Monday, 6 September 2010

Article from the Derry Journal

Derry schoolgirl mixes with the stars of the West End

Derry schoolgirl Abby Davidson's greatest ambition is to take the lead role of the 'bad' witch Elpheba in the hit musical Wicked.

The eight year-old fell in love with the show when she first travelled to the West End with her mum and stepdad two years ago and has since returned three times to see the tale of what happened before the green witch from the Wizard of Oz turned bad.

Her latest trip however, saw her rubbing shoulders with the shows cast including her idol Rachel Tucker who is currently starring in the coveted lead role and she says it is an experience she will 'never forget'.

"I've seen the show four times. The first was three years ago when I went with my mammy and stepdad and I loved the songs.

"My auntie Lisa took me back last Christmas and we both loved the show so much that she promised to take me back this summer again. We bought the soundtrack and love singing the songs together!"

When the pair heard that Belfast born Rachel Tucker was taking on the role of Elpheba, they decided to try and arrange to meet her on their next trip.

"We knew Rachel from 'I'd Do Anything'," Abby said. Indeed the Belfast singer reached the final of the BBC talent show where she lost out to Jodie Prenger for the role of Nancy in the West End production of 'Oliver!'. However she has gone on to great things - with Wicked being one of the most popular shows currently running in the West End.
"My auntie Lisa suggested I write her a letter, so we did and I was really happy when she wrote back! She said when we were were over we were to come to the stage door and she would come out to see us."
Donning her ruby slippers, Abby arrived at the stage door of London's Apollo Theatre last Friday and got to talk to her idol while she was painted in the trademark green paint.

"We had bought her a pair of earrings earlier that day in Covent Garden so we gave them to her and she was really happy," Abby said.
As Abby and her auntie left to see the show, they bumped into another of their West End heroes Lee Mead, who is currently appearing as Fiyero in the show.

Lee Mead is perhaps best known for winning the role of 'Joseph' in the BBC talent show 'Any Dream Will Do'. He has also famously married the show's judge Denise Van Outen and the pair have recently become parents to baby Betsy.

"He was lovely. My auntie Lisa fancied him!" Abby said with a giggle.
Once the show was over, the Derry girls met with Rachel Tucker again who gave them a thank you card and said she was so proud of the people of Northern Ireland for being so supportive.

"I'd love to be in the show one day," Abby said. "And I'd love to play Elpheba. My favourite song is Defying Gravity."

Abby and her auntie Lisa are already planning their next trip and, according to Abby, seeing Wicked is top of their list again!

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