Jordan Litz’s Journey From NAIA Swim Champion to Broadway Star on ‘Wicked’

by Riley Overend 4

January 22nd, 2024 College, NAIA, News

Before Jordan Litz was dazzling on Broadway as Fiyero in the hit musical Wicked, he had dreams of becoming an Olympic swimmer.

Litz grew up in Stockton swimming for Lodi City Swim Club and Lodi High School. He went on to compete for San Joaquin Delta College for two seasons, capturing California community college titles in the 200-yard breaststroke, 200 IM, and 400 IM in 2009. Litz then transferred to Fresno Pacific, winning NAIA crowns in the 200 IM (1:49.35) and 400 IM (3:55.24) in 2012.

Later that year, he placed 91st in the 200 breast (2:21.04), 88th in the 200 IM (2:07.13), and 82nd in the 400 IM (4:32.98) at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

“Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte were still around doing their thing in 2012,” Litz said in 2020. “There wasn’t a chance in heck I was going to make the team competing against that dynamic duo. But I was still at the trials, and I said ‘hey’ as Phelps and Lochte went off to the Olympics.”

“It was something that I knew I was good at but had never really honed,” Litz said in 2022. “I went back to school and switched to vocal performance with the intention of working in a studio setting or behind a microphone doing backup vocals. In my last semester at college, I had to do a musical as part of my curriculum, and I fell in love with it.

“I played the Captain in The Sound of Music, and it was one of those life-changing moments where I thought, ‘Wow, this is something I want to do. I love it!’ I did a bunch of regional productions after that just to get a sense of if I had a knack for it and it was something I could do professionally, and it worked out.”

After graduating from Fresno Pacific, Litz got his start in community theater productions of West Side Story and Dogfight in Fresno before moving to Florida to perform at Disney World. While working for Disney, he auditioned in New York for a lead role in Wicked. Although he didn’t get the part, the fact that he made it to the final three candidates convinced him to move to New York in 2019 with his wife, Julie, a former princess at Disney World.

“My resume was basically a blank piece of paper, but they were still interested in me. It was a great indication that New York was something I could tackle,” Litz recalled.

His first New York gig was in a production of Legally Blonde in Long Island. Then he performed with the Rockettes as part of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Within a year of relocating to the Big Apple, Litz secured a role as lead understudy on the nationwide tour of Wicked — just a couple months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

After a year and a half of playing Fiyero on the nationwide tour of Wicked, Litz got called up to succeed James D. Gish as Elphaba’s love interest last May at the Gershwin Theatre. Wicked is now the fourth-longest running production in Broadway history, having premiered in October of 2003.

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Swim Fast Swim Pretty
4 months ago

Kids don’t try this at home (seriously): but I once witnessed Litz do a 100 yard shooter entirely underwater. And that’s why he sings better than you.

Broadway is lucky to have him!

1978wzlyrah
4 months ago

Swimmers often make the BEST singers, given all that training! GREAT story¡

Dangit
4 months ago

A real CHAMPION OF CHARACTER!

Swim Fast Swim Pretty
Reply to  Dangit
4 months ago

Second that. A man of many talents and a tremendous teammate.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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