Wicked, Miami’s most popular musical, has made its return to Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and plays through this weekend, Sunday March 5. Its next stop in South Florida will be in Palm Beach at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts from March 29 to April 9.
The Broadway sensation Wicked looks at what happened in the Land of Oz…but from a different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin, who is smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships…until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.”
With a thrilling score that includes the hits “Defying Gravity,” “Popular” and “For Good,” Wicked has been hailed by The New York Times as “the defining musical of the decade,” and by Time Magazine as “a magical Broadway musical with brains, heart, and courage.” NBC Nightly News calls the hit musical “the most successful Broadway show ever.”
The new touring cast includes Lissa deGuzman as Elphaba, Jennafer Newberry as Glinda, Natalie Venetia Belcon as Madame Morrible, Fort Lauderdale native Christian Thompson as Fiyero, Timothy Shew (The Wizard), Boise Holmes (Doctor Dillamond), Tara Kostmayer (Nessarose), and Kyle McArthur (Boq).
It was a pleasure to sit down with Lissa deGuzman (Elphaba) for this exclusive Hotspots interview:
At what age did you begin performing?
As a young child I did a few plays when I was in 5th or 6th grade, but then I took a big break as I was a big sports person and focused on soccer and basketball. It wasn’t until sophomore year in high school when I picked it up again. My brother was always into theater, so I grew up going to shows, and he inspired me to audition for the high school musical, and here I am.
What was your first paid gig?
It was after my sophomore year of college and I worked at a summer stock theater, Highlands Playhouse, and I did Little Shop of Horrors, Pippin and 9 to 5. I remember being so excited that I was a professional and getting paid to do that.
When did you know performing would be your career?
I remember my junior year of high school, I was doing “Seussical the Musical,” and I loved it but my goal was to go to school for Dermatology. After the show my director pulled me aside and told me if I buckle down, I could make this a career and that was all I needed to hear to commit to making this a career. I was so excited, and he helped me tell my parents. That’s when I knew I wanted to make it a career. In my senior year of college when I decided to fly back and forth to New York for auditions is when I knew I was doing the right thing and I could make this a profession.
Wicked and Elphaba are so iconic, is there extra pressure playing this role?
Yes, and its pressure I put on myself. Our team at Wicked do not give us any pressure and they do a really great job making sure each Elphaba is individual and comes from them, so its unique.
How hard is it to get in the green all the time?
I have gotten so used to it. It’s actual not hard anymore, it’s kind of soothing. We have it down to 15 minutes. I use that time as a centering technique.
Other than this one, what has been your favorite role so far?
It’s hard because I got to play Jasmine in Aladdin, but I think my favorite role was in King Kong. I was the understudy, but when I was on stage I got to play next to this gigantic puppet on Broadway.
What’s your fantasy role (a role you haven’t played but want to)?
I would love to play Euripides in Hadestown.
Is it hard being on the road all the time?
Once you get the hang of it, it isn’t. I think everyone should be challenged to live out of two suitcases and learn what things you need and what you don’t need. Also, I love the cities and trying the local foods. I have seen this country way more than most people have and I think that’s really special.
How well do you and your castmates get along?
We get along amazingly; I am really lucky to be working with these people. It makes the whole process so enjoyable. After almost every show they show up in my dressing room (as I am taking the green off) to say good night to each other.
Describe yourself in thee words?
Spitfire, easygoing, and good-listener.
What do you do for fun?
I like to cook and bake…banana bread is one of my favorites. I also love different teas. In addition, I love Yoga and stretching.
What should our readers expect from this touring company of “Wicked”?
They should expect an amazing time. This show is for all ages and has something in it for everyone. It’s a story of two women who would normally not be friends and their journey becoming friends and going from girls to women. It’s a different perspective to the Wizard of Oz. You can expect to come and laugh, and cry, and feel amazing at the end.
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For more information on Lissa, you can follow her at: Instagram.com/lissadeguz
For more information about WICKED, please visit WickedTheMusical.com.
Tickets to WICKED in Miami are $33-$193* and may be purchased now at the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at arshtcenter.org.
Tickets in Palm Beach start at $63 and will be sold exclusively through the Kravis Center Box Office window or by visiting the official Kravis Center website www.kravis.org or by calling the Kravis Center Box Office at 561-832-7469.