Act One of the Tony Award-winning Broadway smash Wicked ends as Elphaba – the Wicked Witch of the West played by Jessica Vosk ‘07 – sings, “It’s time to trust my instincts/Close my eyes and leap.”
A leap of faith is precisely what landed Vosk her starring role as Elphaba in Broadway’s sixth longest-running musical of all time. She recently told NBC’s Lester Holt that the role is “a dream that if you told me it was going to happen five or six years ago, I would have laughed.”
Raised in a musical family in Clinton, New Jersey, Vosk performed and sang while growing up. At Montclair State, however, she majored in Communication Studies – an academic path that led her to a successful, but stressful, career with a Wall Street investor relations firm.
After suffering from devastating panic attacks at work, Vosk took stock and realized that art was what was missing from her life. Trusting her instincts, she quit her job to rekindle her early dreams of being a performer. As Elphaba sings, “Everyone deserves a chance to fly.”
For Vosk, the route from Wall Street to Broadway wasn’t straightforward. Like many would-be actors, Vosk did everything from babysitting to hitting open calls and auditions before landing her first big break. In 2009, she was chosen as a vocalist for Kristina – a live concert written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA that was performed in New York and London.
Since then, her career has soared. Vosk made her Broadway debut in 2014 in The Bridges of Madison County. She subsequently was a member of the original Broadway cast of Finding Neverland, before playing Fruma Sarah in the 2015-16 Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. She left Fiddler on the Roof in 2016 to star as Elphaba in the second national tour of Wicked.
In July, Vosk joined the Broadway cast of Wicked, which is currently celebrating its fifteenth year on Broadway. Elphaba is a role she relishes. As she told Holt, “In two and a half hours – two hours and 45 minutes – you can make somebody’s life completely change in an instant with the words that you say or a song that you sing.”
Listeners are connecting not only with her onstage performances, but also with her debut album, Wild and Free. Released in August at #29 on Billboard’s Independent Artists Chart, it features a mix of musical theater and pop music favorites.