Getting Green: Behind the Scenes of Elphaba’s Transformation

We’re getting ready for the upcoming run of Wicked at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, a show that we’ve had several times since its inception in 2003!  

Every time Wicked comes through the Center, we are met with sold-out shows, amazing fans, and audiences begging for the tour to come back to Costa Mesa soon. We’re so excited to have Wicked in our 2021-22 Broadway Series, and in anticipation for its run from February 9–March 6, we’re taking a trip back to when Dee Roscioli played Elphaba at the Center! In 2013—waaaay prior to the pandemic—we got to send our photographer backstage to go behind-the-scenes of getting green with Roscioli in our Segerstrom Hall dressing rooms.

Here’s what we were able to capture!

Wicked: Elphaba’s Transformation


Wicked: Elphaba’s Transformation

Fun fact: the green body paint doesn’t solely stay on the face – because of all the costumes Elphaba wears and the skin that may be visible in them, Elphaba’s green paint also goes down the neck, chest, and hands! No matter which way she moves onstage, the illusion of green skin is not ruined by a stark line that the audience could see where the body paint stops.

Wicked: Elphaba’s Transformation


Wicked: Elphaba’s Transformation

And through several layers of paint, the green color begins to blend out and create even coverage across Roscioli’s face. This is the base layer that goes across her entire face and creates the foundation, blended everywhere including around her nose and in her ears. Most Elphabas claim that while the paint does come off relatively easily, they always seem to find remnants of green hidden somewhere, even when they’ve completely washed their face off.

But the makeup doesn’t just stop with green skin! Just like any other performer onstage, there’s eye makeup, contour, and lipstick that accentuate Roscioli’s features and make them more prominent and visible to audiences, even up in the balcony! After filling in black eyebrows, completing the eyeshadow and eyeliner look, applying shimmery green lipstick, and highlighting or contouring with lighter or darker shades of green, getting ready in the makeup chair is nearly complete.

Wicked: Elphaba’s Transformation

With her natural hair secured back in pincurls under her wig cap, Roscioli gets her mic and lace front wig on. Because of the natural-looking hairline of the wigs in WICKED, the green makeup blends effortlessly into the front of the wig to create a seamless transition from forehead to hair.

Wicked: Elphaba’s Transformation

For Elphaba’s first scene in the show, she is seen in a blue dress and blazer with a matching crocheted hat. To finish the look before the top of the show, the hat is secured in place on the wig.

And here’s the final look! Since the green body paint doesn’t go all the way up the arms, Roscioli and any other performers playing Elphaba wear a sheer, longsleeve green undershirt that gives the illusion of green arms. You can see the barely-visible sleeve in this photo looped around Roscioli’s thumb.

Dressed and ready, the transition to Elphaba is complete and it’s time for places!

We’re so excited to see Talia Suskauer as Elphaba when WICKED comes to the Center for four weeks, plus we can’t wait for you to see this greenified look in person!

(And thanks to Dee for showing us the magic of getting green back in 2013! 😀 )

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