The heat is making West End star Louise Dearman feel a little green. Every night, and twice a week for matinees, she has to undergo a Wicked transformation for Elphaba and she wished the witch could cast a spell to make it cooler.
But the former Linslade schoolgirl, who left Cedars with stars in her eyes, is prepared to stand the sky high temperatures because, over two stints lasting total of three years, she has played both lead roles in the world’s biggest musical.
Elphaba is head to toe green and wears heavy robes, in a story of rival witches that precedes The Wizard Of Oz.
“I can go away for a week’s holiday and still find my hair tinged green, and this heat has had us almost passing out backstage,” she told me this week.
But in November Louise, 34, gets on her broomstick and flies off after securing her place in history as the only actress to play both witches - Glinda and Elphaba - in Wicked.
The show gears up for a national tour (coming to Milton Keynes next February) but without the Linslade star.
For Louise is hitting the road with a concert tour andis becoming a radio presenter for a new digital station aimed solely at musical theatre.
Stage Door will be broadcast in the UK and America through computers, smartphones and tablets.
Its presenters are all West End performers and it’s hoped that fans will become involved by pledging cash through an innovative scheme called Indiegogo, and also be a part of the programming.
Said Louise: “I can talk for England and, as much as I love performing, I’ve always thought about moving behind the scenes a little more.
“I’ve had some experience at radio presenting and I knew one of the people behind Stage Door.
“When she asked if I would be interested I said absolutely yes.
“It’s a fantastic idea. You can pledge as little or as much as you like and there will be opportunities to get involved in the programmes.
“It will be a real community project produced by, and aimed at, musical theatre fans.
“I don’t know why someone hasn’t thought of it before.”
Louise took her first steps towards a stage career with dance lessons at three and, at 13 , was part of a children’s choir in Joseph at the London Palladium .
“My parents, Barbara and Robert, were incredibly supportive but my school warned me how difficult a stage career might me.
“As it was, I came out of drama school and two weeks later was rehearsing for a tour of Joseph.”
She’s since been the leading lady in smash hit shows like Evita, Guys and Dolls, Cats, Grease, Kiss Me Kate and more.
“I would love to do straight acting, possibly on TV. I’ve got a couple of things in the pipeline which are top secret at the moment.
“Being in Wicked has been amazing.
“Glinda is a bit of a girly girl, which isn’t really me, but Elphaba is such a tremendous character.
“The whole show rests on her shoulders so it’s been an incredible experience.”
Louise leaves Wicked on Nov 16.