SOUTHAMPTON is once again spellbound, as the sensational West End and Broadway phenomenon Wicked is back in the city now until Saturday 27 October.

The cast is headed by Amy Ross (Kinky Boots, Sunny Afternoon) as Elphaba who told the Daily Echo more about her role...

How did you react when you found out you’d be taking on the role of Elphaba?

I didn't really believe it at first to be honest. My agent phoned me to tell me and it definitely took a few days for it to sink in. Then once it did I was firmly on cloud nine!

Elphaba has become such an iconic role; what about her attracted you to the part?

The thing I was most excited about was how incredible the journey is that Elphaba goes on. She is massively changed by the experiences she goes through and the characters she forms relationships with. The emotional arc is so huge that it's a gift for any actor to play. It goes without saying that Elphaba's songs are epic! Stephen Schwartz's score is incredible and singing those songs is so thrilling.

Why do you think she has become such an icon?

Audiences connect with Elphaba because of everything she stands for. She is incredibly passionate and cares so much about things being just. She always tries to help others and stays true to herself no matter what. I also think people can relate to Elphaba because she is an outsider. She is different and most people - at some point in their lives - have felt this way. She puts out the message that it's OK to be different and to never apologise for it.

How does Elphaba compare to different roles you’ve played in the past?

The roles I've played in the past have usually centred around a relationship or a romance, and falling in love with a man. It's been so wonderful to now play a role where the focus is a friendship between two strong – and very different – women.

How long does it take to get the green makeup off after a performance?

No longer than 10-15 minutes if you want to do a thorough job. After a matinee performance I might be less thorough as I know I have to ‘re-green’ for the evening show. But no matter how hard you think you have scrubbed, you will always find a bit of green paint behind your ear or in your hairline that you didn’t manage to get!

Do you have a favourite song from Wicked?

My favourite song is No Good Deed. Elphaba is in emotional turmoil at this point, so it's not only exciting to perform from an acting point of view, but also the orchestrations are so powerful and intense that it's a thrill to sing.

If you could give Elphaba any advice, what would you say to her?

I would tell her she's awesome and to continue to stay true to herself. But perhaps sometimes take a deep breath and count to ten before she speaks!