Saturday, June 30, 2007
Los Angeles, CA
Jenna Leigh Green
Timothy Britten Parker
Peter John Chursin
Rozalyn Roberson (swing)
Witch's Father/Ozian Official
Angela Ara Brown, Natalie Daradich (swing,
evening), Courtney Corey, Michael Drolet, Melissa Fahn, Amanda Flynn,
D.J. Gregory, Zach Hensler, Adam Lambert, Alexander
Selma, Terrance Spencer, Eric Stretch, Brooke Wendle
So, this was my first time seeing Megan Hilty after her
"vacation" (which wasn't REALLY a vacation since she spent most of the week
working on 9 to 5, as she told me at the stage door). But I'm sure it was
good for her to get away from Wicked for a little while.
I'm not sure if Megan was just vocally tired from having done the matinee at
well or if she's coming down/recovering from something or what, but her singing
just wasn't QUITE as powerful as it usually is. I mean, she was still fantastic
and adorable as ever ... but it just seemed like those high notes were a little
bit more of an effort than they usually are for her.
Eden Espinosa. OH MY GOD, she had a fantastic show. Now I remember why I used to
like her so much. ;) I mean, I honestly have very little to gripe about this
time. Well, there's her silly cartoon-ish character voice, but that's been true
about her for over a year now. That's nothing new. But those little acting
nuances that I didn't like and bugged the heck out of me because they looked
unnatural? Ninety percent of them were gone tonight. It was like she was truly
acting and reacting to her fellow cast members. It was wonderful
Vocally, she was also amazing, although nothing at all compared to Thursday. She
riffed and embellished quite a bit in "The Wizard and I", and I totally thought
she was going to riff the rest of the show. But part way through "Defying
Gravity", she tried a few riffs and it sounded like her voice wasn't cooperating
as well as she'd hoped, so she toned it down just a bit. "No Good Deed" was the
same ... a few riffs ("Fiyero" and the last note, in particular), but nothing
Kristoffer Cusick was vocally really on tonight. Acting was pretty darn good,
too. Dancing was good, but not quite as energetic as he's been in the past.
Actually, the entire cast were much more into it tonight ... even a little more
than on Thursday. Carol Kane's voice is still ... eh. John Rubinstein got more
into his singing and acting. Jenna Leigh Green and Adam Wylie were about the
same as usual.
Okay, so the details:
The first indication that Megan wasn't vocally 100% was right at the
beginning in her solo lines in "No One Mourns the Wicked". Just not quite as
powerful as she usually is and it sounded like it was a little more work to
get those high notes out. No optional high note at the end.
One of Eden's still-present pointing gestures that do NOT work: in the
room assignments scene when she says, "I'm the other daughter, Elphaba."
She is pointing stage left. WHY would she need to point at this moment?
After her powers burst forth, while Jenna is screaming in her chair,
Eden looks down at her hands in shock. And then she holds out her hands to
draw Jenna's wheelchair back toward her (although, the chair zoomed
backwards a little faster than I think it usually moves).
Eden took her time with the "Something just comes over me sometimes.
Something I ... I ... can't describe."
Carol sounded a little more moved by having "discovered" Elphaba's
talents as she was singing the bit before "The Wizard and I".
Eden seemed to have a little trouble grabbing the handle of her suitcase
a couple of times during TWAI.
Ah, I missed Megan's pointing to the sky as she sings, "But of course,
I'll rise above it!" in WITF.
Megan REALLY drew out the "usually and exceedingly peculiar and
altogether quite impossible to describe" line.
Eden went back to doing the hair-poofing thing to mock Megan. And of
course, Megan responded by holding her compact mirror up and admiring
herself from far away.
At the end of WITF, Megan was standing much more in Eden's face than she
usually is. And then after Eden scares her with "boo!", Eden had a really
good, long cackle.
When Dillamond is telling the class how he's pleased with the progress
in the students' essays, Megan pats Dioni on the hand in praise.
Eden totally went into mocking tone of voice when she said, "Maybe
perfecting the pronunciation of YOUR PRECIOUS NAME is not the sole focus of
Dr. Dillamond's life ..."
Megan took her time with the "artichoke is steamed" quip. And then Eden
sat back down, looking completely hurt.
Sometimes after Dillamond says that she has a point, Eden will smirk at
Megan somewhat self-righteously. This time Eden did not, and went back to
taking notes, her face still showing that she was bothered by Megan's
This time after Megan's "harping on the past" line, she turned back to
her friends, did her curtsy like she usually does, and shook her hips side
to side (rather than just her shoulders).
Eden is STILL stopping to turn around too early when she goes to fetch
Dillamond a glass of water.
Some of the little gestures are better -- e.g. the second time Dillamond
bleats out "BAAAAAAAD", Eden held her hand to her mouth with her jaw dropped
(as opposed to slapping her entire hand over her mouth like she used to do).
During "Dancing Through Life", at one point, Megan gleefully stood
facing the audience but with her head and shoulders arched back. Then after
Kris gave her a little hip-bump, Megan turned to Dioni and Amanda so squee
over it exuberantly (Megan was literally galloping up and down in place).
Megan (and, to a lesser degree, Kris) deliberately over-enunciated
"You're PERFECT", which made that bit a little funnier.
Megan bent over forward a little more than I remember her doing when she
goes, "Do me up, do me up, do me up!"
Megan added longer pauses at, "Oh ... no ... I couldn't! Could I?"
I was a little sad that Megan didn't point the end of the black hat in
Eden's face at "It's really, um, SHARP, don't you think?"
Megan, again, flung the training wand so hard when Carol first hands it
to her that even Carol kind of reeled back and carefully held out a hand to
stop Megan, like she feared Megan might hurt someone with it.
Megan first attempt at "cutting in" on Elphaba's dance was not quite as
awkward as she sometimes does it. And then when they face each other and
Eden is kind of still hesitantly doing it along with Megan, Megan smiles
encouragingly at her. A little less apologetic than Megan typically is.
At the very beginning of the sharing secrets scene, as the beds are
sliding into place, Megan kicks her legs really fast as she's sitting on the
side of her bed. Only this time, Megan had her knees bent a little more, and
her leg-kicking was MUCH smaller and faster. (That is a really good
hamstring exercise, I can tell you that!)
When Megan says, "Fiyero and I are going to be married", she SQUEALS
really high and really loud. Only this time, it was SO loud that Eden
reacted by covering her left ear as if she was being deafened by Megan's
Eden was very emotional as she talked about being responsible for Nessa
and their mother. It really was heartbreaking.
I love how Megan takes Eden's hand as she says that it's the milk
flower's fault. And then she reaches up to straighten out some of Eden's
hair before turning to say, "Oh, look it's tomorrow!" (at which point Eden
has a great baffled expression on her face).
The opening lines to "Popular" were quite a bit slower in tempo (at
least, it really did feel that way).
After Megan took Eden's glasses off her face ("and even in your case"),
she paused, and then replaced Eden's glasses back on her face, except she
deliberately put them on crooked. Eden just sat there with them on her
face crooked for a few seconds before taking them off. Too funny.
Right before Megan went to unbraid Eden's hair, she waved the end of
Eden's braid and hit Eden on the shoulder with it.
Megan is still doing her little hair toss as she sings "Not when it
comes to popular, I know about pop-u-u ..." and doesn't get out the last
syllable of "popular" because she's waving her hair back and forth so much.
Megan did her crazy arch-back thing at "your whole life is about to
change, and all because of me!" Except, it boggles my mind how she can bend
back THAT far to touch her hand on the floor behind her. She's insanely
After the "toss-toss no-hands" convulsions Megan led Eden into, she
stopped Eden, and said, "Don't hurt yourself. Well, you'll practice."
When Megan catches her reflection in her mirror and says, "Hello!" she
points at herself in the mirror (as if she were saying, "Aren't you the
During the scene where Dillamond gets fired, and the new professor has
started rambling about the cage being good for the lion, he waves the tongs
around an awful lot (not quite as much as Thursday), and then quickly smacks
them against the lion's cage. At this point, Eden was very startled and was
actually pulled back down to her seat on the bench by one of the ensemble
In the lion cub scene, Eden got her big ol' attitude again after Kris
screamed at her, "Do you ever let anyone else talk?!" She stood there, taken
aback for a second and then said, "Sor-RY!" Again, I am not a fan of Elphaba
acting like that, even though it kind of works ...
Eden did a VERY heartbreaking "I'm Not That Girl". A lot of it was just
in the slightest of timing changes.
Megan stumbled a bit on her lines, but it didn't really faze her (and
thankfully didn't make Eden laugh) -- "She'll have to manage without h- ...
without you." She almost said "her".
Megan said, "And he's been thinking ..." in a somewhat hushed tone of
voice, as if it was something she was ashamed of and wanted to keep quiet. I
like that a lot. It's funny.
I think Eden started to crack up a little after she said, "Yes, I
heard!" (which, again, thankfully was not screamed). She had the biggest
grin on her face for a few seconds -- but that's okay, because it doesn't
ruin the moment.
Megan added: "And to express my ... um, outrage! Hmm?" like she was
trying to get validation from Kris and Eden during this rant of hers.
Megan said "I've always wanted to see the Emerald City" like she was
REALLY touched that Eden would ask her to join her.
I still can't get over how BLINDING the green lights are from where we
sat. You don't get that shock when you sit closer, that's for sure.
Something that John has been doing the last couple months (but I don't
think I've mentioned) -- when he stumbles out from behind the Wizard head,
after he gets his welcome applause, he turns and is startled by the sight of
the Wizard head.
John has been looking down at Eden's (or Julie's) hand upon their first
meeting, but tonight it was MUCH more subtle. It wasn't so much like take
her hand, stop, look down, turn her hand over, look up, then shake. It was
more like take her hand, shake, and glance down for a second and then keep
John's acting in the beginning of "A Sentimental Man" was nice -- he
actually came across as very thoughtful.
This time, Chistery (Peter John Chursin) tried to open Eden's shoulder
bag to look inside (something he's done before), and Eden reacted by trying
to snatch her bag away from him, but amused. It was so cute (and I really do
love the fact that Peter does something different EVERY show at that point,
and I don't think Eden ever really knows what he's going to do, so it's a
surprise to her, too).
After the levitation spell and seeing the monkeys and realizing the
Wizard had no real power, Eden was very emotional. I couldn't see from where
I was sitting if she was crying or not (like she was last Saturday evening),
but I wouldn't be surprised if she was.
There were minor mic problems throughout the entire show (mostly mics
being turned on a tad late), but I think as they were switching microphones
or something after Megan puts the black cape around Eden's shoulder, there
was quite a bit of static and Eden could not be heard when she said, "You,
too." But then it was back on again for "I hope it brings you bliss".
Eden was very angry in the beginning (and some parts in the middle) of
"Defying Gravity", and then very fierce at the end. Vocally, she was strong,
and she started to do a riff-y "Defying Gravity", but at some point, her
voice started to strain ever-so-slightly and I think she realized it was
going to be challenging enough to sing it straight, so she didn't do the
crazy riffs she's done before. It was still an amazing finish, but I could
totally tell she was not quite as powerful as on Thursday and that she was
starting to sing in her throat.
This past week, I really liked how Kris would take a long, shocked pause
before saying, "Yes!" when Emily asked if he was surprised by the engagement
surprise. This time, though, the pause was not at all as long.
I did like how after Fiyero decides that the only way out was to appease
Glinda and say that he would marry her, and she says, "Well, only if it'll
make you happy, too, right?", Kris started backing away and started up the
stairs a little sooner, looking down (anywhere but Megan's face) as he said,
"You know me ... I'm always happy." Such a great moment.
Megan sounded great and was emotional as usual in the second half of
"Thank Goodness", but she didn't do the lift at "there are bridges you've
crossed you didn't know you crossed until you crossed", nor did she do the
optional high note at the end.
After Eden climbs out of the wardrobe, she said, "I'm sorry, did I scare
you? I seem to have that effect on people ...", she said it in a tone of
voice where she sounded kind of scared herself, to be sneaking into Nessa's
room the way she did. That was a GREAT touch.
I also really liked the way Eden delivered "It's not ... like ...
cobbling up a pair of--". Those tiny pauses she added in were a nice touch.
Eden said to Adam, "I'm not going to hurt you!" in a tone of voice where
she sounded VERY hurt herself that Adam was so frightened and angry with
Eden looked very taken aback when she spun around after hearing Adam say
that Glinda is engaged to Fiyero.
I'm not sure if the microphone was late in switching on, but John's
booming voice at "I knew you'd be back" too much longer to get out. I wasn't
looking at him at that moment, but out of the corner of my eye, I think he
started to say the line and noticed that no sound was coming out at first.
Again, John's acting was much better in the scene before "Wonderful".
Eden was vicious in this scene, too. "I don't want ANYTHING from you!"
Eden was also very biting in her lines about how she wishes she could go
back to believing the Wizard was wonderful. She was practically seething
when she said, "The wonderful Wizard of Oz ... No one believed in
you more than I did."
Eden looked like she almost stumbled or had trouble getting the words
out when she said, "So you lied to them?"
John was quite a bit more energetic and dynamic with his voice in
"Wonderful", and he's still doing all of the gestures he's been doing (a
couple of them are too much, but they are entertaining).
John always ducks behind Eden and then playfully sneaks on either side
of her when he sings, "Believe me it's hard to resist." I've ALWAYS been
bothered by the way Eden reacts (or, I should say, NOT react) because she
would get exacerbated and hold up her right hand as if to say "get out of my
personal space", and it always looked completely unnatural and scripted. But
tonight, her hand gesture was not quite so big and it looked MUCH better.
The last few shows, it also REALLY bothered me the way Eden held up one
finger at "on ONE condition". Again, it was another instance of unnatural
hand gestures (and especially involving pointing an index finger) because
for some reason, she had her hand turned so the back of her hand was facing
John. But this time, she had her palm facing John -- which looks so much
Kris was much better in the scene where he decides to run off with Eden.
For one, he didn't YELL everything. And he took a somewhat longer pause when
he said, "I'm going with her" and he said it in a much softer voice.
It's hilarious the way Eden slightly draws back after she says, "Glinda,
no, it wasn't like that!" and Kris says, "Well, it was." She kind of draws
back a little, looking at Kris like he's nuts.
After having seeing Emily's somewhat vengeful approach at suggesting
that Morrible and the Wizard use Elphaba's sister, it was a very different
contrast to see Megan, who is much less vengeful and more sad than anything.
"I'm Not That Girl (reprise)" also felt like the tempo was quite a bit
slower than it usually is.
LOTS of interesting riffs in "As Long as You're Mine": Eden's "lying
beside you", Eden's "I've lost all resistance", Kris' "you've got me
seeEEEing", and Kris' "it's up that fell". Strangely, they sang the last
line very straight (whereas Kris usually tries to riff -- and has been
riffing too much -- on the last note).
(Overall, though, not really very well acted. For heaven's sakes, Elphaba
and Fiyero are supposed to be IN LOVE. Kris and Eden need to do a little
more to show it. Although, she did grab Kris by the suspenders again,
but it was done somewhat slowly so it didn't really have the intended
Kris typically has the worst dumbfounded look on his face as he bolts up
to his feet and the way that he says, "What? What do you see?" is just ...
bad. BUT this time, Kris kind of toned down the dumbness, at least in
his tone of voice. It was a little better.
Another place where Eden bugged the heck out of me with her improper
overuse of finger pointing was when she asks Kris, "Where do you
live?" Thankfully, this time, she didn't point. She just kept her right hand
on his chest, just drawing back slightly when she asked that.
Eden was VERY emotional as she said, "We will see each other again,
In the witch fight scene, I love Megan's little hand gesture indicating
a circle when she said "twister of fate".
Eden did the high-pitched, witch-like "You're too busy telling everyone
how wonderful everything is!"
Overall, the witch fight scene was VERY well carried out by Eden and
Megan ... one of the better ones I've seen in a while. A lot of it was just
in the timing of when things were said. Megan, in particular, was VERY
biting when she said, "Yes, well, a lot of us are taking things that don't
belong to us, aren't we?" Got a great reaction from the audience.
I love Megan's little squeaks when she's twirling her wand. So cute.
This time I actually heard Eden say, "I'm gonna rip that tiara off your
head!" just as she was being grabbed by one of the Ozian guards. Hilarious.
Eden was also quite a bit more squirmy in the Ozian guards' grips --
several times she tried to wrestle herself free. Nice touch.
No Tarzan yell from Kris this time.
"No Good Deed" is always an amazing song from Eden, even on days where
she's not acting as well as I'd like. But this time, she acted a lot more
and she was a good deal much more dynamic with her softer lines in NGD. And
she also used good hand gestures as well.
The Fiyero riff was short (she didn't go up until the last possible moment),
and she really riffed the last note, but it did sound a little strained.
Still, Eden ALWAYS knocks this song out of the park, even when she doesn't
riff, and the fierce intensity she put into it this time was ... wow.
This time Eden drew in a breath of horror when she started reading the
Eden made it sound like she was losing control of her emotions when she
said, "You're right ... it's time."
When Eden hands Megan the Grimmerie and says "Go on, take it",
oftentimes she'll say it with a little too much force (which I can see
working). But this time, it was in a softer tone of voice, which was quite a
bit more emotional.
In "For Good", Eden did the "you'll be with me" riff. (And overall, "For
Good" was all right. Not nearly as emotional as I've seen in the past week,
which is a little surprising given how the rest of this show was.)
John was a good deal more emotional upon realizing his connection with
Elphaba. Almost brought me to tears.
I LOVE Megan's screaming "Did you hear what I said?!"
I also love the way Megan bobs her head side to side as she says, "It is
my personal opinion that you do not have WHAT. IT. TAKES."
I don't think I've nitpicked this before, but I don't really like the
way Kris stumbles on stage, trying move like the scarecrow. It just doesn't
look right. He was a little better this time, but it was still farther from
some other Fiyeros.