Geen Grenzen Meer: an American musical's unlimited border crossing

Laura Emily MacDonald, Myrte Halman

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Abstract

Since its 2003 Broadway debut, Wicked’s international audiences have embraced productions of the musical in a variety of countries. Wicked has thus conquered the world with its ideological framework of American values, as much as with its story of friendship between two young women. In transcending national borders, Wicked becomes a transnational commodity. We interview Dutch actress Willemijn Verkaik, who discusses her multiple, multilingual and transnational performances as Elphaba in Wicked, and analyse Dutch–American relations and the Netherlands’ lasting role as cultural middleman, suggesting that Verkaik’s multinational Elphabas, constructed through a Dutch filter, make her a cultural diplomat, one consistent with the Netherlands’ larger role since the Pilgrims migrated there prior to crossing the Atlantic. The pilgrimages made by the actress, as well as by her international fan base, offer insight into Wicked’s powerful position in constructing identities and communities that may no longer be bound by borders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-216
JournalTheatre Research International
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2014

Keywords

  • Broadway
  • Musicals

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