark who is about to blow up — he’s the real deal.
MURIN: I love to sing a song called “Daphne Dreams” from an off-Broadway musical I did last year at Playwrights Horizons called Fly By Night. It encompasses the drive, the ambition, the doubt, and the passion for being an actor. I also LOVED singing the opening of Act Two of Wicked, because Glinda goes through so many emotions there and really starts to become a woman as opposed to a girl.
GREEN: Hmm…interesting question. I would have to say “All Grown Up” from bare, the show that originally brought me to NYC. Being a part of that show from its origin was truly and amazing experience and that music became a part of me. It was a joy to sing it every night.
N MAGAZINE: What is your go-to karaoke song?
ROSCIOLI: I just recently decided I enjoy karaoke. I used to loathe it and I’m not being dramatic when I use that word, I really felt like that. After going to private room karaoke I found my inner karaoke-diva and further found out that “Rolling in the Deep” was my favorite song to sing. I also like “Tell it to my Heart” by Taylor Dayne, she’s fun to imitate. “Tell it tuuu ma hhhhhought!” (Like heart but hhhh…I mean, you get it.
MURIN: “Total Eclipse of the Heart”!
GREEN: Ha! I do love a great karaoke night from time to time. I would have to say “Uninvited” by Alanis Morissette. It’s a go-to for me!
N MAGAZINE: If you weren’t a Broadway actress, what do you think you would be doing now?
ROSCIOLI: That’s not a question I really know the answer to, but if it wasn’t dependent on any kind of skill-set, probably like a really cool scientist or explorer. But like I said, not dependent on any skill-set!
MURIN: I’ve been volunteering with an incredible animal rescue organization called In Our Hands Rescue, fostering cats and dogs and helping to find them loving homes. So I think I would find a full time job with a non-profit animal shelter or organization. It makes my heart happy.
GREEN: I will always be a performer, whether on stage or on camera, I love them both. But as far as a back-up or a plan B, I don’t have one!
N MAGAZINE: If you could give one piece of advice to young actors and actresses wanting to make it to Broadway, what would it be?
ROSCIOLI: Don’t focus on getting to Broadway to define your success. If you do, I promise once you get there you’ll just find something else to want, like an award or a TV show and so on. Just enjoy learning and experiencing and sharing your gifts!
MURIN: Get to know yourself, and learn to love yourself. Because it won’t matter if you can hit the highest notes in the world — if you don’t show who you truly are in an audition or in a song or scene, you’re keeping the most special parts of yourself from the people behind the table. And THAT is what gets you hired.
GREEN: Work hard. Study hard. Be gracious and listen. There is so much talent out there, in order to thrive you must want it more and never allow the pressures to wear you down.
N MAGAZINE: What is your favorite part of performing in the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket’s The Witches, a Cabaret?
ROSCIOLI: Well, jeez, I haven’t even arrived yet! But I know I will love it. I’m super excited to A) hang with my girls Jenna and Patti B) hit the beautiful beaches and explore the town C) perform for what I know will be an exceptionally warm and appreciative crowd.
MURIN: I’ve never been to Nantucket, so I’m excited to meet the theatre-loving public there! Also, Dee and Jenna are friends of mine, so it will be great to sing with them again.
GREEN: I’m looking forward to all of it! I’ve never been to Nantucket so I’m excited to spend a few days on the island with some fantastic ladies!
Purchase your tickets here!