For Lesley McKinnell, whose childhood was filled with the sights and sounds of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, being "Wicked" has paid off.
Now in her early 20s, McKinnell has translated her experiences both on- and off-stage at the center, now known as the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, into a successful musical theater career.
She has spent more than two years performing and understudying in the two national tours of "Wicked," a sort of prequel to "The Wizard of Oz." It tells the stories of the misunderstood — and very green — Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West, and pretty, popular Galinda Upland, who goes on to become Glinda, the Good Witch.
"It's a big Broadway smash musical," McKinnell said. "If you want to have an amazing, entertaining evening, and if you love 'The Wizard of Oz,' you will love it for their inside jokes and moments. But if you don't know 'The Wizard of Oz,' you can also enjoy it because it stands on its own. It's about two friends, and it's about acceptance. And there's a green girl."