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Nessarose Thropp

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Nessarose Thropp
Biographical information
Also Known As

Nessa
Nessie

Gender

Female

Hair color

Brown

Born

Munchkinland, raised in Quadling Country

Died

Munchkinland

Family

Melena (mother)
Frex (father)
Elphaba (sister)
Shell (brother)
Liir (nephew)

Relationships

Boq

Title(s)

Governor of Munckinland
Eminent Thropp
Wicked Witch of the East

Job

Witch, Governor of Munchkinland

Affiliation

Elphaba
Munchkins
Boq

Behind the scenes
First appearance

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (1995)

Last appearance

'Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (1995)

Portrayer

Michelle Federer(original Broadway cast)

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Nessarose Thropp is the name of the woman who becomes the Wicked Witch of the East in the 1995 book titled Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by author Gregory Maguire.

She is a main character in the novel and the very successful Broadway Musical of the same name, Wicked. Nessarose is the spoiled younger sister of Elphaba, aka the 'Wicked Witch of the West'. In both the play and the novel, Elphaba is considered a pale, tomboy second to her very beautiful and attractive but delicately handicapped sister, and is often expected to put Nessarose's needs before her own. In the novel, Nessarose and Elphaba have a younger brother named Shell who later becomes the Emporer of Oz after the Wizard of Oz leaves. In both the novel and the musical, she is called by the nickname Nessa, although in the book, she also goes by Nessie. During her rule of Munchkinland, she is dubbed "The Wicked Witch of the East", for her cruel ways and use of sorcery to control her subjects. In both the musical and the novel, Nessarose meets her demise when Dorothy Gale's farmhouse which was carried by a Kansas cyclone, unexpectedly lands in Oz and tragically crushes her to death. Thus, enabling Dorothy to become the new owner of her magic slippers.

Nessarose Thropp of OzEdit

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Nessa, in her beautiful enchanted Slippers!

In Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Nessarose is a very pious and religious character. She was born without arms, presumably because of the medicine her mother took to prevent another child with the same odd appearances as the green-skinned Elphaba. Despite her condition, she is a dainty and beautiful girl, and when attending Shiz University, she gains friends more easily than her sister.

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Amanda Rose as Nessarose

Nessa was raised in Quadling Country, and is constantly aided by Nanny because, without arms, she lacks proper balance. Nessarose, having extreme pious religious convictions (linking absolutely everything she sees to religion and morality), is often close-minded and vain, in following with Maguire's cynicism throughout the novel towards religion in general. Her religious dedication is so extreme as to cause even her father, the intensely jealous Frexspar, to worry that she may be "too devout". This causes Nessa to be slightly Narcissistic as she believes she can do no wrong. Also note, unlike in the musical version, Nessarose is not infatuated with Boq, the Munchkin boy, and lives a solitary life.

Nessarose & the Enchanted Glassblown SlippersEdit

When the disabled and pampered Nessarose joins Elphaba at Shiz she in a sense, steals Elphaba's spotlight. Elphaba secretly feels like she is at Shiz just to take care of her sister, thus forming even more feelings of resentment.

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Nessa's admires her beautiful enchanted Slippers!

A proud Frex eventually sends Nessarose a special present as his way of rewarding Nessarose for attending school. The gift is a very beautiful pair of slippers. These authentic shoes are made of many sparkling jewels, gems and handmade glass beads from the glassblower Turtle Heart. Each bead is painted delicately, and glossed over to give it shine, also giving the slippers a chameleon effect as they change color depending on the lighting. The shoes can appear to be ruby, blue or silver.

(Gregory Maguire combines elements from the 1939 film and paying homage to the 1900 book by Baum by making the slippers both ruby and silver and adds his own twist by making them blue at times.)

The pair are described as "striking" by everyone who sees them on Nessarose's feet. These slippers are later magically enchanted by Glinda to enable Nessarose to walk without assistance and protect her from harm. While Nessarose gets all the attention as she shows off the new shoes to everyone. In the novel, Elphaba sees the shoes as a lasting symbol of neglect and rejection from her father and from the world in general, as well as a sign of fear and later reverence from the citizens of Oz. It is Elphaba's quest to retrieve Nessarose's shoes from Dorothy that causes her demise, as she becomes obsessed with obtaining the objects that have always existed as a reminder to her unusual-ness.

Becoming the Wicked Witch of the EastEdit

When Nanny's assistance is called to replace Ama Clutch as Elphaba and Glinda's chaperone at university, Nessarose joins her, and thus begins her college education a year earlier than she had originally planned. Along with Elphaba and Glinda, Nessarose is chosen by Madame Morrible to be an Adept – a trained sorceress, with political authority over a particular area, in Nessa's cases the South, Quadling Country. Like the other two girls, she rejects the position, but, again like her fellows, she eventually finds herself ruling a province of Oz, albeit a different one than Madame Morrible had suggested. When Elphaba drops out of college without a word to her, Nessa is both devastated and furious, and harbors resentment toward her sister for a long time. Glinda mentions that she helped Nessa through the aftermath of Elphaba's departure, and that the two became quite close.
Wicked3

Michelle Federer and Sean McCourt in the Original Broadway Production

With Elphaba missing and presumed dead, Nessarose inherits her great-grandfather's title of "Eminent Thropp", despite being the "Thropp Fourth Descending" at birth; as the Eminence Thropp of the East, she makes Munchkinland it's own country. During her reign in Munchkinland, despite her religious conviction, Nessa allows more ancient practices to take place – including ritualistic sacrifice, rumored to even include those of humans and Animals. In addition, despite originally having been opposed to magic on religious grounds, her reign as Eminence finds her practicing sorcery (though she still claims to be a devout Unionist, referring to her spells as "miracles in the honor of the Unnamed God") which she learned in college at Shiz University.

Not all of her subjects are too afraid of her to ask for boons. However, one day a woman asks her to prevent her beautiful daughter from marrying a local woodsman by the name of 'Nick Chopper'. Nessarose cast a dark spell for the woman which enchants his handy axe so that it will attack him instead of the spot of the tree he plans to hit and cut down. Instead the axe slips and he chops off his own limbs one by one. Thus becoming the Tinman and losing his ability to love.

The story also reveals that Nessarose may be the child of Turtle Heart, the Quadling glassblower who resided with the Thropps. However, in A Lion Among Men, in the family trees it is confirmed that Frex is Nessa's father. Frex confesses as much to Elphaba after Nessarose's death, adding that he and his wife Melena loved Turtle Heart equally. The implications of that statement are, however, never fully developed. It is because of the questionable parentage of Nessarose that Frex loves her more than Elphaba, as if she had been conceived more of the love between the trio. Nessarose dies not knowing the debate over her parentage, or that her perhaps-father

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Roberta Valentini as Elphaba and Janine Tippl as Nessarose in the German Production

Turtle Heart was viciously sacrificed in a ritual similar to the ones she allowed her people to conduct. (It should be noted that Turtle Heart is a Quadling, and in L. Frank Baum's original novels, some Quadlings have no arms. This may be Maguire's way of affirming Nessarose's parentage for the readers without specifically stating it). Her death (which has been caused by another house landing on her own house) led several Ozians to come up with satirical slogans and witty catch phrases that strongly remind us of "There's no place like home." (Though not using the same words).

The matter of DorothyEdit

A little girl by the name of Dorothy Gale of Kansas has unexpectedly made it to Oz and is also accompanied by a mangy pet dog she calls "Toto". Both came to Oz aloft in a descending house of foreign design that had been swept up in a cyclone. The farmhouse falls out of the sky and ultimately crash lands in the heart of Munchkinland, and is dropped right on top of Nessarose, instantly killing her in the process. When Elphaba receives the news she arrives in Munchkinland and witnesses the tragic impact that the alien girl has left on the Munchkinlanders (who are secretly glad Nessarose is dead, but are all shooken up by the incident nonetheless.) Elphaba arrives days after Dorothy has came and left, and has even been given Nessa's shoes. Thus embarking on her own set of adventures that are told in the story of 'The Wizard of Oz'.

  • Jenna Leigh Green as Nessarose and Stephanie J. Block as Elphaba in the Original First National Tour Cast
  • Nicole Radesching as Nessarose and Stefan Stara as Boq in Act 2 of the German Production
  • Susan Hilferty's original sketch of Nessarose's Act 2 Costume
  • Natalie Anderson as Nessarose in the West End Production
  • Amanda Rose as Nessa
  • Elphie and Nessarose in the German Production
  • Michelle Federer as Nessa and Christopher Fitzgerald as Boq in the Original Broadway Production
  • Michelle Federer as Nessarose and Sean McCourt in the Original Broadway Production
  • Deedee Lynn Magno-Hall as Nessarose and Teal Wicks as Elphaba
  • Christiane de Brujn as Nessarose in the Dutch Production

In the MusicalEdit

When Nessa first appears, her father, Frex, gives her silver shoes to wear as a parting gift, while giving Elphaba nothing. Nessa, feeling guilty, tries to talk to her sister but is waved off. Madame Morrible, the headmistress of Shiz, has decided that since she is in a wheelchair and the favorite daughter of Governor Thropp,

it would be best for her to share Morrible's accommodations. No arrangements have been made for Elphaba, and Galinda accidentally offers to share her private suite. Elphaba is angry, as she has always looked after her sister. When Morrible tries to wheel Nessarose away, Elphaba uses her uncontrollable powers to bring her sister back to her. This impresses Morrible, who notes that Elphaba's talents may be of use to the Wizard of Oz; she promises to give Elphaba private sorcery lessons.

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Original Broadway Boq and Nessarose-Christopher Fitzgerald and Michelle Federer

Fiyero, a Winkie prince, arrives at Shiz and immediately impresses his own brand of cavalier, carefree living on the students, organizing a party at a local ballroom. Galinda convinces a Munchkin student named Boq to take Nessarose to the party, more to avoid unwanted attention from Boq than out of any desire to be kind. Nessa has a crush on Boq and is so overjoyed to be invited that she asks Elphaba if there is any way to repay what she perceives as Galinda's kindness. At the dance, Elphaba arrives wearing the hat Galinda had given her, only to be ridiculed and laughed at, embarrassing Nessa. Nevertheless, she defiantly proceeds to dance alone without any music. After the dance, Galinda and Elphaba talk in their room. Elphaba reveals that her father hates her because of her green skin and that he had forced her mother to eat milk flowers to ensure that Nessarose was not born the same. The milk flowers caused Nessa to be born early, crippling her, and their mother had died in childbirth.

At the train station, Galinda, Nessa, Boq, and Fiyero see Elphaba off to the Emerald City. After Galinda says Boq will keep Nessa company during Elphaba's absence, Boq, claiming he can't "do this anymore" storms off angrily. Galinda tells Nessa that Boq might not be right for her, to which she replies that it is her that is not right. Nessa exits the stage, creating a chance for the actors to perform One Short Day.

NessaBoq

Nessa as Governor of Munchkinland

Nessa isn't seen for a while afterwards, but finally reappears after Thank Goodnesss in Act II. Elphaba arrives at the governor's residence in Munchkinland seeking refuge, after being on the run for several years after defying the Wizard during her trip to the Emerald City, reluctantly trying to ask her father for help. But Nessa, now the governor of Munchkinland, harshly reveals that he died of shame due to Elphaba's actions at the Emerald City. Nessa refuses to help hide a fugitive, citing her status as an unelected official, and criticizes Elphaba for not using magic to help her overcome her disability. To assuage her feelings of guilt, Elphaba enchants Nessa's jeweled shoes, turning them from silver to ruby red and enabling her to walk. Boq, who is now Nessa's servant, is summoned and reveals that a ball is being held for Glinda and Fiyero's engagement and he must go tell that his heart lies with Glinda. Furious, Nessa casts a mispronounced spell from the Grimmerie, causing Boq's heart to shrink. While Elphaba attempts to save him, Nessa reflects on how her obsession with Boq has led her to oppress the Munchkin people. Elphaba saves Boq by turning him into the Tin Woodman – horrified, Nessa lays the blame on Elphaba, knowing that Elphaba is leaving not to free the Monkeys, but to find Fiyero.

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Nessa and Boq in the Helsinki production.

This is her last live appearance, as she is soon after crushed by Dorothy's flying house caused by a tornado whipped up by Madame Morrible and dies.

Book to Musical Differences Edit

Like many other characters in the Broadway adaptation of Wicked, Nessarose is portrayed very differently from the novel. She was originally played by Michelle Federer. In the musical, Nessarose is not chosen as a sorceress by Madame Morrible, and while the character of the musical does have arms, she is instead bound to a wheelchair. As in the novel, she is seen as beautiful, but the adaptation presents her as a more tragic character, attending Shiz University with Elphaba, who often embarrasses her in her attempts to "make a difference". In an effort to shoo away a persistent love-struck Munchkin named Boq so that her own relationship with Fiyero can develop, Galinda arranges a date between him and Nessarose. Thereafter, Boq unhappily becomes a point of love obsession for Nessarose, unlike in the novel, where she had little contact with Boq. Because her father was governor of Munchkinland, Nessarose takes control of the province following his death, and during her rule, she slowly becomes evil and tyrannical. She enslaves Boq, and in an attempt to use Elphaba's spells to punish him for professing his love for Glinda, accidentally causes his heart to disappear. As Elphaba begins to save Boq by turning him into the Tin Woodman, Nessarose declares herself 'The Wicked Witch of the East'.

Tour022202

Jenna Leigh Green and Stephanie J. Block as Nessarose and Elphaba in the Original First National Tour Company

As in the novel, Nessarose receives the magical slippers as a gift from her father, but they are enchanted by Elphaba, rather than Glinda, to give her the ability to walk. The musical does not refer to Turtle Heart or Shell, and thus it is implied that Nessarose was the legitimate child of Frex and Melena. The musical also shows that it was Madame Morrible who created the fateful cyclone, as a trap to draw Elphaba out of hiding.

It is also interesting to note that, in the novel, it is heavily hinted at that the Grimmerie comes from the other world (our world), and that Elphaba's ability to read only a portion of it is because of her half-human, half-Ozian birth. In contrast, in the musical, the Grimmerie is obviously a book from Oz (since it is stated that The Wizard cannot read it), though Elphaba is, once again, the only one who can read it (both Madame Morrible and Glinda admit that they either cannot or can only read very little). This would make Nessarose's ability to read it, albeit backwards, in the Wicked Witch of the East scene a bit incongruous.

SongsEdit

Solos (In A Group Number)Edit

Nessa-actii

Susan Hilferty's sketch of Nessa's Act 2 dress

OthersEdit

*Wicked Witch of the East is not on the Wicked Broadway Cast or any of the subsequent recordings. 

Trivia Edit

  • Nessarose's wheelchair changes from Act 1 to Act 2. 
  • Most understudies for Nessarose also understudy something else (i.e-Glinda, Elphaba, the Witch's Mother, etc)
  • Marcie Dodd is the only actress to play both Nessarose and Elphaba full time. 
  • Both Eden Espinosa and Shoshana Bean, when the standby for Elphaba on Broadway understudied Nessarose.

Portrayers Edit

Broadway ProductionEdit

Michael and Catherine

Michael Wartella and Catherine Charlebois as Boq and Nessarose

Broadway Understudies:Edit

  • Eden Espinosa (also standby for Elphaba)
  • Shoshana Bean (also standby for Elphaba)
  • Cristy Candler (also Witch's Mother)
  • Tiffany Haas
  • Stacie Morgain Lewis (also u/s Glinda)
  • Megan Sikora (also u/s Glinda)
  • Briana Yacavone (universal swing, also u/s Midwife) 
  • Robin Wilner
  • Amanda Rose
  • Lori Ann Ferreri
  • Katie Webber (also Witch's Mother)
  • Catherine Charlebois (universal swing)
  • Jenny Florkowski
  • Alicia L. Albright (Current-also Dance Captain, u/s Midwife, Swing)
  • Tess Ferrell (universal swing, also u/s Midwife) 
  • Emily Ferranti (Current-also u/s Midwife)

1st National TourEdit

  • Jenna Leigh Green (2005-2006; also u/s Elphaba)
  • Jennifer Waldman (2006)
  • Deedee Magno Hall (2006-2008)
  • Kristine Reese (2008-2009)
  • Amanda Rose (2009)
  • Brynn O'Malley (2009-2010)
  • Michelle London (2010)
  • Stefanie Brown (2010-2011)
  • Cristy Candler (2011)
  • Emily Ferranti (2011-2012; also temp. u/s Glinda)
  • Demaree Hill (2012-2013)
  • Jaime Rosenstein (2013-2014)
  • Jenny Florkowski (Current)

1st National Tour Understudies:Edit

  • Maria Eberline (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Laura Dysarczyk
  • Lori Holmes (also Witch's Mother)
  • Erin Davie
  • Chelsea Krombach
  • Marcie Dodd (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Ashley Fox Linton
  • Stefanie Brown (also u/s Glinda)
  • Kristine Reese
  • Lesley McKinnell
  • Emily Ferranti (also u/s Glinda)
  • Catherine Charlebois (universal swing)
  • Carla Stickler (also u/s Elphaba, standby for Elphaba)
  • Brenda Jean Hamilton (Current-Swing)
  • Courtney Iventosch (also Witch's Mother)
  • Tess Ferrell (universal swing)
  • Jenny Florkowski
  • Laurel Harris 
  • Shayla Beck (Current-also u/s Elphaba) 

Chicago ProductionEdit

  • Heidi Kettenring (2005-2007, 2008-2009)
  • Summer Naomi Smart (2007-2008)

Chicago UnderstudiesEdit

  • Sara Jean Ford (also u/s Glinda)
  • Jacqui Graziano
  • Jennifer DiNoia (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Megan Sikora (also u/s Glinda)
  • Kate Loprest (also u/s Glinda)
  • Betsy Struxness

West End (London) ProductionEdit

  • Katie Rowley Jones (2006-2008; 2012-Present - also u/s Elphaba)
  • Caroline Keiff (2008 - 2009; also u/s Glinda)
  • Natalie Anderson (2009-2010)
  • Cassandra Compton (2010-2011)
  • Stevie Tate Bauer (2010; Temp. - also u/s Elphaba)
  • Zoe Rainey (2011; also u/s Glinda)
  • Lillie Flynn (2011-2012)

West End UnderstudiesEdit

  • Caroline Keiff (also u/s Glinda)
  • Cassidy Janson (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Sarah Earnshaw (also u/s Glinda)
  • Kady-Jo Jackson
  • Emily Tierney
  • Lauren James-Ray
  • Stevie Tate-Bauer (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Gemma Atkins (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Charlotte Scott (also u/s Glinda)
  • Florence Andrews (also u/s Glinda)
  • Michelle Francis (also u/s Glinda)
  • Lauren James (also u/s Glinda)

Los Angeles ProductionEdit

Los Angeles UnderstudiesEdit

  • Natalie Daradich (also u/s Glinda, standby for Glinda)
  • Laura Dysarczyk
  • Marcie Dodd (also standby for Elphaba)

Stuttgart ProductionEdit

  • Nicole Radeschnig (2007-2009)
  • Janine Tippl (2009-2010)

Stuttgart UnderstudiesEdit

  • Lanie Sumalinog
  • Maike Switzer
  • Barbara Schmid

Melbourne ProductionEdit

  • Penny McNamee (2008-2009)

Melbourne UnderstudiesEdit

  • Christina Tan
  • Suzanne Steele

San Francisco ProductionEdit

  • Deedee Magno Hall (2009-2010)

San Francisco UnderstudiesEdit

  • Natalie Daradich (also standby for Glinda)
  • Laura Dysarczyk
  • Besty Struxness
  • Catherine Charlebois (universal swing)
  • Neka Zang (also Witch's Mother)

2nd National TourEdit

  • Kristine Reese (2009-2010)
    Emily&justin

    Emily Ferranti (Nessarose) and Justin Brill (Boq) on the First National Tour

  • Michelle London (2010, Temp - also u/s Glinda; 2010-2011)
  • Emily Ferranti (2011)
  • Catherine Charlebois (2012)
  • Zarah Mahler (2012-2013)
  • Jenny Fellner (temporary 2013) 
  • Emily Behny (2013-2014; 2014-current)
  • Catherine Charlebois (temporary 2014)

2nd National TourUnderstudiesEdit

  • Michelle London (also u/s Glinda)
  • Jacqui Graziano
  • Lesley McKinnell (also u/s Glinda)
  • Tiffany Haas (also u/s Glinda)
  • Lauren Haughton (Current)
  • Laurel Harris (also u/s Elphaba)
    Tiffany Haas as Nessarose

    Tiffany Haas as the u/s for Nessarose

  • Catherine Charlebois (universal swing)
  • Lisa Livesay (also u/s Glinda)
  • Anna Eilinsfeld (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Jillian Kates (also u/s Glinda)
  • Tess Ferrell (universal swing)
  • Kelly D. Felthous (Current-also u/s Glinda)
  • Beka Burnham (upcoming; also Glinda u/s)

Tokyo (2013)Edit

  • Hoshiro Sakaya

UK/Ireland TourEdit

  • Carina Gillespie (also u/s Glinda)

UK/Ireland Tour UnderstudiesEdit

  • Natasha Ferguson (1st cover)
  • Zoë George (2nd cover; also u/s Elphaba)

Australasian Tour (Auckland, Manila, Melbourne)Edit

  • Emily Cascarino

​Australasian Tour UnderstudiesEdit

  • Emma Hawthorne
  • Rachel Cole

Mexico CityEdit

  • Marisol Meneses

Seoul, South KoreaEdit

  • Lee Yea Eun

Sydney ProductionEdit

  • Penny McNamee (2009-2010)
  • Elisa Colla (2010)

Sydney UnderstudiesEdit

  • Christina Tan
  • Suzanne Steele
  • Ellen Simpson
  • Gretel Scarlett

Oberhausen ProductionEdit

  • Janine Tippl (2010-2011)

Oberhausen UnderstudiesEdit

  • Lanie Sumalinog
  • Janna Yngwe
  • Theano Makariou

Australian TourEdit

  • Elisa Colla

Australian Tour UnderstudiesEdit

  • Suzanne Steele
  • Gretel Scarlett

Scheveningen ProductionEdit

  • Christanne de Bruijn (2011-2013)

Scheveningen UndersudyEdit

  • Myrthe Maljers (2011-2013)

Helsinki City Theatre ProductionEdit

  • Vuokko Hovatta (2010-2011)

Helsinki UnderstudiesEdit

  • Tiina Peltonen

Copenhagen, Denmark ProductionEdit

  • Anais Lueken (2011)

Asian TourEdit

  • Ellisa Colla

Asian Tour UnderstudiesEdit

  • Gretel Scarlett (also u/s Elphaba)
  • Stephanie Morrison

Mexico City Edit

  • Marisol Meneses (Original) 

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