ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A Rockford native had a Valentine’s Day that she will never forget, though it is probably not for the reason people might typically think of for this holiday.
Sharon Sachs’ childhood dream came true on Monday when she became a Broadway actress.
“We were the first tour that was out and up in July of 2021 in Dallas, Texas,” Sachs said. “I was on the tour for 6 months more and ended that 2 weeks ago, and now I’m, or not even 2 weeks ago I guess, and now I’m on the Broadway, tonight!! Woo!”
It was hard for Sachs to contain her excitement. Valentine’s Day 2022 will, from now on, be the day that Sachs remembers as when she took over the role of Madam Morrible in the Broadway musical “Wicked.” It is a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz” story from the witches’ perspectives.
“It’s just a little bit of a time frame difference of when the witches were growing up in the Land of Oz, and I am their teacher, the teacher at Shiz University where they attend school,” Sachs said. “And I start Elphaba on her trajectory to learning how to use her magic.”
Sachs played Madam Morrible in the Wicked National Tour. She was on tour when COVID hit in 2020, right before she was set to perform in Madison, Wisconsin.
“High school friends, and family and people that were still, you know, living in Rockford and even in Chicago, because it was the closest city to my hometown and my friends in Chicago,” Sachs said. “And it was a disappointment… disappointment is a small term.”
Sachs said that she learned a lot in the year and a half where nothing was going on.
“Well, kiddo, I learned a lot about my mental health,” Sachs said. “It was really stressful.”
Sachs’ roots go all the way back to her days as a Boylan Titan. She is a member of the Class of 1980.
“Of course, Jodi Benson and Marin Mazie went to my high school so…you know…I was never gonna be a singer, so I thought, I better just be funny, because I don’t sound like them,” Sachs said.
Sachs said that she “cut her teeth” at places like Rockford’s Clock Tower Dinner Theatre and Rock Valley College’s Starlight Theatre.
“It was Jim Crow when I started and the great, Bob Greenblatt, and Dan Webster designing who are my friends from Boylan who really brought me over because I could paint…and I was fun,” Sachs said.
She also, coincidentally, appeared in Starlight’s “Wizard of Oz.”
“After I had gotten, had two auditions for ‘Wicked’ and they were pushing me forward again I thought, ‘well, I better call my friend Joe Mantello who directed this and tell him that my face might come up in front of him,’ so he wouldn’t be shocked,” Sachs said.
Joe Mantello is also a Boylan graduate, Starlight alum and talented actor, director. In fact, he is the original director of “Wicked.” He is one of many people from Rockford that Sachs gives some credit to for her success.
“It really is all of us who get to a great place when one of us gets to a great place,” Sachs said. “So, I take all of them with me in my heart tonight.”
“Wicked” is playing at the Gershwin Theatre in New York.