Wicked

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 -- 8:00pm evening
AND
Thursday, September 27, 2007-- 8:00pm evening
Gershwin Theatre
Broadway, New York, NY

Elphaba   Julia Murney   Glinda   Kendra Kassebaum
Fiyero   Sebastian Arcelus   Madame Morrible   Carole Shelley
The Wizard   Lenny Wolpe   Nessarose   Cristy Candler
Boq   Logan Lipton   Dillamond   Steven Skybell
Chistery   Ryan Patrick Kelly* (swing)   Witch's Mother   Katie Webber
Witch's Father/Ozian Official   Stephen Lee Anderson* (swing)        
             
Ensemble    
             
 

First thing to note was that the conductor (and music director) from Wicked Los Angeles is now conducting on Broadway! I even half-hollered after Wednesday's show asking if he was the conductor in L.A., and he said he was! And that he's been conducting for the Broadway cast for a month now. It was awesome to see a familiar face from home. ;)

(He conducted both the Wed and Thu shows.)

I also have to note some major prop changes. The wardrobe in Act 2 is apparently different (or will be different? according to Tony Galde). But for sure, Nessa now has a new wheelchair that has a lever for a handbrake by her side. That I noticed on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, I noticed that the cart in which Fiyero is riding in before "Dancing Through Life" no longer is just the bar that Avaric holds onto. The entire front end is this ridiculous caricature of a horse (it kind of looks like a huge sock puppet). Avaric is kind of the back half of the horse.

Okay, show details (and, again, these are just things that are different/noteworthy after having mainly only been exposed to the Los Angeles cast). And since both Wed & Thu shows were identical in cast, I'll do them both at the same time and note items unique to one show as I go:

* Julia actually sounded pretty good (as in LESS sick) on Wednesday night, especially considering she did the matinee, too. Thursday, she sounded a little rougher again. The poor woman needs to finish with Wicked and stop trying to belt those crazy notes and just rest and properly recover for a while. (And, petrajaga did ask Julia what she was planning on doing once she was done with Wicked, and Julia said, "Take a nap!")

* Wednesday, the bubble got stuck for quite a long time at the beginning of NOMtW. Seriously, if it had stayed stuck for a few seconds longer, they probably would have stopped the show.

* Thursday: I was watching Cristy a bit during NOMtW (mainly because of the odd angle I was at), and she so crazy enthusiastic.

* I noticed Julia doesn't sing during "Dear Old Shiz" (whereas Eden does, and I THINK Julie does). And immediately after her entrance, as the other students begin singing DOS, Julia kind of idly dusts off the bottom of her jacket.

* During the room assignments scene, when Julia says, "What? What are you all looking at?", she actually turns around and looks behind her to see if there's anything there the students might be staring at. Ha ha.

* Something slightly different from what I think Carole did with the OBC: when she says, "You must be the Governor's daughter! Miss ... Nessarose, isn't it?", pausing like she was having trouble remembering Nessa's name.

* When Elphaba's powers are unleashed and Nessa's wheelchair spins uncontrollably, Carole reaches out to Cristy as if she were going to try to save Cristy from the dangers of the chair, just as the chair backs into Julia's hands.

* Thursday's show had some mic problems, especially on Julia during Act 1.

* I love how Carole looks through her spectacles, her face literally an inch from Julia's face, inspecting her greenness.

* Whereas most Elphabas kind of gesture around their face when they sing "degreenify" during TWAI, Julia actually touches her face at that moment.

* After "blonde" in WITF, Julia's hands stiffen up by her left hip, almost making a circle with her fingers and shaking -- she was imagining strangling Kendra's neck! Ha ha!

* During WITF, Kendra (like Megan) tries to ward off Julia by flashing her reflection at her with her compact mirror. Whereas Eden kind of turns away in a bit of self-loathing, and Julie holds her hand in front of her to block her view of her reflection, Julia is actually startled by seeing herself in the mirror.

* After all the Shiz students jump to Galinda's side during WITF, Julia kind of looks around behind her as if she was wondering if any students were going to rally behind her. And then she's a little disappointed when no one does.

* I'd written down "gangster-ish" in my notes for something during WITF, but I can't remember why now ...

* For some reason, I didn't notice this until Thursday when I was seated literally in front of a stage speaker, but Julia sings the higher harmony in "What is This Feeling". I've always thought Galinda gets the higher part, but then again, I never really paid attention to that anywhere else.

* After Julia hip-bumps Kendra toward the end of WITF, Julia actually wipes her skirt off first (almost to taunt Kendra), and then Kendra wipes her skirt off.

* I love how, after Julia startles Kendra with the "boo!", she adds after her mic is turned off, "Were you scared?" in a very taunting tone of voice. And actually, on Thursday, I think Julia said, "What's the matter? Were you scared?" (Ah, the joys of sitting up close.)

* Wednesday: Julia was coughing an awful lot during the history class scene.
Thursday: Because I was sitting so far to the side, I saw Julia surreptitiously pull a cough drop or lozenge of some kind (it was green) out of her bag and pop it into her mouth at the beginning of the history class scene.

* Wow, Steven spits A LOT when he's doing his monologue about Shiz of the past. I know it's partly because of the mask, but geez.

* After Julia offers Steven to share her lunch, Steven grabs the wrapper and rips off a piece, just as Julia starts to hand him her granola bar (WHAT THE HECK IS IT?). Most other Elphabas I see kind of expect Dillamond to take the wrapper and they both take a bite out of their respective food simultaneously. (Eden stands out in my mind, because she kind of does a "cheers" gesture as they both start to eat.)

* It's kind of funny how Sebastian keeps trying to put his arm on or around Logan's shoulders, and Logan keeps trying to shake him off. Logan even throws him a glare at one point, like he's saying, "Don't touch me!"

* Kendra has taken up flinging her purse around her wrist both when Sebastian sings "shallow" in DTL, and especially (almost violently) so when she says, "I don't know what you mean!"

* When Julia and Cristy are talking about the "cultish social gathering", Julia has a great disgusted look on her face when she echoes "Galinda?!" (she might have even added "ugh!" to that). Then Cristy grabs Julia's elbow rather hard, and Julia makes like Cristy was hurting her arm.

* As Boq and Nessa are dancing during Ozdust, Cristy sees Kendra watching and Cristy kind of waves at her. (The only other time I've seen Nessa wave at Galinda is with Emily Rozek ... and I can't remember if that was with Jenna or Natalie as Nessa.)

* Just note in contrast to Victoria, Julia (and most other Elphabas I've seen) arrive at the Ozdust ball looking rather hopeful.

* It's kind of cute how, despite the awkwardness of dancing by herself at the Ozdust ball, Julia's Elphaba is actually starting to enjoy the dance she's made up ... until Galinda interrupts.

* I also have to mention how cute Julia is grinning at the final pose of the "Dancing Through Life" reprise, when all the students have gathered around her. SO CUTE.

* Wednesday: Kendra AGAIN mooned the audience when in her excitement of getting married to Fiyero prompts her to jump onto Julia's bed and lift her hips into the air. Julia's reaction, though (as is pretty much all of her reactions to Kendra's insane antics), was priceless as she looked completely startled at seeing Kendra like that.
Thursday: Kendra (THANKFULLY) did not moon the audience. Instead, she did her thing running back and forth between the two beds, but then she hopped on to her knees next to Julia and held out her arms straight in front of her, like a zombie. (WTF!?! Seriously.)

* I like Julia's expression after she snatches the bottle back from Kendra, like she's thinking, "I can't believe you took that from me!"

* I like the fact that Julia looks over her shoulder to see if anyone else is around when she tells Kendra, "it's my fault" -- most Elphabas kind of have ditched the fact that she considers this one of her biggest secrets and doesn't want it to get out.

* Julia was VERY self-loathing as she was telling the story of the milk flowers and such. Her "if not for me" was so angry and heartbreaking at the same time. Then it was quite sweet the way Kendra put a comforting hand on her arm, and at first Julia looked down at her arm like she was confused as to why Kendra was being so nice.

* After Kendra says, "I've decided to make you my new project!", Julia kind of stares at her for a few moments like she's not quite understanding what she means, and then it finally sinks in and Julia literally reels back in horror.

* After Kendra has placed Julia's glasses back on her face, and Julia has wiped off her glasses, and Kendra runs downstage to continue singing the beginning of "Popular", Julia rather surreptitiously sneaks the green bottle back under the pillow before Kendra can notice.

* I love Julia's attempt to correct Kendra during "Popular" when Kendra sings "pop-u-ler ... LAR". Julia looks like she's about to say something, and when Kendra corrects herself, Julia nods like she's saying, "You got it."

* Wednesday: Kendra did the weird side scale thing (grabbing her foot and pulling her leg out to the side as far as it could go). And again, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way Julia later tried to mimic that side scale and then had a completely disgusted look on her face when she realized how much that hurt.
Thursday: Kendra didn't do the side scale thing (which I was only sad about because that meant no Julia trying to mimic her).

* It's kind of funny the way Julia takes a few moments to mimic the way Kendra is kicking her feet while sitting on the bed, before Julia says, "This is never going to work!"

* Also love the way Julia actually flinches in fright when Kendra tosses the wand off stage after the "ball gown" sequence.

* Most Elphabas hand the mirror directly to Galinda just before they run off, but Julia kind of just sits up straight realizing something, places the mirror down on the bed next to her, and then stands up as she mumbles, "I have to go".

* It was kind of cute the way Sebastian stood REALLY close to Julia as she was trying to do the "toss-toss" by herself, which makes Julia being completely startled by his presence that much funnier.

* Julia is the only Elphaba, I think, that I've seen actually and stop and double over trying to catch her breath at the beginning of the lion cub scene.

* Every Elphaba does something slightly different at the beginning of "I'm Not That Girl" when Fiyero runs back in the opposite direction with the lion cub. (WHY did they add that in anyway? Makes NO SENSE. It's kind of funny, but has no other use.) Julia just stands there, exasperated, half-rolling her eyes as she's facing the audience, just waiting for him to figure out by himself that he's gone the wrong way.
(Just to point out a contrasting approach, Eden stares after him with her fingers absent-mindedly pointing in the other direction, and when Fiyero finally figures it out, she kind of gives him a "there you go" smile.)

* Thursday: Julia must have had some major issues with stray strands of hair on her wig because I lost count of how many times she kept swiping a loose hair away from her face, and when that failed, she tried to pull the stray strand of hair out. (Geez, I hope she doesn't do that often because hair doesn't grow back on wigs ...) Anyway, during the train station scene, after Nessa makes a hasty retreat, Kendra tries to comfort Julia and while doing so tucks a couple stray strands of hair behind Julia's ear.

* During the train station scene, when Galinda announces she's changing her name to "simply Glinda", Kendra kind of curtsies toward the audience, and Julia turns her back to Kendra to hide the fact that she wants to burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of the name change. On Thursday, Julia even looked like she wanted to hide her face, too.

* Julia added, "Come with me, *please*" at the beginning of OSD.

* Interesting (relatively) long pause during "One Short Day", where Julia says, "No one's ... pointing!"

* After Kendra says, "You look positively emerald!", Julia is so cute when she replies (off-mic), "Oh, stop!"

* Lenny has the greatest expression of being completely baffled when Kendra says, "The 'guh' is silent" and she walks away, leaving him standing there trying to figure out what she meant.

* For some reason, it took Carole a REALLY long time to turn to the appropriate page in the Grimmerie. (At least, it felt like a really long time.)

* After Elphaba realizes the Wizard is "behind it all", Julia looks so horrified that she isn't able breathe anymore.

* It's interesting that Julia actually places a hand on her shoulders to feel for wings when Kendra says, "Well? Where are your wings?"

* And then, I love how after Kendra says, "Maybe you're not as powerful as you think you are!", Julia gets this baffled expression on her face and bends over to re-examine the Grimmerie.

* Wednesday: Julia was quite literally trembling when she said, "Nobody, in all of Oz ..."

* I watched the ensemble a bit during "Thank Goodness" and noticed how some of them deliberately have their hands misaligned so their hands don't meet when they clap (so as to not make noise).

* In Thursday's show, Sebastian had a slight line stumble in TG (I can't remember exactly where off the top of my head).

* Thursday: I don't remember Kendra needing to take an extra breath at: "there are bridges you cross you didn't know you've crossed until you've (breath) crossed".

* It's different seeing Cristy with an almost strangely self-indulgent expression as she tries, one leg at a time, to stand up after she'd fallen over getting out of the wheelchair. Most Nessas that I can remember either are extremely determine or are in shock still.

* It's really sweet the way Julia smiles to herself as she turns her back to the audience, as Logan tells Cristy, "This changes everything!"

* I thought it was interesting the way Cristy brought both of Logan's hands to her cheek when she at first thought being able to stand on her feet would enhance their relationship. And then later, when begging Elphaba to not leave her, she grabbed Julia's hand and brought it to her cheek -- until Julia snatched her hand away to say, "I have done everything I could for you! And it hasn't been enough."

* Why does Logan grab his side (under his armpit) when he says, "It feels like my heart is shrinking!"? Is Boq's heart on the side of his chest?

* I love the way Julia, after casting the spell to save Boq's life, kind of stumbles away from the wheelchair, looking like she is about to cry from both horror and disgrace at her inability to do anything right.

* What exactly is it that Julia's looking for when she sneaks into the Wizard's lair (after the engagement ball crossover)? I think most Elphabas are looking to see if the Wizard is anywhere nearby, but Julia actually looks like she's looking for something specific.

* Lenny is actually kind of cute when he says, "The truth is not a fact or reason; the truth is just what everyone agrees on", because he's bent forward at the hips and kind of peering up at Julia from below.

* I love how Julia yells, "Up, up, up!" when the monkeys are released.

* Carole is so cute when kind of grunts to bring on the storm after she says, "perhaps a change in the weather!"

* I love how cute Julia is when she giggles as Sebastian sings, "somehow I've fallen under your spell".

* Julia and Sebastian are known for their AMAZING chemistry, especially during "As Long as You're Mine", but even in the following scene, when Julia says, "It sounds like someone's in pain ...", she leans forward to listen more carefully but both her hands are still on Sebastian's thigh. *melt*

* Wednesday: after kissing Sebastian the first time as she is running off, Julia grabs Sebastian's suspenders and plants another very urgent kiss on him. *melt again*
Thursday: Julia and Sebastian actually were making minimal lip contact -- I wonder if to keep each other from getting (more) sick.

* I love the way Julia says, "My sister is in danger." Most Elphabas say that as an exclamation, but Julia states it like it's a realization of something potentially horrible.

* After Julia cackles when slapped, she actually adds another little giggle to herself like she's so tickled by what's just happened, before exclaiming "Good!" and slapping Kendra back.

* As much as I like the Tarzan yell when Fiyero swings in on the rope, I almost equally like the fact that Sebastian doesn't yell anything at all.

* I really wish Kendra would wait at least a split second longer before signaling the guards to release Elphaba after Fiyero has threatened to shoot her.

* Carole is always deliciously vicious to Glinda during "March of the Witch Hunters", but she almost sounded even more so on Thursday for some reason.

* I love how at the end of MotWH, as the ensemble disperses, Julia stands up from having crouched behind them and doesn't move for a few moments. She just stands there, very regal, before starting to pace around with annoyance at Dorothy's crying.

* I'm sure I mentioned this in the first review, but Julia flashes the quickest but goofiest expression when she says, "and your Uncle ... What's-His-Name!" I don't think I can describe it, but it's so subtle yet so funny.

* Interesting how in the scene before "For Good", Julia seems to suddenly realize she should give Kendra the Grimmerie, walks over to Chistery to get it, and then grips Chistery's hand for a moment (in thanks/for courage??).

* Thursday: Kendra was rather emotional and very teary-eyed during "For Good" and pretty much to the end. (Julia mentioned at the stage door afterward that the fact that they were leaving the show in a little more than a week was hitting them hard, and apparently hitting Kendra especially hard. Julia said it was just like when they were on tour, where they were complete basket cases several days before their actual final performances. Awwww!)

* Thursday: During the finale, Sebastian's mic must have been a little misaligned because it was making strange noises, and after he and Julia embrace, he spent a minute or so adjusting it with his hand farthest from the audience.

I am going to SO miss Julia in Wicked, but I'm glad she's going to be done with playing Elphaba. For the benefit of her own health and voice..

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