SALT LAKE CITY — Every night, Mattie Love waits in the wings of the Eccles Theater stage and smiles as the Wicked Witch of the West sings, “Unlimited. My future is unlimited.”
When she was 10 years old, the Layton resident went to New York City with her family and saw “Wicked” for the first time. Listening to the original cast of the blockbuster Broadway production set her dreams in motion.
“The show absolutely blew my mind,” Love said while sitting in her childhood bedroom in Layton. “I had never seen a Broadway show until then. As soon as I heard them sing, I said to myself, ‘I’m going to move to New York and I’m going to sing and I’m going to be on Broadway and I’m going to dance.'”
Now, she’s doing just that. Love is living her dreams as a member of the ensemble of the national tour of "Wicked," now playing in Salt Lake through March 3. In the ensemble, she plays what’s known as the palm tree track — an ode to the shape of the wig she wears in the Emerald City. She is also one of the infamous flying monkeys.
“Wicked” is Love’s first foray into musical theater. Previously, the 25-year-old focused on dancing. Love grew up training at Dance Impressions in Bountiful and participated in the University of Utah’s ballet program while attending Layton High School.
At age 18, Love moved to the Big Apple to attend Marymount Manhattan College, where she received a bachelor's of fine arts in dance. Soon after, she booked a role as a Rockette in the Radio City "Christmas Spectacular" and danced there for two years.
Love found a lot of success in dance, but musical theater was always where her heart was.
“As I was auditioning in New York, I realized musical theater is where I’m supposed to be,” Love said, adding she ikes how musical theater reaches the masses.
“Everyone will come and see ‘Wicked,’ and it makes them happy,” Love said. “I love being able to be a part of letting them come to the theater for one day to forget about their problems.”
Love joined the cast of “Wicked” during its Salt Lake City run. She said it was surreal having her family and friends at opening night.
“It was fabulous to see her finally achieve her dream,” said her mother, Angie Love. “She’s worked really hard for this.”
Adjusting to tour life has had it challenges. Love desperately misses her boyfriend and her shepherd-husky mix, Winslow. But touring definitely has its perks.
Being in Salt Lake feels like home. She is becoming reacquainted with her hometown and discovering new restaurants and venues. And she’s relishing every moment with her family.
She’s also loving her new family, the “Wicked” cast.
“We are all alone out here on the road,” Love said. “The cast is incredible. I already feel like they are my own little family. I have never felt more supported and welcomed. They are a really awesome group of people."
In addition to the "Wicked" touring cast's quality, both in character and talent, Bruce Granath, vice president of marketing at Broadway Across America, believes that the show's powerful message is what has made it so phenomenally popular in Utah.
This is the fourth visit the Stephen Schwartz musical has made to Salt Lake City, and ticket sales are going incredibly well.
“This current engagement set several records, which date back to the beginning of the tour. But tickets sales don’t really tell the story that I see every night in the lobby,” Granath said. “Our audience arrives energized and excited in a way that is unique. Maybe it is the story of friendship, forgiveness and compassion that resonates with Utah audiences.”
Despite popular belief, the show’s run at the Eccles Theatre is not sold out. There are often seats open the day prior and day of the show, Granath said. And there is always the ticket drawing, held two hours before every performance.
“We usually have a few tickets available and occasionally they are in great locations,” Granath said. “My advice to friends is simply check ArtTix.org the day before and the day of a performance.”Comment on this story
While getting tickets to "Wicked" might seem daunting, for Love, the show's message makes any effort to see it worthwhile — especially for those with a dream.
“I really would want anyone who feels like their dreams are too big (to know) they are not,” Love said. “Go do them and you will achieve them. … I really do believe (her) when Jackie (Burns), (the tour’s Elphaba), says 'Unlimited. My future is unlimited.' That, for me, is my life motto. I would hope anyone here would take that and live that as well.”