IF YOU GO
5833 Pelican Bay Boulevard, Naples, FL
As of this writing, a handful of tickets remain for the April 6 "Wicked Divas" concert at the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts.
What is "Wicked Divas" you ask?
Oh, just two women who have both performed in Broadway musical "Wicked" standing on stage, singing.
"It's two women who've been in 'Wicked.' That's the hook," Julia Murney, who played green witch Elphaba on Broadway, cooed quietly into my ear down 1,200 miles of telephone wire from New York. "There's a lot of singing and pretty instrument playing."
Instruments. Yes. "Wicked Divas" performs backed by a 70-piece orchestra.
"You get to go out on a wall [of sound] and surf on it," Murney said of the rich, bold music that will be pumped from guest conductor Steven Reineke's charges.
"Wicked Divas" celebrates the talents of Murney and Katie Rose Clarke, who played Elphaba and Glinda on Broadway, although never at the same time.
Murney enjoys facing off with her on-stage rival, especially near the end of the show, when the pair sing a small selection of song from the mega-hit emerald musical.
"'Wicked' has been around for 10 years," she said. "There have been a lot of ladies who have gone through there. It's fun to get to do it with someone you didn't do it with."
Murney knew she wanted to be a performer after attending summer camp in high school. Daughter of an actor, she grew up in New York, watched her father in "Mack & Mabel," and remembers attending the original runs of "Annie" and "The Wiz."
Despite the show's label, Murney laughs off the "diva" label, pointing out that it was originally applied only to opera stars.
"I don't think many people are true divas," she said. "We all sing."
The show runs through selections from "Carmen," "Ragtime," "Phantom of the Opera," "The Wizard of Oz" and "Titanic." There's even a song with "diva" in the title, the "Diva's Lament" from "Monty Python's Spamalot."
Murney and Clarke share "For Good," one of the popular duets from "Wicked." They also join up for "All That Jazz" from "Chicago" and from the way-back vault of 1979, the immortal Barbra Streisand/Donna Summer duet "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)."
At 9:30 a.m., working on about three hours of sleep, trying to imagine such a duet gives me uncontrollable giggles.
Murney jumps in. "Oh yes we do. Oh yes we do Chris. Don't be jealous. It is super fun and very silly."
If that's not a reason to see the show, I don't know what is.
Murney proves far more awake than I. I attempt to elicit tales from her voice-acting career, listed in her official bio as "about a gazillion voiceovers." She's way ahead of me.
"There's nothing I'm trying to hide!" she laughs, a delightful tinkle, like bells chiming softly in summer sunlight. "The best story I have couldn't be printed in your paper because it is quite … um … X-rated."
Murney enjoys voiceover work because "you can show up in sweatpants and a baseball cap."
The same bewitching voice that has appeared on Broadway and in all three series of "Law & Order" is luring me into buying a ticket for the show.
I inform her of this fact. She runs with the joke
"Please buy a ticket to see the show," Murney mock drones, imitating a hypnotist. "Don't leave in the middle to go buy something though, unless you want to go buy my CD ("I'm Not Waiting," available on Sh-K-Boom Records). You can go do that."