It’s no surprise Tennessee has star-studded talent within its borders: Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Tina Turner, B.B. King, Kings of Leon, Paramore, and Judah & the Lion are just some of the artists who were made in Tennessee. But what about Broadway stars? For Ginna Claire Mason, who plays Glinda on tour in the Tony Award-winning musical Wicked, you could say Tennessee was her springboard.
“I love telling this beautiful story of friendship! Glinda is dynamic, earnest, and witty. And, oh my goodness, the gorgeous costumes are a lot of fun, too!”
Originally from Brentwood about 20 minutes south of Nashville, Tennessee, Ginna Claire grew up on “The Sound of Music,” “My Fair Lady” and “Annie” soundtracks. She performed with the Star Bright Players of the Williamson County Parks and Recreation Department; took voice lessons at Franklin Brentwood Arts Academy and dance lessons at Franklin School of Performing Arts.
Now, the Brentwood-native-turned-Broadway star is on tour with Wicked, playing in Nashville now through April 22. Even though she travels to many places while on tour, Tennessee holds a special place in her heart: “I love that people are so considerate and friendly. The air and the tea are sweetest here in Tennessee.”
Before going into the spotlight, Ginna Claire told us about some of her top spots when visiting Tennessee.
Meridee’s Breadbasket – Franklin
Homemade comfort food made from scratch is at the forefront of Meridee’s Breadbasket’s operations, which a good reason why it’s one of Ginna Claire’s go-to restaurants. “My favorite place to eat is Meridee’s in downtown Franklin! I always order the same thing: chicken salad sandwich on egg bread, frozen fruit side, and fruit tea (and one of their delicious, fresh turnovers, if I want a dessert)!” Your sweet tooth will be silenced when you order the fresh cheese bearclaw, cinnamon raisin roll, fruit turnover, and snickerdoodle and peanut butter cookies. Meridee’s is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Wednesdays and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays.
Puffy Muffin – Brentwood
Ginna Claire frequents the Brentwood area when she’s home and one of her favorite local spots is Puffy Muffin. “I love the poppy seed chicken casserole at Puffy Muffin in Brentwood.” Shredded chicken in a Parmesan cream sauce tossed with poppy seeds and cracker crumbs with rice, cranberry salad and a fresh roll – this dish may soon become your favorite as well. Puffy Muffin also offers a gluten-free menu, fresh salads and salivating bakery options like molasses cookies, crème Brulee and chocolate frosted brownies.