Perhaps most well known for her portrayal of Elphaba in the Broadway musical Wicked, she is also notable for her role as Shelley in the Tony-winning production of Hairspray, as well as for her solo music albums Superhero (released in late 2008) and O'Farrell Street (2013).
She and her fellow Wicked cast member Kristy Cates both attended the Musical Theatre program at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. After relocating to New York in the early 2000s, Bean appeared off-Broadway in a production of Godspell.
She wrote and starred in a musical titled Dear John Mayer.
Born in Olympia, Washington, she grew up primarily in Portland, Oregon.
When Bean first joined the Broadway cast of Wicked, she was an understudy for the original Elphaba, Idina Menzel. Bean replaced Menzel in the role in early 2005.