Ginna Claire Mason to perform with Bonita Springs Concert Band

 

By Cheryl Mandell

 

Ginna Claire with her grandparents_ Anne and Jim Price_ in Bonita Springs

Ginna Claire with her grandparents, Anne and Jim Price in Bonita Springs

It’s not every day you’re lowered onto a Broadway stage in a giant bubble, unless you’re Ginna Claire Mason, who did exactly that for nearly three years as Glinda in the worldwide musical phenomenon, “Wicked.”

Since its debut on October 30, 2003, Wicked has become the third-longest-running show currently on Broadway and the fourth-longest-running Broadway show of all time, according to Playbill. That is no small feat, to stand among the ranks of “The Lion King,” “Chicago” (1966 Revival), and the number one showstopper, “Phantom of the Opera.”

For most people, starring on Broadway may seem like a distant fantasy. For others, like Mason, it was a dream that unfolded into reality through perseverance and sheer desire. After seeing the original cast of “Wicked” on Broadway at age 13, she told her parents at intermission, “I’m going to be Glinda someday.”

Growing up in Brentwood, Tennessee, near Nashville, Mason’s parents raised her and her three brothers on musical theater, exposing them to all of the classics like “The Sound of Music” and “My Fair Lady.” Watching her big brothers do shows in the community inspired Mason to start auditioning. She performed her first school show and community theater show in first grade and continued to do so throughout grade school.

Mason found a lot of value in playing non-lead roles during those formative years.

“Not playing the lead really made me appreciate the art for what it was, and the need to be part of this story-telling medium was really special,” said Mason.

Other dreams came and went, but once she was bitten by the performance bug, she never looked back.

“Even prior to seeing ‘Wicked,’ I saw ‘Les Miserables’ and that was the first time that I realized people did this for a job, that my after-school activity could be a career,” Mason said.

She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre at Elon University and took the opportunity to study abroad in London and train with an opera singer.

“Elon was an amazing training ground for me. It’s a liberal arts school, and I’m a big advocate of the liberal arts education,” said Mason. “I think well-rounded people make well-rounded performers.”

After graduation, Mason moved to New York City and did her first national tour of “Flashdance the Musical” and “Newsies.” In Las Vegas, she starred as Korie in “Duck Commander Musical,” based off of the popular show, “Duck Dynasty.” Her regional credits also included “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Hairspray” and “Grease.”

A HolidaySpectacular on the Hallmark Channel 2022

A Holiday Spectacular on the Hallmark Channel 2022

After all of these roles, Mason began her “Wicked” journey. She auditioned “three or four times” before she got into the show and spent several years touring and doing various workshops in Manhattan. She started as Glinda’s standby in the Broadway company and remained so for 16 months, then re-auditioned for the role of Glinda on national tour, which she did for nearly two years before becoming the lead Glinda at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway in April 2019.

She also appeared in “Broadway Rising,” a 2022 documentary which was a heartfelt tribute to all the shows that were shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic between 2020 and 2021. Mason had cameras follow her on her day-to-day as a Broadway star without a stage.

Mason did not sit idly by for long. During the shutdown, she and her best friend and “Wicked” co-star Mary Kate Morrissey began teaching a virtual music theater school for young students whose classes and extracurriculars were canceled by the pandemic.

“We had nearly 200 students over the course of the shutdown,” said Mason. “It was fun to take these kids and sort of harness the magic of musical theater in a Zoom room and just see friendships blossom from that, and skill sets grow.”

Mason is also known for her starring role in Hallmark Channel’s 2022 “A Holiday Spectacular,” featuring The Radio City Rockettes and Ann-Margret; and “A Heidelberg Holiday,” filmed on location in Germany, which aired this past holiday season.

Mason’s career has taken her from Tennessee to Manhattan and around the world, but there’s another place Ginna Claire Mason loves to be, and that’s in southwest Florida to visit her grandparents, Jim and Anne Price of Bonita Springs.

Bonita Springs Concert Band clarinetist Bill Horowitz, who has a business relationship with Mason’s grandparents, invited her to perform with the band after discovering Mason’s Broadway and Hallmark star status.

Mason says she is delighted to accept the invitation and is slated to perform custom compositions by Rick DeJonge at the upcoming February concert. She will also be performing a “Wicked” medley as well as an ode to Broadway with great American classics like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

“For any singer to get to perform with a massive professional orchestra like this is a dream come true,” Mason said, “I’ve performed with the symphony in Japan a few years ago, and to just be surrounded by the sound is otherworldly, transportive.”

Bring your chair or blanket and prepare to be moved by Ginna Claire Mason and the talented Bonita Springs Concert Band at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs from 2 -4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18. For more information, visit bonitaspringsconcertband.org

Ginna Claire and Mary Kate Morrissey at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Ginna Claire and Mary Kate Morrissey at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

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