Wicked part for a veteran villain

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Maggie Kirkpatrick looks forward to being bizarrely glamorous as hit show travels to Auckland.

Actress Maggie Kirkpatrick, who plays Madame Morrible in the musical Wicked, says her character is has more depth than some villains she's played.  Photo / Supplied
Actress Maggie Kirkpatrick, who plays Madame Morrible in the musical Wicked, says her character is has more depth than some villains she's played. Photo / Supplied

Australian actress Maggie Kirkpatrick is looking forward to showing off some of her wicked side to Kiwi audiences.

The 72-year-old has been cast in the role of evil headmistress Madame Morrible in the Broadway musical Wicked, coming to Auckland in September.

Probably best known for her role as a sadistic prisoner officer on the Australian television series Prisoner, she agreed that nothing was more fun than playing the villain.

Speaking to the Herald from her Sydney home, she said: "Both characters are quite manipulative. It's nice to be kind of bizarrely glamorous - I think that's how I'd describe Madame Morrible."

"In the past mostly I've played kind of society ladies - one dimensional. Whereas old Madame Morrible, she's got a beginning, a middle and an end. It's a nice challenge every night to keep it fresh, interesting and to surprise the audience."

Kirkpatrick is also known for her appearances on All Saints, Water Rats and Blue Heelers.

Years ago she did some work in Auckland, where she appeared in children's television series Betty's Bunch.

Over the years she had developed a routine before going on stage.

"I do a warm-up to air the pipes and get it ready for the audience. In the past I've swallowed royal jelly, a glass of port ... can't go past a glass of port," she laughed.

"I'm not all that fussed though. I just keep my pipes warm. I've found the best way to do that is gently humming - not all that screeching that people do," she said.

"A warm drink and just get on and do it."

This year celebrates 10 years of production for Wicked.

New Auckland shows have been announced and tickets will go on sale today.

The part of Wizard will be played by Kiwi actor Jay Laga'aia, who is looking forward to being on stage at the Civic Theatre.

"I've always come as a popcorn-eating, ice-cream-slurping theatre-going person. I've never been there as part of the theatre," he said.

"For me, it's going to be an excitement to work there - I've always wondered what was behind those lions with the glowing eyes."

Laga'aia, who grew up in Mangere, has lived in Sydney for about 18 years.

He said he was excited to be returning home to play such a great role.

"For me, it's always an honour to step into a role that's been played by such iconic actors."

Wicked

What: The untold story of the Witches of Oz.
When: From September 17 to October.
Where: The Civic Theatre, Auckland.

www.wickedthemusical.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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