The last time Tiffany Haas was in Atlantic City, she was telling Miss America judges she represented the great state of Ohio, and her dream was to be on Broadway.
Haas's dream of bumping up her status from Miss Ohio to Miss America didn't pan out when she competed in 2002, but her Broadway aspirations did. And she's back in Atlantic City tonight to prove it.
Haas, now 33, will be one of several performers in tonight's Broadway on the Boardwalk, a free program presented in Kennedy Plaza across from Boardwalk Hall. She will be performing several numbers as Glinda from the Tony Award-winning musical "Wicked."
"It's the first time I'm back in Atlantic City since I competed, and I'm so excited," she said over the phone Monday, minutes before a sound check. "I remember talking about my dreams of being on Broadway, of being a professional Broadway actress. This trip makes it go full circle."
The Broadway on the Boardwalk show starts at 8 p.m., and will be hosted by another former Miss America contestant and current comedienne Dena Blizzard. Other shows included in tonight's line up are "Jersey Boys" and "Something Rotten."
After her Miss America competition, Haas went back to school at the University Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. She graduated from the institute in 2005, and got her first job on Broadway with the show "Wicked" months after.
Working in pageants and with the Miss America organization prepared her for a life on the stage in terms of being a good public speaker and performer, she said.
"Whenever I'm walking into a room for the first time, or on a job interview, the Miss America Organization provided the skills I needed," she said. "I think the Miss America program is a self-improvement course for women 18 to 24 (years old)."
One of the first things Haas did after arriving in Atlantic City on Monday was to drop off her bags at the Claridge Hotel -- where the new Miss America headquarters reside -- and take her photo underneath the crown held by the Miss America statue in Kennedy Plaza.
"This is a special trip indeed," she said.