Suspended 52 feet in the air, Carrie St. Louis ’08 nervously waited in the dark for her first performance of “Wicked” to begin. As she described in an interview with The Phillipian, St. Louis played the role as the good witch, Glinda, for the first time in 2014 in Norfolk, Va., as part of the national tour cast. In the opening act, St. Louis descends on a mechanical structure emulating a bubble while wearing a 40-pound dress and holding a Swarovski crystal wand.
“My hands were sweating and I was like ‘Oh my God! I can’t turn back now! I gotta do it now!’ I think when I focus on how excited I am to be able to have the opportunity to do this and I get to do this as my job I sort of forget about the nerves. I just had so much fun. It’s just such a blast,” said St. Louis in an interview with The Phillipian.
St. Louis took the role of Glinda in the Broadway production of “Wicked” this February after being transferred from the national tour. The musical tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West, named Elphaba, and Glinda, the Good Witch in “The Wizard of Oz.” The story begins with the pair arriving at Oz University and follows the development of the pair’s friendship. The musical goes on to explain how Glinda becomes the Good Witch and Elphaba the Wicked Witch, before ending with the melting of Elphaba.
“Playing Glinda in ‘Wicked’ is definitely a dream. I mean for the past ten years I’ve always said ‘Oh, I just would really love to play Glinda’ and now I’m playing Glinda on Broadway so it’s kinda crazy! Kind of the ultimate dream,” said St. Louis.
To land the role of Glinda, St. Louis underwent a five-round audition process. During the auditions she participated in workshops with the casting director, music director, and the composer of the musical, Stephen Schwartz. St. Louis was also given a ticket to watch “Wicked” on Broadway to better understand the musical.
“I think ‘Wicked’ is so incredible and… It has lasted so long because… it’s such detailed work that goes into every part of the process and [the production team] don’t let anything just slide. I’m grateful that they put me through it,” said St. Louis.
St. Louis has been acting since she was seven, performing in various community theater shows in her hometown of Palm Desert, Calif.
“It’s second nature to me now, and I just love performing for people and I love making people smile and I love affecting people’s lives in the way that they can come and they can forget about everything that’s going on in their lives and just enjoy the experience and I get to tell them a story. It’s kind of a crazy way of life,” said St. Louis.
When she arrived at Andover as a new Lower, St. Louis began to focus more on theater and music. She joined The Fidelio Society and Azure and traveled into Boston every weekend to study with a voice teacher. She also performed in Andover productions such as the musicals “Violet” and “Urinetown,” and the play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
“There [are] so many theater opportunities [at Andover]. They’ve got 24 hour plays or the big musical or all the different plays that go on throughout the year so I never had a limit as to how much I could be doing on top of courses or school work,” said St. Louis.
Despite her success, St. Louis acknowledges the challenges in a theatrical career.
“I think [theater is] a lot more work than I realized. It’s a lot of work in terms of soul searching. You have to be really confident in yourself because you’ll hear a lot of ‘nos.’ It’s high highs and low lows in terms of the business. So you have to be very confident and you have to love what you do. But at the same time it is so worth it in the end. The payoff is so great that all the work that you put in, in the end will be worth it. So just gotta keep pushing,” said St. Louis.