The second national tour of the hit Broadway musical “Wicked” is at Popejoy Hall for 16 performances Oct. 17-Oct. 28. Tickets start at $42 and are available at www.unmtickets.com, by calling 925-5858 or by visiting box offices at the Dreamstyle Arena (The Pit), at the UNM Bookstore and, 90 minutes before curtain, at the Center for the Arts box office.
There is a day-of-performance lottery for a limited number of orchestra seats being held for “Wicked.” This is how the lottery works: At two and one-half hours before each performance, people who present themselves at the UNM Center for the Arts box office will have their names placed in a lottery drum. Thirty minutes later, names will be drawn for a limited number of seats at $25 each, cash only.
The lottery is available only in-person at the box office, with a limit of two tickets per person. Lottery participants must have a valid photo ID when submitting their entry form and, if picked, when purchasing tickets.
By David Steinberg
Mili Diaz’s first musical was a junior version of “Guys and Dolls.” That was fourth grade.
The next year she auditioned for and got into the children’s choir of a high school production of “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
When she was in high school in Rockville, Md., Diaz sang in musicals, in choirs and played in the orchestra.
“I was very involved but in high school I was never a lead in a musical, always in the back,” Diaz said in a phone interview.
“I was always very shy. And I was told my voice wasn’t musical-theater-esque and I should probably stop.”
She rejected that advice, and is she every happy that she did.
In community college Diaz realized she couldn’t stay away from musical theater. So she moved to New York City to study at Case University’s performing arts program. Diaz graduated last year.
Diaz has already performed as Nina in “In the Heights” at the Olney(cq) Theater and at the Fulton Opera House; as Maria in “West Side Story” at the Woodstock Playhouse and as Mimi in “Rent” at the Clear Space Theatre.
Now she’s a lead in a famous show that’s taking her across the country – the national touring production of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “Wicked, The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz.”
And not just any part. Diaz has the role of Nessarose in this production, which opens Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Popejoy Hall in the first of 16 performances.
The role and the show are special for her. “This is one of my dream roles. It was the first musical theater album I ever listened to,” the native of Peru said. “To be in this show is a dream come true.”
Nessarose is the younger, physically handicapped sister of Elphaba and graduates to the Wicked Witch of the East.
“I love Nessa. She has a beautiful arc of her journey,” Diaz said. “She changes a lot and I find that intriguing. She’s very complex. What’s really interesting is that in most the show she’s in a wheelchair.”
As a performer who’s a dancer as well as a singer and actor, Diaz explained that “it’s hard to do a show watching every dance and sit there not express yourself with your body and join in the fun. It’s frustrating but it helps with my character. She wants love and friendships.”
A review of “Wicked” by ReelRoy Reviews said “…Mili Diaz as a Nessarose for the ages whose heartache and heartbreak toxics in the most haunting sibling rivalry I’ve seen in any given production of this show.”
The story of “Wicked” centers on sister Elphaba and her unlikely friendship with Galinda. Elphaba, who is intelligent, passionate but misjudged, is born with emerald-green skin. The musical is also about society not accepted someone who is different. Elphaba becomes the Wicked Witch of the West, while the blonde, beautiful, popular Galinda transforms to Glinda the Good Witch of the South.
“Wicked,” a prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” opened on Broadway 15 years ago this month.
The show was nominated for 10 Tony awards and won three – for Best Actress in a Musical (for Idina Menzel), Best Costume Design and Best Scenic Design. It also won a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album (Original Broadway Cast Recording. Stephen Schwartz wrote the music and lyrics.
The musical is based on Gregory Maguire’s novel of the same name.