Wicked

Saturday, March 31, 2007
8:00pm evening
Pantages Theatre
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   Phillip Spaeth (swing)   Witch's Mother   Laura Dysarczyk (swing)
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
             

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 some.

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: