Sunday, March 4, 2007
Los Angeles, CA
|Elphaba||Eden Espinosa||Glinda||Megan Hilty|
|Fiyero||Kristoffer Cusick||Madame Morrible||Carol Kane|
|The Wizard||John Rubenstein||Nessarose||Jenna Leigh Green|
|Boq||Adam Wylie||Dillamond||Timothy Britten Parker|
|Chistery||Peter John Chursin||Witch's Mother||Gina Starbuck|
|Witch's Father/Ozian Official||Matthew Stocke||Midwife||Linda Kerns|
|Ensemble||Angela Ara Brown, Dioni Michelle Collins, Courtney Corey, Michael Drolet, Melissa Fahn, Amanda Flynn, D.J. Gregory, Zach Hensler, Lindsay Janisse, Adam Lambert, Alexander Selma, Terrance Spencer, Eric Stretch, Brooke Wendle|
This time I came to the show with friends, which made the experience so much more fun! I didn't have time to write a "real" review, so here is a brain dump I did the next day:
Our seats were 4th and 5th row mezzanine, so they weren't too shabby. I missed not being able to see everything as up close, but being able to take in all the scenery and lighting effects from farther back made up for it. And the acoustics at right center mezzanine weren't too bad either (knowing that the side mezzanine sections have HORRIBLE echo problems). Although, there was an issue with something (perhaps someone's assisted listening device) that was making a high-pitched beeping sound that could be heard (and even a little annoying) during the soft parts of the show.
Megan was absolutely brilliant from the moment her bubble floated in. Wow. You would never know she'd done a matinee show earlier in the day. Her singing was absolutely effortless and her acting was such a joy to watch. She was actually quite a bit more "cutesy" than I've seen in previous shows, which was lots of fun.
In fact, the entire cast seemed to have undergone some slight tweaking of their acting and singing. It kind of felt like a different show in comparison to the previous three I've seen of the L.A. cast. Nothing at all drastic, but little things like timing and minor blocking that I noticed.
Overall, Eden was a lot more mellow than in the other shows, even last
week -- both in terms of acting and singing. But if you think of what she'd
been doing in the first couple weeks as a full sprint, you can only sustain
a full sprint for so long before it becomes too much and you have to slow
down. That isn't to say that Eden's performance was disappointing in any way
-- she did quite a bit less vocally and a little less in terms of acting
intensity, but what she did do was right on the button. You still had
to say "wow" to her performance.
(Oh, wait -- apparently Eden has been sick in the past week or so. That would explain a lot.)
"Dear Old Shiz": Megan did a much more elaborate "old" upon her re-entrance as Galinda, which was very funny. Carol Kane was probably the one with a very different feel in the delivery of her lines. Again, nothing drastic but there are little changes in inflections and timing (that only a nut like me would pick out).
"The Wizard and I": Extremely clean and very powerful. There was maybe a tiny riff somewhere, but that was all. Eden didn't do her signature lift at "feeling things I never felt" and the last verse of the song was sung straight without any embellishment. BUT, what she did do was with 100% effort and feeling. She still took my breath away.
"What is This Feeling": There was electricity between Megan and Eden, and you got the feeling that there was unadulterated loathing between them. The choreography was crisp, and I still love the way Megan tries to ward Eden off by turning the mirror of her compact right at Eden.
"Something Bad": Again, Megan was so much fun to watch during the history class scene and she got some big laughs with her "artichoke" and "harping on the past" lines. Timothy is slowly growing on me as Dillamond, and he was also another actor whose timing and whatnot felt different from before. His reaction to seeing the chalkboard message seemed like it hit him much harder.
"Dancing Through Life": Kris was full of energy and it definitely came through in his singing and dancing. And I loved his interaction with Megan, and how Megan was so caught up on trying to be center of his attention. There was one issue with timing, however. One of them dragged out the dialogue a second too long and Megan had to rush to be on time with the orchestra at "Now that we've met one another ..." Oh, and when Kris went to toss Adam's book into the wings, he kind of missed -- it hit one of the set pieces and bounced right back on stage. Luckily Adam was already running after it and scooped it up and kept going.
"Popular": Fun, as always. Megan was a burst of energy and she got a lot of laughs, and this was where she was especially "cutesy". She was also particularly awkward with her little leaps across the stage and with her little kick halfway through the song, which was really funny.
The lion cub scene: Again, Timothy did great in portraying Dillamond's dispirited reaction to getting fired -- somewhat downcast, yet resilient in not giving up. And then Kris and Eden's interaction is so good -- very emotionally charged. The tension and the attraction between them is very palpable, as well as natural.
"I'm Not That Girl": Lovely, sad, maybe even a little raw.
"One Short Day": In the scene leading up to the song itself, Megan was hilarious in trying to distract Kris and Eden from each other. You could sense how hard she was grasping at straws -- anything. OSD itself was fun, as always. But I did notice sitting up in the mezzanine how overpowering a lot of the new green lights are. (Even CC said at one point she had to force herself to stare at the performers so as to not be blinded by them.)
"A Sentimental Man": It's hard to remember a first-time viewer's perspective, but knowing this musical as well as I do, I've come to appreciate a lot of the foreshadowing that goes on in this song. Just enough so that's not beating you over the head with it. John seems to settle into this role a little more and more each time I see him.
"Defying Gravity": Despite Eden not riffing, this was where she was most
intense with her inflections and dynamics of speech. Really, I should stop
complaining about Eden not riffing (though, I don't think of it as
complaining), because with the acting she did here, she doesn't need to. All
the dramatics of the moment comes through even when she sings the notes
Also, I haven't mentioned it before, but I really do like the bit of new staging with Megan putting the black cloak around Eden while Eden is crouching, and then having Eden slowly standing to the background of timpani drums. Elphaba has been fully transformed into the image we know of the Wicked Witch of the West, and it's a dramatic moment.
"Thank Goodness": Again, Megan at her best. Vocally and acting. She did the new lift and also the high note at the end. Wow.
"Wicked Witch of the East": I love how much Jenna pours herself into her Nessa, and you can't help but feel sorry for her. One thing new I did noticed with Jenna's performance was how much more she played up being new to standing and walking. She pretty much wobbled around the entire scene.
"Wonderful": Eden wasn't nearly as ferocious, but the interaction between her and John was still great. And John's caricature of this song (which is rather playful) is fun to watch. And as I've mentioned before, when Elphaba finds Dr. Dillamond under the blanket, that is one of the saddest moments in the whole show with how much despair comes out of Timothy's bleats (and his body language, too).
"As Long As You're Mine": Both Eden and Kris sang so beautifully together, and with both of them being "on" vocally this performance, it was almost magical how well their voices blended. So much passion in their voices. Sigh ...
"No Good Deed": Again, not nearly as fierce as Eden is capable of (and no riffs that I can remember), but it was still very stirring -- especially with the darker purple and green shadows in the second half of the song. It's very haunting and Eden's tone of voice matches it perfectly.
"For Good": How Megan can carry so much emotion in the first half of this song every time amazes me. Her and Eden's voices also blended very well together, which only made the reprise of this song in the finale that much more heart-wrenching.
The Wizard's revelation: It's already very emotionally charged, but when the John crumples to the ground clutching both of the green bottles, it just heightens the devastation he is feeling.
Finale: Beautifully tragic. I can't think of any other words right now to describe the sadness built up between Megan and Eden, especially when Megan sings "Who can say if I've been changed for the better" really high. There is such a heavy sense of "if only" that really makes you wish circumstances were completely different.