Friday, September 28, 2012

Reel Thoughts Interview: Wickedly Divalicious

Thousands of audience members have fallen in love with Alli Mauzey as Glinda in various Broadway companies of Wicked, but her breakout role was her hilarious role as crazy Lenora in the musical Cry-Baby, based on the John Waters comedy. (If you haven’t seen her perform the showstopping “Screw Loose” on YouTube, watch it immediately!) The girl from Anaheim Hills who grew up to watch over the Land of Oz from a floating bubble will be joining fellow Wicked alum and Broadway star Nicole Parker for two nights of delicious displays of their diva mastery with the Phoenix Symphony September 28th and 29th. I caught up with Mauzey and asked her what makes her a Wicked Diva, and what’s next for the rising star.

NC: So, what makes you a Wicked Diva?
AM: All being a Wicked Diva means is that Nicole and I got to star as Glinda and Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway. We're not divas in the negative sense for sure! We would be the first people to call each other out on that! The night is a celebration of these two iconic women that we got to play and a celebration of so many more women in pop music, classical music and Broadway.

NC: What are your favorite roles that you’ve played? What roles do you want to play but haven’t?
AM: I love playing Glinda, and I loved playing Lenora in Cry-Baby and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. Roles I hope to play, well, originating roles is ideal. I also love the character of Lizzie in 110 in the Shade and I love her music in that show.


NC: I was lucky enough to see you in Cry-Baby in La Jolla and then in New York . You were hilarious and I still rave to my friends about your performance of “Screw-Loose”. What was that experience like?
AM: Thank you! Cry-Baby was the first time I had originated a role. That combined with the character having a few "screws loose" gave me the freedom to be boundless in creating her. In my mind, there was nothing Lenora could do that was too absurd or too crazy because in her mind it always made sense. It was such a blast to work on a character like that. Very freeing.

NC: I am bummed that they never made a cast album of Cry-Baby. Isn’t there a following clamoring for that?
AM: Me too! I meet fans all the time who ask about a Cry-Baby cast album. It's too bad one didn't get done. It had some really fun music and lyrics. I mean, come on... the opening song, "Anti Polio Picnic"? "Girl Can I Kiss you With Tongue"? Anyone?


NC: What did you enjoy most about playing Glinda in the San Francisco production of Wicked?
AM: I fell in love with San Francisco! I had no idea how much I was going to love it. One of my favorite cities in the United States! I loved the ocean air in the city environment, I had no idea how much good food was up the there, and it just has some incredibly beautiful and breathtaking areas.

NC: I understand that you are from Anaheim Hills California. What was it like growing up near Disneyland , the Happiest Place on Earth?
AM: I love Disneyland! I've had an annual pass for as long as I can remember. Friday nights in high school consisted of meeting my friends at Snow White's Wishing Well in the park and hanging out until the park closed. And on some Saturday nights, Carnation Plaza had a swing band and you could go swing dancing which was always fun! Disneyland is such a familiar thing for me and I know the park like the back of my hand. I love taking people there who have never been.

NC: What was your journey to Broadway like?
AM: My journey to Broadway... It took me a while to warm up to being on stage because I was so incredibly shy as a child. My mother put me in some dance classes and such because my sister had been doing them but also because she thought it would help me come out of my shell. It was painful at first to have all the attention on me on stage. But the more I did it the more comfortable I became. But I mostly became comfortable because I had such a joy for singing and playing with my friends on stage. I also had other interests growing up but by the time I was ready to go to college, it just made sense for me to go into acting so I did. I moved to New York and graduated from NYU. Moved back to California after I graduated, got an agent in Los Angeles. One of the first auditions my agents sent me out on was for Hairspray. I went in for it, danced, sang, read sides and after a few callbacks got an offer to join the Broadway company so I moved back to New York and got my Equity Card and made my Broadway debut. It was an amazing show and I look back on it so fondly. I absolutely love the musical Hairspray. I was sad to see it close because it meant more people couldn't see it.


NC: What advice would you give to other aspiring Wicked Divas who want to follow in your footsteps (or floating bubble)?

AM: Work hard and always find the joy in it.

NC: What else would you like readers to know about you, your co-star Nicole Parker, and your concert?
AM: Nicole and I met doing Wicked in New York and have become such great friends since then. We had so much in common, grew up about 20 minutes from each other, knew some of the same people, worked at some of the same theatre in SoCal, et cetera. It was like connecting with an old friend even though we had just met. So when it comes to us and our concert, you see two friends rocking out and sharing stories and it's just a fun evening of great music and laughter. I have a blast with Nicole each and every time we perform together and I think audiences do too.

Interview by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

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