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Actor Spotlight: Amanda Jane Cooper of ‘Wicked’

Category Actor Spotlight

|by Jeryl Brunner |

Amanda Jane Cooper plays Glinda the Good Witch in the long-running hit musical ‘Wicked’

In summer 2017, after starring as Glinda in the Wicked National Tour she made her Broadway debut playing Glinda on the Great White Way at the Gershwin Theatre. Her extensive TV credits includes Glee, Bones, CSI, Jessie, Selfie, Hello Ladies, Masters of Sex and more.

Amanda Jane Cooper in 'Wicked' (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Amanda Jane Cooper in 'Wicked' (Photo: Joan Marcus)

When you got the call that you were going to make your Broadway debut in Wicked, what went through your mind? 
Amanda Jane Cooper:
It was a flood of emotion. And when I say flood, I mean it. I had tears streaming down my face, weeping with gratitude and awe at what God had done in my life. And for the people that helped get me to that moment. My first call was to my parents, who’ve quite literally given it all so I could live this dream.


What is the joy of playing Glinda? 
The joy is her joy! I love her moxie. Her earnestness. Her transformation. We get to see her become a woman who stands for something, has a new depth, a woman whose heart has been made bigger. To go on that journey every night is an actors' dream.


When did you know you had to be a performer? 
I got my first taste of theater when I was 10 years old, playing Steamboat Sal in our 5th grade musical. (Thank you, Mrs. Messner!). My love for it grew, and when I was 16 I went to a six-week summer program at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama. I was immersed in conservatory-style training with people who loved the craft of storytelling. And I had professors who changed my life. I knew then. And later I was blessed to actually go to college there. Love my Tartans!


What was the first Broadway show you ever saw? 
Cats. Third grade. I was terrified. I have a real-life fear of felines. And at the top of the show the ensemble was dancing in the aisles of the house with glowy eyes. The second show I saw was Annie Get Your Gun with the one and only Bernadette Peters, which was an astounding experience. 


You performed in Wicked for First Lady Michelle Obama during the show's run at the Kennedy Center. What stands out about that experience? 
That was something else! There were rumblings that someone very important was there that night, but they wouldn’t tell us officially who for security purposes. Secret Service and canine units had been in the building earlier. The show was a buzz of excitement. We saw in the paper the next day that the First Lady and her daughters had been in the Presidential Box. It’s something I’ll never forget. 


You have done loads of TV work. What does the experience of doing live theater give you? 
Yeah, I love it all! Live theater is unlike anything else. I love sharing that real-time experience with an audience, feeling their energy and reactions and having a kind of sacred space for a few hours where every person in the room is on the journey together. Especially in 2017 when we’re on our devices all the time, it’s refreshing and exciting for everyone to be fully present and immersed completely in a story.


What is an ideal day off for you? What do you love to do? 
Ask my friends: I looooove to sleep in! And then maybe enjoy time outside, explore my neighborhood, get a massage. If it’s a Sunday, definitely church time. I like to cook at home or have dinner with friends. See @amandajanecoop

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