The thought of performing a part she loves so close to her home town and in front of friends and family had Nikki Davis-Jones almost bursting with nerves and excitement.
Nikki, 32, who was born in Ormskirk where her parents Lyn and Steve live, says there was a lot of anticipation and build-up to Wicked coming to Manchester and admits she was quite nervous ahead of the big night.
“Playing Elphaba in Wicked is such a massive iconic role and to have the role for myself was such a huge milestone for me.
“But because there was such a big build-up to the night, I found myself getting quite nervous.
“Part of this was because of how near my hometown I was going to be and the worry that I may not live up to expectations for my friends and family.
“But nerves and pressure can be a great thing and I put all my energy into the performance.
“I absolutely loved every moment of being on stage in Manchester and I am looking forward to every night of our run here.”
Nikki had already performed the role of Elphaba at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre many times – but that was as standby to the usual actress.
She did the standby role in Wicked for two years and roughly ended up doing the role once a week on average.
But she says nothing beats the thrill of having the part to herself and she is loving being able to “fully own” the part and has come up with many new ideas to give her character a different depth. Nikki, who left home at 16 to go to Laine Theatre Arts in London, has had many theatre roles in the West End including in Blood Brothers, Mamma Mia and Never Forget– the Take That Musical.
She has even been in the film version of Mamma Mia alongside Julie Walters and Meryl Streep.
However, even though Nikki loves London, she says she has been thrilled and astounded at the audience reaction to her performance in Manchester.
“The audience response and reaction was unbelievable.
“They seemed to really get the story and were totally different from the crowds we get in London.
“I think it might be because there are a lot of tourists in London who might not necessarily know the story of The Wizard of Oz, but I found the theatre crowd in Manchester fully got the vibe of the show.
“I think northerners are more friendly anyway and it was a real pleasure to perform in such of such a fantastic audience. It has really set the scene for the rest of the shows in Manchester and I know every performance to going to feel just as amazing.”
Nikki is staying in the Northern Quarter of Manchester during Wicked’s run in the city and is looking forward to having some time to explore the area.
And she is enjoying the opportunity to visit her folks during her time off. Laughing, Nikki says: “I get to go home for my mum’s Sunday roasts.
“She is an amazing cook and no one can beat her spuds!”
Wicked is on at Manchester Palace until November 16. For tickets, visit: www.atgtickets.com