Saturday, March 31, 2007
Los Angeles, CA
Jenna Leigh Green
Timothy Britten Parker
Phillip Spaeth (swing)
Laura Dysarczyk (swing)
Witch's Father/Ozian Official
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
Holy flying forks. The evening performance was ... wow. Matinee was
great. This was even better. The energy of the entire cast resembled that of
Opening Night, but this was especially true of Eden and Megan.
The audience in general was very energetic as well, and I'm sure that had a
lot to do with feeding energy to the cast, which in turn fed energy back to
the audience. A good kind of vicious cycle.
First thing I have to mention is how much more emotional both Eden and Megan
were. I, personally, haven't been brought to tears with Wicked since
... well, in a while. But this performance did it. (And it was kind of weird
because I was sitting in the mezzanine, which felt like miles away after
having sat in the front row just a few hours before, but I actually was
drawn into the performance a good deal more than I was in the front row.)
Actually the entire second half of the second act was so incredibly
emotionally charged. Megan's "I'm Not That Girl (reprise)" almost made me
cry. "As Long As You're Mine" was ... um, steamy. Eden's "No Good Deed"
nearly brought me to tears again and I was practically sweating from feeling
her intensity. And then from "For Good" on, yeah ...
Like I mentioned in the matinee review, almost everything I noticed from the
matinee performance was present in this evening performance ... and then
Eden Espinosa: I really love how Eden is capable of adding a good deal of
variation in her approach to some of her lines. So far, every show I've seen
of hers has been very different -- and while there are some elements that
I've liked more than others, it's great being able to see her try different
things. One of my absolute favorite moments that I'd never seen her do
before was in "Defying Gravity", when she was trying to cast the levitation
spell again -- she got so into it, so desperate to get it to work, that she
started repeatedly slamming her hand on the Grimmerie until Megan screamed
for her stop. That was a great touch to add to the intensity of the moment.
I've also never seen her get as emotional in and around "For Good" as she
did in this performance -- she was very audibly sniffling, as was Megan, and
with the two of them together ... I doubt there were many dry eyes in the
place by the end of the song.
Megan Hilty: I am really in awe of the incredible range of emotions Megan
gives her Glinda, and while there are plenty of examples throughout the
show, the one place where she really shined in this respect was in "Thank
Goodness". She goes from barely controlled elation to realizing that
everything she thinks she has could very well be a lie. All of this comes
out in her amazing, soaring voice. I also really admire how Megan is so
capable of conveying the comedy of her role, especially in the Act 1, taking
advantage of every comical moment she can get.
Kristoffer Cusick: Just as amazingly wonderful as in the matinee, and I
thought he was at his best then. If anything, he was perhaps even a bit more
energetic. He was so much fun to watch in "Dancing Through Life" -- part of
it was having sat farther back, because as much as I enjoy seeing Kris up
close, it's pretty cool to see his dancing go along with the ensemble's
choreography, too. I'd never really like "Dancing Through Life" as much as
some of the other songs, but seeing it with the really fun choreography
makes it so much more enjoyable. Kris moves so well on stage -- really clean
and sharp (which isn't something I can say about some other Fiyeros). His
voice, too, is such a pleasure to listen to because of the smooth,
effortless tone he uses.
Adam Wylie: I love how completely head over heels his Boq gets over
G(a)linda, and he's so cute in the way that he has completely no idea how to
get her attention. In the room assignments scene, he keeps wanting to go
over to Megan to talk to her, but it isn't until after he is egged on by one
of the other Shiz students that he gets the guts to say anything. And then
when he tells her to say something about Morrible not reading Galinda's
essay, he gets this goofy smile on his face and waves at her awkwardly.
Carol Kane: The woman frightens me. She never fails to give me goosebumps
whenever she screeches "WICKED WIIIIITCH!" or "You listen to me, MISSY!"
Other random observations:
Similar to Opening Night, Eden came across as very irritated and vexed
at the beginning of the room assignments scene, as if she'd had more than
enough of the blatant stares at her greenness.
Eden lunged after Megan after her "phosphorescent" comment, and Jenna
had to quickly grab Eden's arm to hold her back. I'd never seen them do that
before, and it was a nice touch.
While Elphaba's outburst of powers grabbed Nessa's wheelchair back to
her, Eden stared down at her hands, like she was a little scared of her own
powers and wasn't sure what was happening.
"The Wizard and I" was vocally close to perfect with great dynamics.
Eden's voice was wonderfully exuberant just before the bridge, she did her
signature lift with even more energy than she usually does. I got chills.
Once in a while, during "What is This Feeling", Eden will say "your
voice" in a squeaky mocking tone, which is pretty funny. She did it this
time. Both she and Megan yelled out "I laid eyes on you!" in the second half
of the song, and both of their voices were full of revulsion for each other.
In the history class scene, Megan kept grinning at Eden like she was the
despised teacher's pet.
I loved Timothy's reaction to seeing the message on the chalkboard. He
took a little bit longer than usual in his stunned silence, and when there
was no response from the class when he asked who was responsible, he seemed
to still be reeling, unsure of what to do. The first time he tries to
dismiss the class, his voice was quiet, barely audible.
I keep meaning to mention this (and I don't think I have before), but in
"Dancing Through Life", when Elphaba expresses her disdain for the "cultish
social gathering", Eden very loudly slams her book shut and in this
performance was VERY annoyed. Another great touch, especially given how
Fiyero treats Elphaba in their first encounter together.
Megan had a very mischievous look on her face when she realized she
could give the black hat to Elphaba -- much more mischievous and perhaps
even evil than usual.
Like in the matinee, Megan pointed the sharp end of the black hat in
Eden's face, but it was far more hilarious from farther back.
Something I forgot to mention about the Ozdust ball scene in the review
for the matinee (because that's where I noticed it the most, being up
close): I love how, just before Eden hesitantly joins Megan in the little
dance, Megan kind of gives her a small encouraging nod that it's okay and
perhaps that she's not trying to humiliate her. And then seeing this again
from farther back, with Eden first being hesitant and then more confident
the second time through, I really felt the connection between them building
-- kind of warm and fuzzy.
Eden was incredibly guilt-ridden during the sharing secrets scene -- her
voice so effectively conveyed years of pain and self-blame for Nessa's
condition. It was truly heartbreaking, especially when she mentioned that
their mother never woke up. And then I love how Megan comfortingly takes
Eden's hand, and doesn't let go until just before she begins "Popular".
Megan was just as funny in "Popular" as in the matinee, and especially
so with her doing those awkward leaps across the stage and then doing this
little half-kick accompanied by a little squeak.
After the failed ball gown transformation and Megan tossed the wand
behind her, she tossed it at such a steep angle that it almost didn't make
it off stage. It kind of bounced and looked as if it was about to roll back
on stage. For a split second, Megan started to go after it to retrieve it,
but then it looked as if she thought better of it and decided to ignore it.
In the lion cub scene, I really love how Kris suddenly gets lost in the
moment and completely loses his train of thought, and barely manages to
mumble, "Yeah ... or, maybe it scratched me ... or ... something."
"I'm Not That Girl" was quite a bit more sad than in the matinee,
especially with the wistful tone in which Eden sang "wishing only wounds the
I don't think she usually is, but Eden was rather emotional when she was
saying goodbye to Megan at the train station.
I really love how Eden gets into an otherworldly trance when reading the
Grimmerie for the first time.
At the beginning of "Defying Gravity", when Eden and Megan face off,
they are so incredibly seething with contempt for one another that they are
practically having a screaming match.
This was one of the best "Defying Gravity" performances I've seen from
Eden -- I already mentioned how desperate she got with slamming her hand on
the Grimmerie, and that was just one example of the extreme intensity she
put into her acting this time.
In the last couple verses of "Defying Gravity", after Eden defied
gravity, Eden had several really amazing riffs and she was so fierce that I
was holding my breath all the way to the end. Damn.
This was one of the best "Thank Goodness" performances I've seen from
Megan -- she had the same incredible range of emotions I saw from her on
Opening Night. She could barely contain herself with excitement when Fiyero
was about to find out that it was their engagement party, and then she was
on the verge of completely falling apart in the second half.
Jenna still does one of the best "Wicked Witch of the East" scenes ever.
There is so much guilt over hurting Boq mixed in with so much self-pity that
comes through when she belts. She was also so emotional that she was in
tears as Elphaba is leaving, and she can barely regain her composure when
Boq wakes up.
Eden again did that low, barely audible "I don't want anything from
you!", and she was so angry and wistful when she said she wished she could
believe again that the Wizard was wonderful. There is a terrific bite to
each and every one of her words.
Even from sitting farther back, "As Long As You're Mine" was incredibly
intimate, and the growing love between Elphaba and Fiyero is palpable.
Kris usually takes the notes for "it's up that I fell" up like it is
typically performed, but for some reason he didn't go up this time, but he
did add a nice little riff on those lower notes.
Eden was sounded much more affected with grief than anger when she
snapped at Megan for time alone to say goodbye to Nessa.
As she did on Opening Night, Eden said "But it's happened!" in a
high-pitched, very wicked-witch/Margaret Hamilton-like way.
"No Good Deed" was perhaps Eden's highlight of the show. She conveyed a
good deal of rage mixed in with desperation, which was enhanced with a few
really nice riffs. She took "FiyeroooOOOO!" to that higher note that gave me
chills. Interestingly, she chose to stay up on a high note for the very end
of the song, only coming down at the last possible moment -- it was a
completely different sound and feel that I'm not sure I like. It was
incredible, definitely, but that might be pushing the envelope a little for
my taste. Nonetheless, her "No Good Deed" had me practically in tears and
barely able to breathe for most of it.
The ensemble members during "March of the Witch Hunters" was relentless.
There was an incredible mob scene mentality that really helped lead up to
the final scenes.
As I mentioned already, both Eden and Megan were extremely emotional
starting at just before "For Good", and it continued all the way through the
song. Eden's voice cracked and then she sniffled really loudly at one point.
Megan's voice sounded very shaky in her first couple verses of "For Good",
and even Eden (who is usually the somewhat less somber of the two in the
middle of the song) was just as emotional.
After Elphaba's melting, I love how Megan took her grief and turned it
into fuel to confront the Wizard about the green bottle and its