Saturday, May 5, 2007
2:00pm matinee
Pantages Theatre
Los Angeles, CA

Elphaba   *Julie Reiber* (standby)   Glinda   Megan Hilty
Fiyero   Kristoffer Cusick   Madame Morrible   Carol Kane
The Wizard   John Rubinstein   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, Natalie Daradich (swing), 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

I had tickets for this show even before I learned that Julie Reiber was scheduled to perform. And when I did learn of that, I was so excited! (And then my friend and I decided to lotto, and we won, so we got FRONT ROW seats to see Julie!) This performance was her fourth time performing the full show (I saw her second on 4/21, she took over when Eden left the show early on 5/3 because she was sick, performed on 5/4, and both shows for 5/5).

Overall, what an amazing performance. Such an improvement from the 4/21 matinee, and even that wasn't too bad either. She (and the rest of the cast) also didn't have to deal with any malfunctions this time, which I'm sure made life a lot easier. Julie was much more confident in her lines, did quite a bit more acting in her songs, and even embellished with a few riffs of her own -- but not overdoing it at all. Very smooth integration with the rest of the cast, and the chemistry was generally very good.

According to the box office staff, when I asked about cancellation line, they said that there wasn't going to be one for the matinee because there were some important VIPs coming (I'm not entirely sure what that has to do with cancellation line, but there you go). So, I figured that, depending on who the VIPs were, the cast was going to a) ramp up the energy of the performance and/or b) go very much by the book (the latter is apparently what happened when the new Japanese cast came to observe).

So, while Julie actually riffed a little bit now and then, Megan toned down her hyperactivity A LOT. Especially in "Popular" where did some of her less spastic funny antics, but the "ball gown" sequence was nothing like what she usually does. Instead of singing the first "ball gown", she spoke it. She did do her deep pliť in preparation for the second attempt, but she again spoke it (instead of screaming it).

Megan did, however, ad-lib a tiny bit during the "toss-toss" sequence -- after Julie spazzed out with the toss-toss-no-hands thing, Megan actually looked like she was trying extremely hard not to crack up, and then she said, "Well, you'll practice ... some other time."

Megan also went for the ridiculously high note at the end of "No One Mourns the Wicked".

Back to Julie ... like I was saying, a much stronger performance, especially in the first couple verses of "The Wizard and I". There were a couple instances during the show where her voice sounded a tad scratchy, but it was only for a brief moment each time, and she didn't let it throw her at all. There were also a couple of times where she wasn't quite in sync with the rest of the cast (nothing you'd really notice unless you were looking for it).

"No Good Deed" was where she shined the most. Fierce, very solid performance. She's still looking down at her feet for her mark, which is a tad distracting and takes a little away from emotion she's created, but it's still relatively new to her so I can look past it. Otherwise, great "Fiyero" riff and a little embellishment on the last note that was just lovely. She knocked this song out of the park.

I loved the emotion Julie and Megan had in "For Good" -- neither of them were overly emotional or anything, but they were both effectively conveying the gravity of the fact that they were probably never going to see one another again.

Kris and Julie worked really well together in "As Long as You're Mine", but not nearly as much as they did in the evening show where they were hot! Kris did his really awesome riff on the last note, which was very easily heard in this performance.

Other random observations: