A Wicked time with Laga’aia

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By ADRIAN EVANS

One of Auck­land’s most recog­nis­able faces is com­ing home to star in an ac­claimed Broad­way mu­si­cal on its 10th an­niver­sary.

‘‘Put the corn beef on, I’m com­ing home,’’ singer, stage and screen ac­tor Jay Laga’aia says.

He’s set to play the lead role of Oz in the box of­fice hit Wicked this Septem­ber and is rapt to be re­turn­ing home with the role.

‘‘It’s go­ing to take a while to get this gift through cus­toms but this is the gift that’ll con­tinue to give, so to bring such a huge pro­duc­tion to the Civic The­atre is a joy for me as an Auck­land boy.’’

The born per­former has carved a solid act­ing and sing­ing ca­reer in Aus­tralia over the last 17 years in roles from Star Wars, The Lion King and iconic Aus­tralian pro­gramme Home and Away.

‘‘I saw the open­ing of Wicked in Syd­ney with my daugh­ter and was gob­s­macked by the pro­duc­tion lev­els and I think it’ll in­spire a whole new breed of Kiwi per­form­ers.’’

Laga’aia will be cel­e­brat­ing a per­sonal mile­stone of his own when he re­turns too.

‘‘For me it’s great as it ties in with my 50th birth­day so it’s a dou­ble cel­e­bra­tion.

‘‘The big­gest fear is all the ticket re­quests from my re­la­tions. You know that tatou-tatou stuff.’’

Also on the cards will be vis­its to Auck­land schools, a role he’s fa­mil­iar with in Aus­tralia as a chil­dren’s en­ter­tainer.

‘‘To be able to come home and ex­tend that branch as well is a huge buzz. It’s not where you start, it’s where you fin­ish and the jour­ney that you take.

‘‘And hope­fully I’ll hook up with my mate Te­muera Mor­ri­son to get some money he owes me.’’

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