Wicked Broadway

Meet Mary Kate Morrissey and Alexandra Socha, Wicked‘s Newest Witches

After a highly publicized and exciting year for Wicked, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on Broadway, the global phenomenon has welcomed two new leading witches to the Gershwin Theatre.

Donning Elphaba’s iconic green makeup is Mary Kate Morrissey, whose history with Wicked runs deep. She began her journey on the road, joining the show’s national tour in 2015 as the Elphaba standby, before taking on the role full-time in 2017. After a break from the musical, playing Janis on the Mean Girls national tour, she returned to Wicked as the Elphaba standby in 2023, this time on Broadway. Later that year, she received the news that she’d be leading the Broadway company, officially starring as Elphaba.

Mary Kate Morrissey in Wicked. Photo by Joan Marcus.
Mary Kate Morrissey in Wicked. Photo by Joan Marcus.

She tells Broadway Direct, “My agents called me last December and they were like, ‘Do you want to be green every day?’ And I just didn’t say anything. And they were like, ‘You’re on speakerphone with the whole office!’ I was like, ‘Yes! Of course I do!’”

The path to Broadway for Morrissey was a long one, and landing the coveted role of Elphaba felt earned. “I had been working for so long to get to this point and I felt ready to step into it and lead the company. It just felt right. This is what I’ve worked for, and now it’s mine.”

Joining Morrissey is Alexandra Socha as the bubbly Glinda. Socha, who audiences may recognize from her most recent Broadway turn in Head Over Heels, first fell in love with Wicked back in 2004, when she saw the original Broadway cast.

“I caught them both [Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth]. It was right before Kristin left. My dad bought us tickets and I hyperventilated during ‘Defying Gravity.’” She mentions that she once again hyperventilated during the Act One finale at the duo’s first performance last month, watching Morrissey fly.

Alexandra Socha in Wicked. Photo by Joan Marcus.
Alexandra Socha in Wicked. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Consistently working in theater since her 2007 Broadway debut in Spring Awakening, Socha says auditioning for Wicked was never on her radar. “When you start with something like Spring Awakening, which is more serious and edgy, people don’t always see you in a more classic musical theater sense.”

When the opportunity to audition for Wicked came along last year, she was thrilled. “The audition for this was the first time I’d ever even auditioned for it in all my years in New York, which is kind of crazy. I don’t know why it had never happened before, and I don’t know why it happened now; that’s really rare.” It was a quiet dream come true for the actress.

Socha also has a familial connection with Wicked, as her husband and fellow Broadway actor, Etai Benson, has played the role of Boq in the long-running production. In addition to helping with her audition, Socha says he gave her important advice: “‘You’re never going to be better than Wicked,’” she recalls him saying. “‘Wicked is just good. And it’s been running for 20 years because it works. It just works. You’re not going to improve upon it or reinvent it or change it, so you just need to trust it and tell the story.’ It was the best advice I could have ever gotten because it just took so much pressure off.”

Going into this role, what Morrissey anticipated most was finding out who’d be the Glinda to her Elphaba. “You never know what you’re going to get in your witch pairing. I’ve done it with so many different Glindas,” she says. Socha notes she believes she’s the 15th Glinda to perform opposite Morrissey.

The relationship between Elphaba and Glinda has become integral to the musical’s success, which Morrissey and Socha both recognize deeply in their own relationship off stage, one that began a decade ago when working on a developing project at the now-ended Sundance Theatre Program. “We hadn’t seen each other in 10 years or something, and I was just so excited because I felt like the universe had just aligned us together in this moment,” says Morrissey.

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“She is the person I’m supposed to be doing this with every single day,” Morrissey adds. “We’re both so dedicated to the story and being earnest with the characters and not trying to prove that we have this riff or whatever it is. It’s more important that the friendship shines in the story, and I think that that being important to us shows through our show.”

“For people, and especially women, to see two women up there who have wonderful things about them and deep flaws and love each other in spite of both of those things is really important,” adds Socha. “Sometimes we get very into this strong-woman archetype and nothing is wrong with them. And that’s just not human.” For them, the humanity displayed in the fantastical Oz is what keeps audiences returning to the Gershwin Theatre 20 years in.

“If you can cheer for a green person, you can cheer for someone who doesn’t look like you, who doesn’t have the same beliefs as you, and you can empathize with another human being,” Morrissey says. “Hopefully that’s another part of the mirror to humanity that we’re showing on stage.”

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