‘Wicked’ mix: Broadway divas close Pops series

Pop-uuu-lar, as Glinda, the good witch in the musical “Wicked,” would say it.

Laura Woyasz played Glinda during “Wicked’s” long Broadway run during which she sung the comical song “Popular” to Julie Reiber’s Elphaba, who would eventually become the Wicked Witch in “The Wizard of Oz.”

These two divas will come together Friday, March 28, when the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra stages the third and final concert in its 2013-14 All Star Pops series, “Wicked Divas.”

“They’ll not only be singing songs from ‘Wicked’ but other Broadway shows, too,” David Torns says.

Torns is the orchestra’s associate conductor as well as its pops conductor, and he’s having fun with this series.

“The pops series is my favorite,” Torns says. “I’m not familiar with all of the genres of music in the series, and this gives me a chance to learn about them. And it’s been a lot of fun.”

This season’s pops series began with “Home for the Holidays” in December, followed by “Spectrum Motown” in February.

Now it’s time for some Broadway.

“There will be a part of the concert where the orchestra performs by itself,” Torns says. “Then we’ll be joined by our guests, who will be singing songs from the musicals, ‘Chicago,’ ‘My Fair Lady,’ ‘Ragtime,’ ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and, of course, ‘Wicked.’”

Selections from George Bizet’s opera, “Carmen,” also will be performed.

“We’ll have a nice mix,” Torns says.

A mix the orchestra is enjoying as much as Torns.

“They’re enjoying this, too,” Torns says. “This series also gives us a chance to showcase all of our talents. It shows that the symphony can play anything, that we can go from Mahler to Motown to Broadway. All of these genres are so different, and we have so much talent in our symphony.”

As for the “Wicked” divas, Woyasz made her Broadway debut as Glinda, where she performed to soldout audiences.

She performed in “Wicked” five years and in concerts and productions throughout the world.

Reiber first portrayed the green girl Elphaba with the original Los Angeles cast of “Wicked” and later moved to Broadway. Most recently, she starred as Marion in “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.” She’s also has been seen on Broadway as Brooklyn in “Bklyn,” Natalie/Ed in “All Shook Up” and worked alongside Harry Connick Jr. in Michael Mayer’s revival of “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.”