Alli Mauzey, a Californian who achieved stardom on Broadway as Glinda in “Wicked,” feels like she is coming home for Friday’s performance in Garner’s Broadway Voices concert series.
Mauzey is married to Garner native Collin Batten, a former member of Blue Man Group. She said she has fallen in love with his hometown during visits.
“The people are so warm and friendly,” she said. “I’m still meeting Collin’s friends and family. People are just so genuinely nice. And the barbecue. North Carolina has the best barbecue.”
Theirs was an atypical Broadway courtship in that sports played a big role. Mauzey grew up playing several sports and her goal was to be a college soccer player. Her parents, however, encouraged her to pursue the arts.
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Sports and arts blended during the couple’s courtship.
The casts of Broadway shows often form softball teams that play each other. Mauzey, who was in “Hairspray” off and on from 2002 through 2009, was on that club’s team. Batten was in “Blue Man,” but, as Mauzey recalled, “Sometimes the shows bring in a ringer, a very good player. Collin was our ringer.”
Batten played shortstop and Mauzey played second base.
He soon moved to Chicago for “Blue Man” and she stayed in New York with “Wicked,” but the courtship continued.
She was scheduled to appearance in Broadway Voices two years ago, but the date conflicted with her wedding.
“Hard to believe she chose to get married instead of coming to sing to us,” said Neal Padgett, president of the Garner Chamber of Commerce, a presenter. “We are thrilled to have her coming now. The wait has been worth it.”
Mauzey left “Wicked” to marry, but agreed to return to the show for its 10th anniversary production.
Having a lead role in the anniversary run meant she was on stage during the massive homecoming show on Oct. 30, 2013, when the audience was filled with the whole “Wicked” family, including former members of the cast and crew.
“I was nervous before I went out, knowing how much this show meant to everyone in the audience and knowing that every one of them had their own idea of how the roles should be played,” Mauzey said. “But it was amazing. From the opening to the end, everyone was applauding and cheering. Loving it. Having their own memories. It is a show that people love. The cast loves it as much as the audiences. “
“Wicked,” which opened in 2003, has grossed $867 million, No. 3 all-time behind “The Lion King” and “Phantom of the Opera.” The “Wicked” national tour, which was recently in Durham, usually sells out.
The anniversary night show ran long because of the applause, but no one seemed to mind. Afterward, it was like a high school reunion without the baggage.
“It was wonderful,” she said. “I got to meet some of the other Glindas. I know a lot of the Elphabas from being in shows with them, but I never get to see the Glindas.”
Mauzey is a regular in “Wicked Divas” symphony concerts throughout the country and is always paired with an Elphaba, not another Glinda.
Julia Murney, one of Mauzey’s Elphabas, will be a special guest for the Garner show and is expected to sing a couple of duets.
And the plan is that the three of them – Mauzey, Batten and Murney – are going to eat lots of barbecue.
“We can’t go to North Carolina and not eat barbecue,” Mauzey said.