'Wicked' star says there's no place like home - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

'Wicked' star says there's no place like home

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The hit musical "Wicked" is back in San Diego, and one of the stars taking stage at the Civic Theater was born and raised in San Marcos.

In the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz," Glinda the Good appears before Dorothy in a magical floating bubble. In the Tony Award-winning musical "Wicked," which tells the story from the perspective of the witches, Glinda makes her grand entrance in much the same way.

The first time taking a ride, so to speak, was a little intimidating. It goes pretty high up in the air, at least 30 feet," Chandra Lee Schwartz said.

Schwartz, who was born and raised in San Marcos, graciously gave me a chance to experience the mystical ride. But first, we talked about her huge homecoming.

"Being home feels nostalgic," she said.

Chandra, who graduated from San Marcos High School in 1999, played the role of Glinda on Broadway for two years before joining the national tour. This "Wicked" good three-week stop in her hometown has sparked some reflection.

"I can feel how far I've come in my career and kind of like coming full circle, coming back to San Diego with a show that's this big," she said.

Chandra says-- she feels an extra burst of energy here at home..

"Yeah, like a lot more actually. It's a very, kind of sweet feeling of, yeah, being where you came from and getting to share what I do."

"My whole family is here, my parents live in Escondido. Grandmas in San Marcos, both of them. My sister, my nieces and nephews are in San Marcos, my aunt and uncle live in Encinitas, cousin lives in Vista. I've got family all over North County," Chandra said.

She's so grateful for their support, having landed the coveted role of Glinda, originally played by Kristin Chenoweth, who flew in on the magic bubble during the Tony Awards a decade ago.

Chandra's rise to fame has made her quite popular, though she will never forget her San Diego roots because there's no place like home.

"Wicked" runs through December 7. Orchestra seats are available through a lottery 2 1/2 hours before each show for $25.

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