Carla Stickler had been working as a software engineer in Chicago when she got the call last weekend to fill in for one of the lead roles in the musical “Wicked” — Elphaba. Though she had spent years performing on Broadway as an understudy in the role, she hadn’t done the show in seven years.
Still, she flew to New York so that the show could go on.
Stickler said that she left show business in 2015 after dealing with injuries and health issues, but that returning to the stage in this unexpected way was a reminder of just how magical the experience was.
“Having the opportunity to perform her again after having left the biz is giving me the closure I have been missing,” she wrote. “If I never performed again, I could rest easy knowing that something out of this world happened last night.”
Stickler’s fellow actors applauded her impressive feat, too.
Stickler isn’t alone in having to pull off a last-minute performance. As Omicron spreads across New York, several Broadway actors have gotten infected with Covid-19 — meaning that understudies, swings and standbys have had to step in.