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The Green Witch Will Be Flying at the Hobby; Wicked Returns

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Donna Vivino was a green Jiminy Cricket when she was in third grade and she'll be green again when she comes to Houston as Elphaba in Broadway Across America's touring production of Wicked.

The original young Cossette (Les Miserables) on Broadway as an eight-year-old, Vivino has been performing at high levels for most of her life. Her voice is on the original Broadway cast recording.

This time around, she's been touring since October 20, 2007. And even though she misses her family, she says she still gets excited about performing this musical that remains so popular, she says, because "the word of mouth on Wicked is so enormous."

"It's one of those shows that people want to go back and see it again," she says.

Even with this, and even though Wicked is known as a musical with some pretty good songs (including "Defying Gravity" and "Popular" ), Vivino says she has yet to experience anyone singing along. "Most people do know the music when they come here. I think people might sing along in their heads or at home. They have a lot of respect for the performers."

This version of Wicked is done "exactly as it is on Broadway," Vivino says, which means she flies. "I love roller coasters and rides and so for me it wasn't scary at all," she said of her first time aloft. "I thought it was a blast."

The only significant glitch she says she's ever experienced came in New Orleans. "The power went out in a portion of the city in the middle of Act 2. We waited for over an hour. There was a fire in the neighborhood. We couldn't finish the show.

"The Glinda and I ended up going out on stage without microphones. We sang an acoustic version of the last song of the show. There was nothing we could do; our hands were tied. It ended up being a very special moment. "

Wicked runs June 30 through July 25 at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby Street. Tickets can be purchased at BroadwayAcross America.com, Ticketmaster.com/wicked or by calling 1.800.745.3000.

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