Willemijn was born in Son en Breugel in the Netherlands, but grew up in Nuenen near Eindhoven. She graduated from the Rotterdam Conservatory, where she was coached by Laura de Bekker. Willemijn started playing with bands, but decided to do musicals. She started in the company of the Original Dutch Productions of Elisabeth and De Drie Musketiers. After her Dutch beginning she starred in the German productions of Elisabeth, We Will Rock You and Wicked.
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, Verkaik recorded the Dutch voice of Lydia in Barbie and the Diamond Castle. In 2013, Willemijn recorded the Dutch voice and German singing voice of Elsa in Disney's Frozen, another role originated by Idina Menzel. Willemijn sings the Dutch and German versions of the Academy Award winning single 'Let It Go' from the film.
Work on "Wicked"
Verkaik made her Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz debut as Elphaba on October 31st, 2007, when the show premiered in Stuttgart, Germany. She starred alongside Lucy Scherer as Glinda. Verkaik departed the role on January 6, 2010, to star in the Best of Musical Tour. Her alternate Roberta Valentini took over the role until the closing of the production. She opened the new production in Oberhausen, Germany on March 9, 2010. She again left the show on February 27, 2011, and was replaced once again by Roberta Valentini, who had re-assumed her role as Verkaik's Alternate, the German version of a Standby. She is featured on the Original German Cast Recording. On November 6, 2011, Verkaik returned to the role of Elphaba in the Dutch production of Wicked in Scheveningen, alongside Chantal Janzen as Glinda and Jim Bakkum as Fiyero with Renee van Wegberg as the Alternate Elphaba. On June 21st she played her 1,000th performance as Elphaba. The Dutch production of Wicked closed on January 11th, 2013 with Yvonne Coldeweijer aka "Keet!" in the role of Glinda.
On January 8th, 2012, Willemijn was named Wicked Personality of 2011 by voters on Broadwayiswicked.com.
On December 17th, 2012, Verkaik announced she'll replace Jackie Burns as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked. On February 12th, 2013 she began performances on Broadway with Alli Mauzey as Glinda and Donna Vivino as her Standby. Verkaik finished her run on May 26th, 2013 with Katie Rose Clarke as Glinda. She was replaced by Lindsay Mendez.
On June 3rd, 2013, just eight days after she left the Broadway company of Wicked, it was announced that Verkaik would be replacing Louise Dearman as Elphaba in the West End production on November 18th, 2013.
It was announced on June 30th, 2014, that Willemijn would be leaving her fifth production of Wicked on October 25th, 2014. She was due to be replaced by Nikki Davis-Jones on October 27th, 2014.
However, due to a back injury from which Willemijn had been suffering, it was announced on July 14th, 2014 that Verkaik would be departing prematurely from the West End production that weekend on July 19th, 2014. At the end of her evening performance on July 19th, 2014, Willemijn was congratulated officially for her tremendous 7 year journey across 4 countries, in three languages by her fellow cast member, Savannah Stevenson. She was presented with a bouquet of flowers by the London cast and made a speech to the audience of how grateful she was to the audiences and crew of the US, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. Stevenson then had the London audience give three cheers for Willemijn, as a "proper British sendoff" from her committed, multi-lingual 7 years in Wicked. In September 2016 it was announced that Willemijn will return to Wicked from the 30 January 2017, to the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London.
Other Theatre Work
|Jeans 11 (Netherlands)||Soliste||2001||2002|
|3 Musketeers (Netherlands)||Ensemble||2003||2003|
|We Will Rock You (Germany)||Understudy||2004||2005|
|We Will Rock You (Germany)||Killer Queen||2006||2006|
|Wicked (Stuttgart, Germany)||Elphaba||2007||2010|
|Wicked (Oberhausen, Germany)||Elphaba||2010||2011|
|Wicked (Scheveningen, Netherlands)||Elphaba||2011||2013|
|Wicked (Broadway, New York)||Elphaba||2013||2013|
|Mamma Mia (Stuttgart)||Donna||2013||2013|
Wicked (West End, London)
|Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (West End, London)||Paulina||December 2014||May 2015|
|Tarzan the Musical (Stuttgart)||Kala||August 2015||May
|Wicked (West End, London)||Elphaba||30 January 2017||22 July 2017|
|Ghost das Musical (Berlin, Germany)||Molly||December 2017||now|
|Best Actress||Elphaba||German Musicals Magazine - Da Capo||2008|
|Best Actress||Amneris||German Musicals Magazine - Da Capo||2009|
|Audience Award for Best Actress||Elphaba||German Musicals Magazine - Musicals||2009|
|Best Actress||Elphaba||German Musicals Magazine - Da Capo||2010|
|Audience Award for Best Actress||Elphaba||German Musicals Magazine - Musicals||2010|
|Best Elphaba in the World||Elphaba||broadwayiswicked.com||2010|
|Wicked Personality of 2011||Elphaba||broadwayiswicked.com||2012|
|Best Female Lead||Elphaba||Musicalworld Awards||2012|
|Best West End Début||Elphaba||West End Frame Awards||2014|