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MSO hosts Julia Murney and Alli Mauzey in annual pops concert

September 21, 2011|By KATE COLEMAN | katec@herald-mail.com
  • Broadway star Julia Murney will perform Saturday, Sept. 24, with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.
Submitted photo

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra celebrates 30 years this season, and Saturday night it's promising a wicked-goodtime.

"Wicked Divas," the evening of popular songs from a wide array of Broadway musicals is so named because the two artists, Julia Murney and Alli Mauzey, have played leading roles in the award-winning, long-running musical "Wicked."

The show is the back story of the witches of "The Wizard of Oz."

Murney played Elphaba on the national tour. The smart, misunderstood, green-skinned witch grew up to be the Wicked Witch of the West. She also last appeared on Broadway in the role, and it was in the New York production that she first worked with Mauzey, who was cast as the beautiful, ambitious and very popular young sorceress who would become Glinda the Good. Mauzey reprised that role most recently in San Francisco.

Neither of these artists, however, have one-role careers.

Murney, who grew up on New York's Upper West Side, still lives in the city. She was headed to Canada for another "Wicked Divas" show the day after a telephone interview. She'll arrive in Hagerstown the day before the MSO concert and head back to New York the day after. She's in rehearsal for a new show, "Queen of the Mist."

Her choice of career makes for a very interesting life, she said, but "keeping all the balls in the air —  Broadway, symphony, television — trying to do them all at the same time can get tricky." She's also done "about a gazillion" voiceovers and has a solo album, "I'm Not Waiting."  

Murney guesses that she saw her first Broadway show when she was 6 or 7. Her father, actor Christopher Murney, was in "Mack & Mabel." She liked shows, but it wasn't until she was in high school and attended a summer theater camp that she "crossed over" and chose performing as a career. She went on to study at Syracuse University.

"It can be a hard life," Murney admitted. "But I haven't found the thing that fulfills me anywhere near as much as this does. And you have great experiences. The symphony concerts are always so much fun to do."

Alli Mauzey's career also is varied. She grew up in Southern California — about 15 minutes from Disneyland.

Theater was something she did and had a knack for.

"It was always just fun," she said in a phone interview from the Golden State.

She loved playing soccer equally and had aspirations of becoming a professional in the sport. Acting won out, and she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drama with a minor in music from New York University.

Mauzey broke her foot shortly after graduation. It was hard to get around in New York, so she went home to California, got an agent and booked her first and second Broadway shows — "Hairspray" and "Cry-Baby" — from Los Angeles.

Mauzey is planning to spend more time in New York.

"I love working in New York, and I love the community," she said.

She'll arrive in Hagerstown in time to judge the finalists in the MSO's middle and high school vocal competition at 7:30 p.m. Friday at The Maryland Theatre.

The winner will have the opportunity to be a soloist at the MSO's "Home for the Holidays" concerts in December.

Mauzey said she's "super excited" about doing "Wicked Divas" with the MSO. The program includes tunes from "Chicago," "My Fair Lady," "Ragtime," "The Phantom of the Opera" and of course, "Wicked."

"It's fun to do music that people will know — that people will love," she said. "It's fun to do a range of styles."


If you go ...

WHAT: "Wicked Divas"

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown

COST: Tickets for the concert range from $15 to $49 for adults and $12 to $25 for children 12 and younger and full-time students.

CONTACT: To purchase tickets, call 301-797-4000, or go to www.marylandsymphony.org. Tickets also may be purchased at the MSO office, 30 W. Washington St., downtown Hagerstown, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Friday, or from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Tickets may be purchased before performances at The Maryland Theatre box office from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

MORE: Student rush tickets (no reservations accepted) will be available at the box office (which opens 90 minutes before the performances) for $5. Seat selection will be at the discretion of the box office personnel.

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