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Nessarose, also known as the Wicked Witch of the East, is the spoiled younger sister of Elphaba and a minor antagonist in the Broadway musical, Wicked.

Biography

When Nessa first appears, her father, gives her silver shoes to wear as a parting gift, while giving Elphaba nothing. Nessa, feeling guilty, tries to talk to her sister but is waved off. Madame Morrible, the headmistress of Shiz, has decided that since she is in a wheelchair and the favorite daughter of Governor of Munchkinland.

it would be best for her to share Morrible's accommodations. No arrangements have been made for Elphaba, and Galinda accidentally offers to share her private suite. Elphaba is angry, as she has always looked after her sister. When Morrible tries to wheel Nessarose away, Elphaba uses her uncontrollable powers to bring her sister back to her. This impresses Morrible, who notes that Elphaba's talents may be of use to the Wizard of Oz; she promises to give Elphaba private sorcery lessons.

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Original Broadway Boq and Nessarose-Christopher Fitzgerald and Michelle Federer

Fiyero, a Winkie prince, arrives at Shiz and immediately impresses his own brand of cavalier, carefree living on the students, organizing a party at a local ballroom. Galinda convinces a Munchkin student named Boq to take Nessarose to the party, more to avoid unwanted attention from Boq than out of any desire to be kind. Nessa has a crush on Boq and is so overjoyed to be invited that she asks Elphaba if there is any way to repay what she perceives as Galinda's kindness. Boq has no affection for Nessarose, and when he tries to tell Nessarose what happened, he ends up telling her how much he loves her because she predicts that he did it feeling sorry for her. At the dance, Elphaba arrives wearing the hat Galinda had given her, only to be ridiculed and laughed at, embarrassing Nessa. Nevertheless, Elphaba defiantly proceeds to dance alone without any music. After the dance, Galinda and Elphaba talk in their room. Elphaba reveals that her father hates her because of her green skin and that he had forced her mother to eat milk flowers to ensure that Nessarose was not born the same. The milk flowers caused Nessa to be born early, crippling her, and their mother had died in childbirth.

At the train station, Galinda, Nessa, Boq, and Fiyero see Elphaba off to the Emerald City. After Galinda says Boq will keep Nessa company during Elphaba's absence, Boq, claiming he can't "do this anymore" storms off angrily. Galinda tells Nessa that Boq might not be right for her, to which she replies that it is her that is not right. Nessa exits the stage, creating a chance for the actors to perform One Short Day.

NessaBoq

Nessa as Governor of Munchkinland

Nessa isn't seen for a while afterwards, but finally reappears after Thank Goodness in Act II. Elphaba arrives at the governor's residence in Munchkinland seeking refuge, after being on the run for several years after defying the Wizard during her trip to the Emerald City, reluctantly trying to ask her father for help. But Nessa, now the governor of Munchkinland, harshly reveals that he died of shame due to Elphaba's actions at the Emerald City. Nessa refuses to help hide a fugitive, citing her status as an unelected official, and criticizes Elphaba for not using magic to help her overcome her disability. To assuage her feelings of guilt, Elphaba enchants Nessa's jeweled shoes, turning them from silver to ruby red and enabling her to walk. Boq, who is now Nessa's servant, is summoned and reveals that a ball is being held for Glinda and Fiyero's engagement and he must go tell that his heart lies with Glinda. Furious, Nessa casts a mispronounced spell from the Grimmerie, causing Boq's heart to shrink. While Elphaba attempts to save him, Nessa reflects on how her obsession with Boq has led her to oppress the Munchkin people. Elphaba saves Boq by turning him into the Tin Woodman – horrified, Nessa lays the blame on Elphaba, knowing that Elphaba is leaving not to free the Monkeys, but to find Fiyero.

This is her last live appearance, as she is soon after crushed by Dorothy's flying house caused by a tornado whipped up by Madame Morrible and dies.

Book to Musical Differences

Like many other characters in the Broadway adaptation of Wicked, Nessarose is portrayed very differently from the novel. She was originally played by Michelle Federer. In the musical, Nessarose is not chosen as a sorceress by Madame Morrible, and while the character of the musical does have arms, she is instead bound to a wheelchair. As in the novel, she is seen as beautiful, but the adaptation presents her as a more tragic character, attending Shiz University with Elphaba, who often embarrasses her in her attempts to "make a difference". In an effort to shoo away a persistent love-struck Munchkin named Boq so that her own relationship with Fiyero can develop, Galinda arranges a date between him and Nessarose. Thereafter, Boq unhappily becomes a point of love obsession for Nessarose, unlike in the novel, where she had little contact with Boq. Because her father was governor of Munchkinland, Nessarose takes control of the province following his death, and during her rule, she slowly becomes evil and tyrannical. She enslaves Boq, and in an attempt to use Elphaba's spells to punish him for professing his love for Glinda, accidentally causes his heart to disappear. As Elphaba begins to save Boq by turning him into the Tin Woodman, Nessarose declares herself 'The Wicked Witch of the East'.

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Jenna Leigh Green and Stephanie J. Block as Nessarose and Elphaba in the Original First National Tour Company

As in the novel, Nessarose receives the magical slippers as a gift from her father, but they are enchanted by Elphaba, rather than Glinda, to give her the ability to walk. The musical does not refer to Turtle Heart or Shell, and thus it is implied that Nessarose was the legitimate child of Frex and Melena. The musical also shows that it was Madame Morrible who created the fateful cyclone, as a trap to draw Elphaba out of hiding.

It is also interesting to note that, in the novel, it is heavily hinted at that the Grimmerie comes from the other world (our world), and that Elphaba's ability to read only a portion of it is because of her half-human, half-Ozian birth. In contrast, in the musical, the Grimmerie is obviously a book from Oz (since it is stated that The Wizard cannot read it), though Elphaba is, once again, the only one who can read it (both Madame Morrible and Glinda admit that they either cannot or can only read very little). This would make Nessarose's ability to read it, albeit backwards, in the Wicked Witch of the East scene a bit incongruous.

Songs

Solos (In A Group Number)

Nessa-actii

Susan Hilferty's sketch of Nessa's Act 2 dress

Others

*Wicked Witch of the East is not on the Wicked Broadway Cast or any of the subsequent recordings.

Trivia

  • Nessarose's wheelchair changes from Act 1 to Act 2.
  • Most understudies for Nessarose also understudy something else (i.e-Glinda, Elphaba, the Witch's Mother, etc)
  • Marcie Dodd is the only actress to play both Nessarose and Elphaba full time.
  • Both Eden Espinosa and Shoshana Bean, when the standby for Elphaba on Broadway, understudied Nessarose.
  • The spell Elphaba uses to make Nessarose walk is Ambulahn Dare Pahto Pahpoot Ambulahn Dasca Caldapess Lahfenahto Lahfenahtum Pede Pede Caldapess (repeated).
  • The wheelchair Nessarose has with her when she arrives at Shiz is actually being remote controlled by someone offstage. She is the one moving it until the person with the remote flips the switch turning on the remote. This particular feature is used when Elphaba is moving the wheelchair around. After this scene, she switches to a different wheelchair for the rest of act one.
  • In the 1900 book, the witches of the west and east are not sisters or blood related.

Portrayers

Kristin Martin

Kristin Martin, Nessarose

Broadway Production

  • Michelle Federer (2003-2006, 2009-2010)
  • Cristy Candler (2006, 2007-2008, 2009)
  • Jenna Leigh Green (2006)
  • Brynn O'Malley (2008-2009)
  • Jenny Fellner (2010-2011)
  • Cristy Candler (temporary 2011)
  • Jenny Fellner (2011-2012)
  • Catherine Charlebois (2012-2014, temporary 2015)
  • Kelli Barrett (2014-2015)
  • Arielle Jacobs (2015)
  • Dawn E. Cantwell (2016-2017)
  • Kristen Martin (2017-2018; 2018-2019)
  • Jenny Florkowski (2018)
  • Gizel Jiménez (2019-Current)

Broadway Understudies:

  • Eden Espinosa (also standby for Elphaba)
  • Shoshana Bean (also standby for Elphaba)
  • Cristy Candler (also Witch's Mother)
  • Tiffany Haas
  • Stacie Morgain Lewis (also u/s Glinda)
  • Megan Sikora (also u/s Glinda)
  • Briana Yacavone (universal swing, also u/s Midwife)
  • Robin Wilner
  • Amanda Rose
  • Lori Ann Ferreri
  • Katie Webber (also Witch's Mother)
  • Catherine Charlebois (universal swing)
  • Jenny Florkowski
  • Alicia L. Albright (Current-also Dance Captain, u/s Midwife, u/s Witch's Mother, Swing)
  • Tess Ferrell (universal swing, also u/s Midwife-Current)
  • Emily Ferranti (also u/s Glinda)
  • Brenda Jean Hamilton
  • Desi Oakley (also u/s Midwife, Swing)
  • Hannah Shankman (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Courtney Iventosh (Current)

1st National Tour

  • Jenna Leigh Green (2005-2006; also u/s Elphaba)
  • Jennifer Waldman (2006)
  • Deedee Magno Hall (2006-2008)
  • Kristine Reese (2008-2009)
  • Amanda Rose (2009)
  • Brynn O'Malley (2009-2010)
  • Michelle London (2010)
  • Stefanie Brown (2010-2011)
  • Cristy Candler (2011)
  • Emily Ferranti (2011-2012; also temp. u/s Glinda)
  • Demaree Hill (2012-2013)
  • Jaime Rosenstein (2013-2014)
  • Jenny Florkowski (2014-2015)
Emily&justin

Emily Ferranti (Nessarose) and Justin Brill (Boq) on the First National Tour

1st National Tour Understudies

  • Maria Eberline (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Laura Dysarczyk
  • Lori Holmes (also Witch's Mother)
  • Erin Davie
  • Chelsea Krombach
  • Marcie Dodd (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Ashley Fox Linton
  • Stefanie Brown (also u/s Glinda)
  • Kristine Reese
  • Lesley McKinnell
  • Emily Ferranti (also u/s Glinda)
  • Catherine Charlebois (universal swing)
  • Carla Stickler (also u/s Elphaba, standby for Elphaba)
  • Brenda Jean Hamilton (Current-Swing)
  • Courtney Iventosch (also Witch's Mother)
  • Tess Ferrell (universal swing)
  • Jenny Florkowski
  • Laurel Harris
  • Shayla Beck (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Cassie Okenka (Current-also u/s Glinda)

Chicago Production

  • Heidi Kettenring (2005-2007, 2008-2009)
  • Summer Naomi Smart (2007-2008)

Chicago Understudies

  • Sara Jean Ford (also u/s Glinda)
  • Jacqui Graziano
  • Jennifer DiNoia (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Megan Sikora (also u/s Glinda)
  • Kate Loprest (also u/s Glinda)
  • Betsy Struxness

West End (London) Production

  • Katie Rowley Jones (2006-2008, also u/s Elphaba; 2012-2017)
  • Caroline Keiff (2008 - 2009; also u/s Glinda)
  • Natalie Anderson (2009-2010)
  • Cassandra Compton (2010-2011)
  • Stevie Tate Bauer (2010; Temp. - also u/s Elphaba)
  • Zoe Rainey (2011; also u/s Glinda)
  • Lillie Flynn (2011-2012)
  • Sarah McNicholas (2017-2018)
  • Rosa O'Reilly (2017; Temp., 2018-2019, also u/s Glinda)
  • Carina Gillespie (2019-present, also u/s Glinda)
  • Natasha Ferguson (2019-present; Maternity cover, also u/s Glinda)

West End Understudies

  • Caroline Keiff (also u/s Glinda)
  • Cassidy Janson (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Sarah Earnshaw (also u/s Glinda)
  • Kady-Jo Jackson
  • Emily Tierney
  • Lauren James-Ray
  • Stevie Tate-Bauer (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Gemma Atkins (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Charlotte Scott (also u/s Glinda)
  • Florence Andrews (also u/s Glinda)
  • Michelle Francis (also u/s Glinda)
  • Lauren James (also u/s Glinda)
  • Natalie McQueen (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Rosa O'Reilly (also u/s Glinda) (temporary lead; covering Sarah McNicholas' injury leave)
  • Aimee Fisher (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Maggie Lynne (Current)
  • Rebecca Gilliland (also u/s Elphaba; Current)

Los Angeles Production

Los Angeles Understudies

  • Natalie Daradich (also u/s Glinda, standby for Glinda)
  • Laura Dysarczyk
  • Marcie Dodd (also standby for Elphaba)

Stuttgart Production

  • Nicole Radeschnig (2007-2009)
  • Janine Tippl (2009-2010)

Stuttgart Understudies

  • Lanie Sumalinog
  • Maike Switzer
  • Barbara Schmid

Melbourne Production

  • Penny McNamee (2008-2009)

Melbourne Understudies

  • Christina Tan
  • Suzanne Steele

San Francisco Production

  • Deedee Magno Hall (2009-2010)

San Francisco Understudies

  • Natalie Daradich (also standby for Glinda)
  • Laura Dysarczyk
  • Besty Struxness
  • Catherine Charlebois (universal swing)
  • Neka Zang (also Witch's Mother)

2nd National Tour

  • Kristine Reese (2009-2010)
  • Michelle London (temporary 2010, also u/s Glinda; 2010-2011)
  • Emily Ferranti (2011)
  • Catherine Charlebois (2012)
  • Zarah Mahler (2012-2013)
  • Jenny Fellner (temporary 2013)
  • Emily Behny (2013-2014)
  • Catherine Charlebois (temporary 2014)
  • Liana Hunt (2015)
  • Megan Masako Haley (2015-2016)
  • Kristen Martin (2016-2017)
  • Jenny Florkowski (2017)
  • Catherine Charlebois (2017 - 2018)
  • Mili Diaz (2018-2019)
  • Amanda Fallon Smith (2019-current)
Tiffany Haas as Nessarose

Tiffany Haas as the u/s for Nessarose

2nd National Tour Understudies

  • Michelle London (also u/s Glinda)
  • Jacqui Graziano
  • Lesley McKinnell (also u/s Glinda)
  • Tiffany Haas (also u/s Glinda)
  • Lauren Haughton (also Swing)
  • Laurel Harris (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Catherine Charlebois (universal swing)
  • Lisa Livesay (also u/s Glinda)
  • Anna Eilinsfeld (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Lillian Kates (also u/s Glinda)
  • Tess Ferrell (universal swing)
  • Kelly D. Felthous (also u/s Glinda)
  • Beka Burnham (Current-also Glinda u/s)
  • Michaela Martinez (Current/Swing)

Tokyo (2013)

  • Hoshiro Sakaya

UK/Ireland Tour

  • Carina Gillespie (also u/s Glinda)

UK/Ireland Tour Understudies

  • Natasha Ferguson (1st cover)
  • Zoë George (2nd cover; also u/s Elphaba)

Australasian Tour (Auckland, Manila, Melbourne)

  • Emily Cascarino

​Australasian Tour Understudies

  • Emma Hawthorne
  • Rachel Cole

Mexico City

  • Marisol Meneses

Seoul, South Korea

  • Lee Yea Eun

Sydney Production

  • Penny McNamee (2009-2010)
  • Elisa Colla (2010)

Sydney Understudies

  • Christina Tan
  • Suzanne Steele
  • Ellen Simpson
  • Gretel Scarlett

Oberhausen Production

  • Janine Tippl (2010-2011)

Oberhausen Understudies

  • Lanie Sumalinog
  • Janna Yngwe
  • Theano Makariou

Australian Tour

  • Elisa Colla

Australian Tour Understudies

  • Suzanne Steele
  • Gretel Scarlett

Scheveningen Production

  • Christanne de Bruijn (2011-2013)

Scheveningen Undersudy

  • Myrthe Maljers (2011-2013)

Helsinki City Theatre Production

  • Vuokko Hovatta (2010-2011)

Helsinki Understudies

  • Tiina Peltonen

Copenhagen Production

  • Anais Lueken (2011)

Asian Tour

  • Ellisa Colla

Asian Tour Understudies

  • Gretel Scarlett (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Stephanie Morrison

Brazilian Production

  • Giovanna Moreira
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