What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

05 September 2016

Get Your Feet Out of Those Shoes: Wicked

Remember a few months ago when I mentioned that I've never seen Wicked? This weekend, I was finally able to remedy that.

The North American tour is swinging through the Midwest right now, and this is the closest it's getting to me for the next year, so I rounded up one willing sister-in-law (Jennie) and we made the drive to Columbus, Ohio to catch the show before 1) it moves on to a new city this week, and 2) some major cast changes happen, also this week.

After the show ends. From our Saturday night
balcony seats.
It turns out, thanks to all the meme-reading and Pinteresting and cast-album-listening that I do, that I had a pretty good handle on what happens in Act I. Act II was another story. It was a fun adventure of discovery and "oh, that makes sense now" as the show rolled along Saturday evening.

And then we went to stage door, and that's where things got really interesting. We overheard some other folks talking about the lottery, which I hadn't thought much about since we bought our tickets anyway. Jennie, on the other hand, doesn't follow show news quite as closely as I do and so she asked Stuart Zagnit (The Wizard) what he meant by the lottery. He explained how it works, and on the way back to the hotel we decided to go to the theatre on Sunday morning and try our luck.

WE WON THE FINAL PAIR OF TICKETS TO THE WICKED LOTTERY FOR THE SUNDAY MATINEE. And since Stuart Zagnit was the one who told us about it, we basically WENT TO OZ AND THE WIZARD GRANTED OUR WISH. There was a lot of screaming and jumping up and down when they drew my name. I'm still in shock. Our seats on Sunday were much closer to the stage, and I heard (and saw) a whole bunch of things that I had missed on Saturday night. And, of course, fulfilled one of the fundamental truths in my own theatre experience: the closer I am to the stage, the more crying I do. Every time.

Some highlights:

View from my round 2 seat.
Emily Koch (Elphaba): All hail Queen Emily! I didn't know there were people who can talk as fast as I do and still be understood until she spoke her first lines. Wow! She's absolutely spectacular, and exactly what I've always imagined Elphaba to be like. At stage door, the folks ahead of us asked her, "So how much time do I have to save up money?" i.e., for her next project. She said, "Four months," but wasn't allowed to say anything else. I'm pretty sure Jennie put an alert on her phone for four months from now before the ink from Ms. Koch's signature was even dry on her playbill. And one more thing: after the Sunday matinee, she came out to stage door with wig cap and traces of green makeup still on, not because she was leaving the theatre, but just to greet fans--she went straight back in after she'd signed playbills and posed for pics. So generous with her time on her last day with the show.

Amanda Jane Cooper (Glinda): Absolute perfection. As the perky, popular Galinda, she's a delight. Glinda is the character who does the most growing over the course of the show, and by the end is the one who is left all alone to lead Oz (I started to say she's the one who loses the most, but of course that's not true; Elphaba suffers tremendous loss, too). Ms. Cooper takes her from goofy student to serious leader so beautifully. Her "Popular" is absolutely hysterical.

Garett Hawe (Boq): Is actually the understudy for Boq, and he was on Saturday night. Another one who exactly matched the character I've had in my imagination all this time. Holy smokes, he totally blew me away with his range of emotion... right up until he lost his heart, and then the only emotion left was anger. Fantastically well done. (Although the Tin Man has long been my favourite in The Wizard of Oz, and now I kind of hate him. Oops...)

Jeremy Woodard (Fiyero): What a gorgeous voice, especially in "As Long As You're Mine." Dang. And I'm really glad that we got to see the show a second time, because I didn't catch much of the scene with the lion cub leading up to "I'm Not That Girl" on Saturday (e.g., I had no idea why Fiyero told Elphaba, "And don't get mad at me!"). I had to see it a second time for my brain to kick in with what was happening. Also, I haven't finished reading the book (still), but why doesn't stage Fiyero have blue tattoos? It's not like this show doesn't already have fancy makeup.

Megan Masako Haley (Nessarose): I usually don't expect even one character on stage to match up to what's in my head, let alone three. Ms. Haley hits the sweetness of Nessa in Act I just as I'd imagined, which made Act II when she goes sour so much more surprising. I had no idea what was coming next with Nessa until it happened, and I was in such shock throughout that scene.

The touring company of Wicked.
The Ensemble, again: I have so much affection for the folks in the ensemble, always. And this ensemble is fantastic.

"Dancing Through Life": After falling in love so hard with "One Day More" the first time I saw Les Misérables, I always keep an open mind for a song that may surprise me when I see a show for the first time. That song in this show is "Dancing Through Life," which I liked before but didn't love until I saw it staged. However, having said that...

"Defying Gravity" & "For Good": I didn't change my mind about my favourite songs from the show. (Aren't these everybody's favourites? So amazing.) I told Amanda Jane Cooper at stage door, "I've cried less at Les Mis than I did during "For Good." She said, "Oh, me too." Nothing not to love about these songs.

There you have it! Two short days in the Emerald City. I can safely say this was a first-- I've seen shows more than once, sometimes pretty close together, but until this weekend I've never seen the same show two days in a row. It seems to have had less of an adverse affect on my brain than the time I saw three different shows in 24 hours.

Have you Wicked? What's your favourite thing?


JennieLynne said...

You forgot to mention how well Jeremy filled out those britches.

Su Wilcox said...

That's a basic expectation for Fiyero. They do fit the trousers to the actor, after all.