Photo: Ginna Claire Mason starring as Glinda in the national touring production of “Wicked.” // Photo by Joan Marcus.
By LANDON WOODROOF
When the Brentwood Home Page last caught up with Ginna Claire Mason this past August, she was in the midst of a five-week stint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she was starring as Glinda in the award-winning musical “Wicked.”
She had been a professional actress already for years at that point and was months into the national touring production of “Wicked.”
Despite a busy schedule, though, that saw her traveling from city to city to play Glinda month after month, there was one place near and dear to her heart that she had not performed in.
“With all the touring I’ve done sadly I haven’t come to Nashville yet, but that would be a dream come true,” Mason said at the time.
Well, that dream has coming true. “Wicked” is starting a four-week run at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville. From March 28 to April 22, there are shows Tuesday through Friday nights and then two shows each on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are available here.
Mason, a Brentwood Academy graduate who participated in local theater, such as the Star Bright Players and others, could not be happier about her Nashville debut in “Wicked.”
“I feel like anything that comes out of my mouth sounds like a terrible cliche,” she said. “I feel like ‘pinch me.’ I feel like this is a dream come true. I feel like it’s all too good to be true, but here I am back in my hometown.”
The occasion is even sweeter, considering Mason’s personal history with TPAC. She vividly remembers going to musical after musical at the venue when she was growing up.
She actually performed on the stage once, too. In the sixth grade, she was one of 12 girls comprising the Chinese dragon in the Nashville Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker.” Now, she will be the taking the stage in a much larger role for the expectant crowds.
“It all feels totally surreal,” she said.
Being at home has also allowed Mason to reconnect with a lot of people she knew during her childhood in Brentwood.
“It’s just so sweet to feel the rekindling of these friendships and people I did shows with in elementary school and teachers,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”
She hopes to see even more familiar faces at the stage door after each performance is over. It’s the same door that she would wait at to meet actors and get autographs after shows she used to attend.
Of course, Mason’s family is overjoyed about her bringing Glinda to Nashville as well. Mason’s mom, Jules, has made sure that everyone knows about the show.
“I’ll have friends and family at every single show,” Mason said.
Jules Mason shared some memories of Ginna Claire’s excitement after seeing “Wicked” for the first time with her dad, Richard, in New York City in 2004.
“From that point on, scenes from “Wicked” were re-enacted on a regular basis, as she recruited all available and willing family members to play supporting roles to hers as Glinda, of course!” Jules Mason remembered. “Over the years, we took her to see “Wicked” for a second time in New York, then to Chicago, Memphis, Los Angeles and even London. The songs from “Wicked” became the soundtrack of our lives and always there was the dream that energized her musical theater training, to one day play the role of Glinda the Good.”
Jules is thrilled that Ginna Claire now has the chance to play for a hometown audience. It reminded her of the familiar line, “There’s no place like home.”
Although these Nashville performances will be firsts for Ginna Claire Mason, they will also be some of the last times she plays Glinda in “Wicked,” at least on this tour.
She is set to relinquish the role in June.
“My time with the tour is coming to an end so in a lot of ways this is kind of like an epic grand finale for this journey I’ve been on,” she said.
Ginna Claire Mason hopes that the experience of these hometown shows will be extra-special not only for her, but for some of the audience members who may find themselves in the same position that she once did.
“It’s cool to think maybe some little girl will be in the audience and think, ‘Hey, the girl playing that part grew up here, and she’s doing this now and that’s my dream and maybe I can do that, too,'” she said.
“Wicked” runs in Andrew Jackson Hall at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center from from March 28 through April 22.