Willemijn Verkaik

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Willemijn Verkaik

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Willemijn Verkaik
Willemijn Verkaik.png

Verkaik, 2012
Background information
Born (1975-06-16) June 16, 1975 (age 42)
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 she can be heard on the German cast recording of Wicked. She is the longest running Elphaba, having played the role over 2,000 times, and is the only person who has played the role in three different languages.[1]

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 November 1, 2007, prior to a November 15 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 November 6, 2011, after previews from October 26. This required her to learn the role in her native language. The run ended on January 11, 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 February 12, 2013, to May 26, 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 April 30, 2012. The CD was released on June 26 of 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. The show’s previews started on 16 December 2014 with an opening night on 12 January 2015. The show ran until 23 May 2015.[15] 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 ongoing 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 will star in Ghost – Das Musical in Berlin from 7th 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 Country 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
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 Stuttgart Kala 2015–2016
Wicked West End, London Elphaba 2017
Actress (1 credit)
 2012 Goede tijden, slechte tijden (TV Series)
Elphaba

Aflevering 4520 (2012) … Elphaba
Hide Hide Show Show Self (4 credits)
 2014 The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic (TV Movie documentary)
Herself
 2013 The Broadway.com Show (TV Series)
Herself

Episode #1.13 (2013) … Herself
 2012 Ik hou van Holland (TV Series)
Herself – Candidate

Episode #9.5 (2012) … Herself – Candidate
 2005 Nationaal songfestival (TV Movie)
Herself
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