Sunday, January 29, 2023

Yorktown native brings Broadway to the ‘Burg

Many children are raised with the story of “The Wizard of Oz,” but few get to don slippers and a gown and be a part of the tale.

For Tiffany Haas, spending 10 years in the Broadway and National Tour production of “Wicked” was a dream come true. But earning the role of a lifetime as Glinda the Good Witch did not come without its challenges.

“I heard 72 ‘noes’ before my first ‘yes,’” recalled Haas, 35, a Yorktown native who moved to New York City back in 2005 to pursue a career in musical theater. She auditioned for “Wicked” seven times before she landed the part of Glinda.

“I was elated to get the part because I put in the work,” Haas said. “I learned a lot from every single audition I went on. It was incredibly challenging, but I learned a lot about perseverance. I didn’t move to New York just to explore the city. I moved there for a career, and I was bound and determined to make that happen.”

Haas did eight shows a week on Broadway and toured every state on and off for ten years as Glinda. “Wicked,” which launched on Broadway in 2003, tells the story of the friendship between Haas’s character and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West made famous in “The Wizard of Oz.”

“I was always a ‘Wizard of Oz’ fan growing up,” Haas said. “I think ‘Wicked’ has lasted so long because of it’s great, timeless message of friendship. I just love the story. I also loved getting to fly in a bubble every day. There is no Broadway entrance like it. I remember how wonderful it felt flying across the stage when we performed at Chrysler Hall because it was like coming home. This is where it all began.”

Tiffany Haas performed in eight shows a week on Broadway and toured every state on and off for 10 years as Glinda in "Wicked." (Courtesy Tiffany Haas)
Tiffany Haas performed in eight shows a week on Broadway and toured every state on and off for 10 years as Glinda in “Wicked.” (Courtesy Tiffany Haas)

Haas first started performing at the age of three at the Academy of Dance & Gymnastics, the dance studio that her mother, Linda, owns and operates. She started out with ballet, tap, and jazz. Voice lessons soon followed.

“I grew up in the dance studio and just fell in love with performing,” Haas said. “It was all I ever wanted to do all day, every day.”

At age 8, Haas auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club, but was deemed too young. In middle school, she joined the Virginia Opera, and later graduated from the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk.

While attending college at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in Ohio, Haas won the 2002 Miss Ohio pageant and went on to compete in Miss America.

“That was a great privilege, and an incredible experience,” Haas said, who headed for New York City after earning her degree in Opera and Musical Theatre.

In between performances of “Wicked,” Haas also toured across the country with several symphonies, including the Cincinnati Pops, the Omaha Symphony, the Alabama Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Steamboat Symphony in Colorado, and numerous orchestras in Florida.

“I just loved it,” she said. “They were all incredible orchestras to work with.”

Haas also starred in the Tony Award-winning musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and co-created the show “Cheek to Cheek: A Broadway Romance” with her “Wicked” co-star, Michael Rose. The pair hopes to soon take the show on the road.

Tiffany Haas may not be on Broadway anymore, but she still finds time to perform. In December, she will take the stage at Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News as a featured performer an annual Christmas production, which benefits Operation Smile. (Courtesy Myers Photography/Tiffany Haas)
Tiffany Haas may not be on Broadway anymore, but she still finds time to perform. In December, she will take the stage at Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News as a featured performer an annual Christmas production, which benefits Operation Smile. (Courtesy Myers Photography/Tiffany Haas)

Last year, Haas moved back to the area, settling in Williamsburg. These days, she teaches Master Classes across the nation, focusing on vocal performance, audition techniques, mock auditions, dance auditions, and how to take your performance to the next level.

In addition, she is an instructor at her mother’s dance studio and is working toward implementing a musical theater program there. Haas also has plans to pen a book.

In February, Haas started a new phase in her career with the launch of her handbag line, FullBeat. The brand is named after a theater term in which you are in full makeup and ready for the stage.

“The name is also about your attitude, your finishing touch,” she said. “It’s about how you put yourself out there, and having a positive attitude. The way you view life is everything.”

Haas may not be on Broadway anymore, but she still finds time to perform. In December, she will take the stage at Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News as a featured performer with dancers from her mother’s studio for their annual Christmas production, which benefits Operation Smile.

“I’m so excited,” Haas said. “Being a part of the symphonies and performing on Broadway was a dream, but there is nothing like coming back home and performing again where it all began. I’ve come full circle.”

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