Broadway's First Asian American Elphaba Lands Role After First Audition for Wicked 15 Years Ago

Alyssa Fox to assume the role of Elphaba in ‘Wicked’
Alyssa Fox to assume the role of Elphaba in ‘Wicked’

Joan Marcus

There'll soon be a new witch in town on Broadway, and she's setting records!

After a stint as the Elphaba standby in the Broadway company of Wicked, Alyssa Fox will assume the role full-time beginning March 7. This accomplishment is more than just a personal milestone: Fox marks the first Asian American to play the role of Elphaba full-time on Broadway.

Fox announced the news on social media Friday, explaining that her triumphant moment was a long time coming — 15 years, to be exact.

"I was living in OKC struggling to stay afloat, working at the mall with major student debt and itching to start my career," she explained in a lengthy post on Instagram. "Checking for auditions in NYC every day, I came across an open call for Wicked. This was it for me — I had never been to NYC before, but spent almost all the money in my bank account to fly up with zero clue what I was doing."

After waiting "on my chance to audition for one of the most popular Broadway shows," Fox explained that she sang several bars of "Astonishing" from the musical Little Women (originally performed by Sutton Foster) at the crowded cattle call. "My great adventure had begun."

Alyssa Fox to assume the role of Elphaba in ‘Wicked’
Alyssa Fox to assume the role of Elphaba in ‘Wicked’

courtesy polk & Co.

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Following "a year and a half of flying back and forth for callbacks," Fox received the news that she would be joining the San Francisco cast as the Elphaba understudy.

"I had $18 in my bank account and didn't know if I could afford to eat that weekend," she recalled. "Within two days I packed up my life to move to SF...I spent the year in the SF cast ensemble, green in EVERY way."

After netting two appearances on stage in San Francisco, Fox moved back to New York City and attempted to keep afloat for two years.

"It wasn't the end," she noted. "In 2012 I joined the National Tour as the Elphaba standby for 2.5 years, then on to playing lead for a year across the US and Canada. This is where I grew into something new. The passion was still there, and I had never been so happy (and exhausted!), now with experience under my belt. After that contract, I was fortunate enough to join the Broadway cast, making my Broadway debut as the Elphaba standby."

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Fox — who said she's "really good at being a standby" — also worked in that capacity for Broadway's Frozen, understudying the role of Elsa, but eventually in 2021 returned to Wicked once again to back up Elphaba.

From there, she said, "I had to push. I had climbed this ladder all the way so close to the top. I wanted to be lead with every fiber of my being."

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And now? "I am stepping into the light. I will reap what I have sown," she proudly noted.

Her groundbreaking accomplishment for the Asian American theater community was marked as well, with the hashtag #Mixed and the notation of "A child of both worlds."

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Fox will succeed current cast member Talia Suskauer, who plays her final performance at the Gershwin Theatre on March 5.

Wicked debuted on Broadway in October 2003 with Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth and Joel Grey as the original Elphaba, Glinda and the Wizard, respectively. The show went on to win three Tony Awards and even a Grammy Award.