We spoke to Wicked UK’s Standby Elphaba, Laura Pick to see what life as a standby is really like…
TTH: For people that don’t know the difference between an understudy/standby, can you explain?
Laura: An understudy normally has a role within the ensemble. But a standby, especially in this instance is there purely to cover one role and doesn’t have an ensemble track.
TTH: Can you remember your first show as Elphaba? Were you really nervous or buzzing with adrenaline?
Laura: I remember it well, as it was the night before I was supposed to make my debut. I was nervous, especially in the beginning, but as soon as I settled in to it I was just concentrating on what I was doing.
TTH: What do you do pre-show to warm up/get ready?
Laura: I like to get in a bit early and do a proper thorough warm up myself before getting green and heading for company warm up. I always like to have a nice warm herbal tea, and a good steam with my Dr Nelsons inhaler.
TTH: Is it harder to stay motivated when you’re not in the show every day? Personally I don’t think so, I try to keep busy, and I keep the show ticking over all the time in case I’m on unexpectedly. I just really love my job, so motivation isn’t really an issue.
TTH: What was the standby audition process like?
Laura: Very similar to most audition processes. Intense at time, but pretty standard. Song of your own choice for the first round and from that point on you get material from the show, the further you get the more material you are given to perform.
TTH: You’ve recently just completed your first 8 show week at Wicked, how did you find it?
Laura: Since I’m not used to doing it all the time I cleared my calendar and tried to get as much rest as possible in preparation (I’m so glad I did, because I needed it) but that allowed to me to enjoy every second in the evening. I loved getting to perform all week. I mean, who wouldn’t love being Elphaba every day?
TTH: Do you have a favourite moment/song from the show?
Oooh, I don’t think I do you know. Or there are too many to name…
TTH: Do you feel the pressure when you’re on with different people that you may not have previously had time to rehearse with? or do you like the challenge?
Laura: I don’t feel the pressure no, it’s refreshing going on with new people, because it keeps you on your toes.
TTH: Do you have any advice for somebody wanting to enter the same industry as you?
Laura: Don’t give up, work hard, and if you really want it, keep at it. I almost threw the towel in a few times, but you have to persevere. If you would have told me this time last year you that I would be Standby Elphaba in Wicked I would have laughed.
You can catch Laura in Wicked by checking out the holiday dates here: https://www.wickedthemusical.co.uk/london/about/cast-creative