Chicagoan returns to Broadway to sub-in for ‘Wicked’ show dealt COVID casting blow

Chicago News

CHICAGO – A Chicagoan helped save the night on Broadway this past weekend, resuming a role in the hit show “Wicked” for the first time in several years.  

Carla Stickler says she grew up surrounded by the performing arts before eventually turning that love into a profession on Broadway. While Stickler would go on to switch careers to the technological world a few years ago, a sudden call would place her back under the spotlight once more.

“I am currently in a hotel room in Midtown. I head back home on Saturday,” Stickler told WGN News via Zoom.

The Broadway performer recently lived in New York City but said she is a Chicago girl at heart, initially calling Oak Park her home. Following years in the Big Apple, Stickler and her husband returned to the Windy City.

“We live in Logan Square now. We have a house with windows that go from the floor to the ceiling and a yard,” Stickler said. “I’m like ‘this is amazing.'”

A software engineer, a previous life saw Stickler perform with “Wicked” full time from 2010 through 2015.

Starring as “Elphaba” for many years, Stickler says she recently got an unexpected phone call. While on vacation, Stickler learned that Broadway needed her to pick up the proverbial broom and resume her old role.

“I was brought in to offer relief to the company during a very hard time,” Stickler said. “We all know what’s going on.”

Stickler stepped right in, she says, flying to New York without missing a beat.

“I got to the theatre just in time to watch the 8 p.m. show and go right to rehearsals the next afternoon,” she said.

Stickler said it was her first time defying gravity in seven years.

“I had not played Elphaba since 2015, which is definitely the longest I’d gone without playing Elphaba,” she said.

Stickler said she loved getting into character one last time. The performer also said she is excited about her future in tech work.

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“I think it’s a really cool thing to mix those different sides of ourselves and I just hope people see the story and think ‘I can do that,’ look at that, that’s a real thing,” Stickler said.

The Oak Park native hopes her story will inspire little girls throughout the area to chase all of their dreams.

“You don’t have to give up,” she says, “one for the other.”

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