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Wicked - Season Option

So much happened before Dorothy dropped in.

Wicked Tour Star Patti Murin On Getting Witchy for Halloween and What She Owes Kristin Chenoweth

Wicked Tour Star Patti Murin On Getting Witchy for Halloween and What She Owes Kristin Chenoweth
Patti Murin in the national tour of 'Wicked'
'Glinda is who she is and learns lessons along the way very quickly.'

Patti Murin made a splash on Broadway stage in 2011 as the title character in the college basketball comedy Lysistrata Jones. Now Murin is making her next star turn as Glinda in the national tour of the Broadway blockbuster Wicked. Taking time out from floating in her stage bubble at Seattle's Paramount Theatre, Murin talked to about playing one of the most “fantastic” female roles in musical theater, adjusting to her Wicked eating schedule and throwing a musical theater Halloween party in Seattle.

How has Wicked life been treating you?
It’s been wonderful. I love doing the show every night. I don’t ever get tired of it. I get tired, but I don’t get tired of it.

What’s it like to be Glinda the Good? 
It’s a dream come true. Glinda has such a journey in this show. It’s unbelievable the range of emotions I get to play.

What do you love about this character?
Glinda is who she is and learns lessons along the way very quickly. She is very good at heart. It doesn’t seem that way in the beginning when she and Elphaba have their first bit of troubles in their friendship, but Glinda learns and accepts people after she learns her lesson. Everything that she does, she does with 100 percent of her being, whether it’s being happy, doing a makeover or feeling sad. She doesn’t just feel sad; she’s devastated. She doesn’t have a middle range. It makes it a lot of fun to play her.

Are you scared making your entrance from high above the stage every night?
Not anymore. It took about a week or so to get used to it. The crew is so wonderful about hooking me into [the bubble] and getting me out. Once I got comfortable in the bubble, it got to be a lot more fun and not quite as terrifying.

You’re no stranger to playing popular, peppy students. What’s the key to being perky on stage?
Oh my goodness, a lot of sleep. I’d say nine hours a night on one-show days, and if I can manage it, 10 before two-show days. I really can’t eat too close to show time. I’ll have breakfast, then have a big meal mid afternoon, because that will give me enough time to digest. I don’t want to be completely starving by the time the show’s over, but it’s no fun to do this role when I’m full. It’s just not fun. [Laughs.]

Were you a "Glinda type" in high school?
I guess you could say I was. I probably was not popular in the traditional sense that she is, but I did a lot of activities, so I had friends from all groups. I never won homecoming or prom queen, but I was up for them. [Laughs.] I was never typically Glinda, but I always had my hands in everything and I always wanted everyone to like me. I wasn’t blonde then though.

What’s your take on why Wicked is still one of the hottest shows?
It’s a wonderful look at these two women, their lives and this complex relationship that they have. These two roles are two of the most fantastically written female parts in all of musical theater. There’s more nowadays, but there have been so few musicals that concentrate on the perspectives of women. I think the show speaks to everyone. You can bring the kids, but you don’t have to. It’s great for date night; everyone just loves it. It’s about the magic of it.

You’re switching from Lysistrata, a role you created, to one that many actresses have played before you. How does that feel?
This is the first time I’ve ever replaced in a show before; I’ve always originated characters. I was scared at first, but it’s actually been really nice to be plugged in and figure it out myself as opposed to putting in all the blood sweat and tears to figure it out.

So do you feel you have flexibility with the role?
So much, so much. All of the Glindas have been different. The creatives don’t make me stick to what Kristin Chenoweth did in the very beginning. She did so much of the dirty work for all of us who came after her and we will be forever grateful to her for that. I feel pretty flexible and open to do anything.

What is it like to do Glinda’s most famous number “Popular”?
It’s too much fun. I can’t believe someone is letting me have this much fun. It’s a little intimidating, because it is that song. It’s like “Defying Gravity” with the Elphabas; it’s that song. The audience has been impacted by that song in certain ways and I want to live up to those expectations.

How do you look back on your time in Lysistrata Jones?
I would not be here without that. It showed everyone that as an actor, I could carry a show and play the lead. Without that, I don’t know that Wicked would ever have come calling. That’s such a huge milestone in my career.

Your husband, Curtis Holbrook, is now on tour in The Addams Family. What’s it like being married when you’re both on tour? How do you stay connected?
When Wicked came up, we realized that both our tours would be in Seattle for three weeks at the same time. We thought, "Isn’t that just lovely?" There’s another couple that we’re friends with, Michael Mahany who’s in Wicked and Sara Andreas who is in Addams Family, who is also in the same position. Normally, both of us signing up for a tour at the same time is something we wouldn’t do. But this lined up so well for both of us that it just seemed written in the stars.

So when you’re in Seattle, what do you think a Wicked-Addams Family double date is going to look like?
We’re actually going to be there for Halloween, so if you take the witches from Wicked and the characters from The Addams Family, we’re going to have one amazing Halloween party. We have no excuse not to!

See Patti Murin in Wicked, currently playing at the Paramount Theatre through November 17.

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