Had you seen any of the other Wicked productions (excluding London) prior to accepting your role?
Sadly not. I first saw it during auditions but was first introduced to the show by friends when I worked on the 'Aurora' cruise ship. We had a Wicked medley in one of our shows and I got to sing 'As Long As You're Mine'.
Once you knew you got a part in Wicked, what were your first reactions when you watched the London production?
Amazing! So colourful, so bright, so interesting. I just hoped I could look as good as Tim Walton (whom I replaced) did when I saw it.
Have you read Maguire's novel, Wicked - The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and if so, what did you think?
Yes. I read it during auditions. I found the first fifty pages really hard work, but after that it was really interesting. Of course, in many ways it's completely different and I'm not sure which I prefer: the show or the book? - Probably bits of both.
What is your favourite scene?
Probably the 'Witch-Hunters' scene - so dark.
What is your favourite song?
That's a hard one. 'No Good Deed' is great. 'For Good' is lovely, and Elphaba gets some great solos. Probably 'For Good'. Although, I do love Nessarose's bit at the start of Act II called 'Wicked Witch of the East'.
What is your favourite costume?
Certainly my Oz outfit. It's amazing! If a bit heavy. But the costumes for 'One Short Day' almost seem to have a life of their own. You put them on and they just dictate to you how to act.
Who is your favourite character?
My own favourite character? Or in the whole show? well, I think Dillamond is a lovely man... goat... man-goat!? The Ozian Official is quite quirky. But in the entire show I think it'd be Elphaba - what a gal!
What has been the best thing about joining the London cast?
Everyone (without exception) is lovely.
How long was your rehearsal period?
How do you go about rehearsing/learning your swing roles, since you are learning several different roles at once?
I've got a book for each of my covers, and maps of the stage, but to be honest you just have to keep going through each role in your head and on stage (when it's free!?)
Have you started your understudy rehearsal yet?
Yes. As a swing I'm in all the time anyway.
What is it like to be a swing?
Weird. I've never experienced it before. It's hard work but I know I will always be interested and engaged.
What key skills do you think you need to be a swing?
Patience. Composure. Sure bloody-mindedness!
What advice have any of the 'old' cast members passed on to you?
Sadly I've not really spent much time with them all.
How many ensemble tracks do you have to cover?
I have 3 first covers, 3 second covers, 3 third covers and I cover Dr Dillamond... So pretty much everyone. Although hopefully I'll not need to worry about my 2nd and 3rd covers for a while yet!
Who are you covering?
My main covers are:
Dave Stoller (1st Official)
John Hicks (Avaric)
I'm classified as a singer-swing so I cover the singer/actor roles in the ensemble.
What is the hardest thing about keeping all those tracks separate?
They're all so bloody different!!!
Do you still have warm-up with everyone else?
How much warning do you get about if/who you are covering? i.e. Day before, when you get there, etc.
Holidays are booked in advance, but if it's due to illness I could only find out by about lunchtime. Also, people can go off during the show!? God forbid!!!
Have you named any of your characters yet? If so, what?
Not yet, but it's early days
Do you get to be any random 'extra' characters, like a flathead or monkey, even when you are not on covering people?
When not on I am always the middle flathead... that's the really tall one.
What was your reaction when you first saw Kerry greenified, up close and personal?
She makes green look good!
What has been the best bit since starting at Wicked so far?
I think the first time on as Dillamond. Exciting!
What do you hope to achieve at Wicked over the next year?
Work hard. Enjoy the company. Add to the show.
The majority of the principle characters are as 'wicked' or more so than 'the Wicked Witch'. In your opinion, who is the wickedest person in the show and why?
Madame Morrible. Without doubt. She's just run by greed and power. Plus in the book she's just evil. In the show we don't see her vulnerable side, so she's just a murdering, bossy, power-hungry, WICKED person.
If you had to be stranded on a desert island with one of the characters from Wicked, who would it be and why?
Elphaba. She's courageous, principled, intelligent enough to hold a conversation with and I think her levitation spell (or broomstick) would come in handy getting us back to dry land!
Since we have been asking you all the questions, what question(s) would you like to ask the fans?
I think I'm more of a listener than a talker - can't think of any off-hand.
Is there anything further you wish to add?
no thanks. Enjoy the shows x
EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr Oakley very
kindly agreed to answer the above questions for us here
at WickedUK.co.uk. We would therefore like to take this
opportunity to thank Mr Oakley for his time and effort
that made the above interview possible.