Sunday, August 12, 2007
Los Angeles, CA
|Elphaba||* Julie Reiber (s/b)||Glinda||Megan Hilty|
|Fiyero||* Adam Lambert (u/s)||Madame Morrible||* Linda Kerns (u/s)|
|The Wizard||* Matthew Stocke (u/s)||Nessarose||Jenna Leigh Green|
|Boq||Adam Wylie||Dillamond||Timothy Britten Parker|
|Chistery||* Phillip Spaeth (swing)||Witch's Mother||* Kristen Faith Oei (swing)|
|Witch's Father/Ozian Official||* Brian Munn (swing)||Midwife||* Laura Dysarczyk (swing)|
|Ensemble||... honestly, I don't know anymore ...|
Okay. Seriously. How can she NOT be promoted with how crazy amazing she is? I don't understand. This is, what, my sixth time seeing her go on, and I've been saying this since ... how long ago? I don't remember.
One of the things I love most about Julie's Elphaba is the fact that she acts during the songs just as much as during dialogue. A lot of other Elphabas I've seen diminish the acting aspect of the songs a little (or a lot), but Julie treats the songs as dialogue set to music. She conveys just as much (perhaps more) emotion in the songs as she does during dialogue.
And her acting, in general, is very natural and realistic (or as realistic as you can get in a fantasy-land story). Her actions are very much like what you and I would probably do in similar situations. Very little exaggerated (with the exception of some intended comical scenes).
She looks SO MUCH in love during "As Long as You're Mine". Last time I saw her, it was very one-sided (as in it was ALL Julie). Today with Adam L., it was a little better, but not a whole lot. Like I mentioned already, Adam L. didn't do a whole lot body-language-wise to show he was in love with Elphaba. Really, it was mostly the way Julie looked into his eyes and looked up and down his body, and how close their faces were together that made it seem like they were in love (or at least that Elphaba was in love with Fiyero). What I'm trying to say is that if you weren't paying all that much attention to who was doing what, you might say they have really good chemistry. But the chemistry is mostly Julie's doing.
Vocally, Julie was AMAZING. Some ornamentations/riffs/optional notes -- but not too much, really, either. What she does do works perfectly well with her voice and it's all very natural. And she was fierce -- especially "Defying Gravity" and "No Good Deed".
Megan almost seems a lot more adorable than the last time I saw her, and I didn't think that could be possible. My favorite scene of hers is still "Thank Goodness", especially the second half because she is so amazing in conveying her emotions. You can totally see the progression of how increasingly distraught she gets as she realizes her world crashing down at her feet.
Megan was VERY emotional in the last several scenes. Even before "I'm Not That Girl (reprise)", I think she was crying real tears. Then in "For Good" she was clearly crying and pretty much for the rest of the show to the end.
Megan's acting was actually quite a bit more sincere in some places, like the Ozdust scene and the sharing secrets scene.
But some of her "big" gasps are actually even bigger than they used to be and it's a little too much.
My first time seeing Adam L.'s Fiyero. I have to say, he is really adorable. I'm maybe not a fan of his long bangs, but with how cute his face is -- it's all good. ;)
Adam L. riffs and uses optional notes a lot. He really likes to play with the melodies of the songs he sings, which is kind of cool because it's different and creative, but some of it borders on drifting too far from the score. There was one optional note in "Dancing Through Life" that made me do a double-take.
A couple people who have seen Michael Seelbach's Fiyero commented that it almost seems like he doesn't quite know how to act with a woman. I'm almost tempted to say the same thing about Adam L. I mean, he looked cute with Megan but it didn't quite look like they were a couple. And then in Act 2, and especially in "As Long as You're Mine", it almost looked a little awkward they way he was with Julie. I think he kept his right hand on Julie's waist almost the whole time, and only moved it when Julie took his hands in hers. Their making out was kinda hot, though. ;)
Some of his line delivery choices were okay -- they worked, got the idea across, but kind of sounded generic (for want of a better word). A few sounded a little over-rehearsed. The rest of his performance I really liked, and there were a couple VERY nice moments I especially liked (see below).
Also my first time seeing Matthew's Wizard.
He is a very different Wizard than John Rubinstein, and I haven't quite decided if I like it or not. He's a VERY smug Wizard in Act 1, not at all modest about his wonderful-ness (which I guess John isn't modest about either, but it's not quite as blatant with John). He also appears very calculating and nervously anticipating Elphaba's spell-casting abilities as he watches on, rubbing his hands together very eagerly. Then in Act 2 he becomes more manipulative (as does everyone playing the Wizard, I think).
Third time seeing her Morrible, and it's so nice seeing her portrayal which is less of a caricature than, say, Carol Kane's. She's authoritative and scheming. And she doesn't have to use a weird character voice.
Brain dump/random observations (and I'm sure I'll add more when I remember more ... I'm surprised I remembered this much):
Megan did the optional very high note at the end of "No One Mourns the Wicked".
Julie did Eden's lift in the last verse of "The Wizard and I". Then knocked the rest of the verse out of the park. Wow. (And seriously, Julie is the most adorable thing in the world -- in general, yes, but especially in TWAI, and especially when she sings, "I'd be so happy I could MELT!")
Julie's mocking of Megan at "your voice" in "What is This Feeling?" was VERY high-pitched and squeaky. Love it. And the mocking Megan prissily holding her purse with her fingers, and doing the little leg kick thing -- awesome.
Both Julie and Megan's energy in WITF was really great, and they played off each other really well. This isn't one of my favorite songs generally, but it was so much fun to watch them both. Like last time, Megan used her compact mirror to attack Julie with Julie's reflection, and Julie would hold up her hand to block it, then Megan put it down and back up again at a different angle. They did this several times. Ha ha ha!
Julie has a very distraught look about her in the middle part of "What is This Feeling?", when all the other students praise Galinda for putting up with Elphaba. She totally looks like she's going to burst into tears, but then after a few seconds, regroups and re-channels it into her feelings of loathing.
In several previous shows I've seen, Megan has had a bit of trouble with the timing going into "now that we've met one another", sometimes a bit late/rushed. This time, she dragged out the "after all" longer to wait for the next measure of the music. Just thought that was interesting.
In the Ozdust scene, when Adam L. kisses Megan before the two of them move to stage right to make way for Boq and Nessa's scene, I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I'm guessing that Adam L. kissed Megan with much more force than she was expecting, because as they were walking to the side, she was giggling up a storm. It was really cute.
When Morrible gives Galinda the training wand, Megan flicks the wand out in front of her VERY wildly and Linda apprehensively tries to stop her before she takes someone's eye out.
During Ozdust is also where I almost always notice that Julie's green skin-tight top (to make her look like she has green skin) is slightly off from the color of her hands, but this time it actually matched. (I think it was her top that was a slightly paler green color.)
I love the downright bewildered look on Julie's face as she watched Megan do her crazy spastic leaps across the stage during "Popular".
For a long time, Megan's "they were popular, PLEASE!" was very exasperated (exaggeratedly so). This time it was toned down, and at least was not as loud.
Megan sang "ball gown" like she's done recently, but this time she went back to doing the huge pliť before the second attempt, and she deliberately sang the second "ball gown" sharp, and added the extra hum when nothing happened. Cute.
Seriously, what is the point of having the stage hand there off-stage attempting to catch the wand when Megan flings it? There's no way he could catch it with how much force she throws the thing. I'd be on the other side of the wall until after she's thrown it and then go to retrieve it. Ha ha.
One of my favorite Adam L. lines was after "Popular", when he tells Julie, "You don't need to do that, you know?" It was rather sweet and very sincere, and it was all in his tone of voice and facial expression. It is subtle but it is also very clear that this is the first indication we see that he actually likes Elphaba the way that she is, without needing to be Galindafied. I don't think I've ever heard that line delivered so well in that way before.
And then when Adam L.
mocks Julie's spastic toss-toss, he does it much more slowly and with more
exaggeration -- hilarious.
I also really liked the way he questioned Elphaba in the lion cub scene, when he asks, "Why was I the only one you didn't do it to?" -- like he suspects why he was singled out when her powers were unleashed on everyone else. For some reason, it came across a little differently than every other time I've seen the show.
"I'm Not That Girl" was devastatingly heart-breaking, and all of that came through in her inflections and tone of voice. Amazing. (Only thing was that last low note ... barely audible as a note. I really expected her to sing it the octave higher like the last time I saw her. I mean, I know it's not written in the score, but it sounds so much better for Julie's voice.)
It was very cute the way Linda tapped her hands on her head when she remembered she could change the weather. As if she was saying, "How could I forget!"
I don't know if it was intentional or not, but Linda let slip a little bit of a southern accent: "Weather is ma specialteee!"
The train station scene wasn't nearly as awkward as it usually is, mainly because Adam L. didn't play up the awkwardness much at all. I guess it doesn't HAVE to be that awkward, but that's just what I'm used to and really like.
It's hilarious how Megan goes from being utterly distraught about Fiyero being "distant and moodified", practically about to burst into tears, and then all of a sudden bubbly and giddy when he does arrive.
Matthew Stocke kept the ridiculously huge Wizard goggles on his face until well into the scene with Elphaba and Glinda.
I also thought it was interesting the way Matthew looked like he was scrambling for Glinda's name, and snapped his fingers and just about said, "Ah, that's right!" when she told him.
Also interesting how Matthew went over to the Wizard head, said, "People expect this sort of thing --" *knock-knock on the head* "and you have to give people what they want!"
I've never really watched Chistery when the Wizard reveals the rest of the winged monkeys, but Phillip Spaeth several times gestured at the other monkeys, hit himself on the head, and then shook his head in despair.
I really like the way Julie was shying herself away from Matthew when he tried to get her on his side ("The world is your oyster now ..."), and she was clutching the Grimmerie to her chest, fear mixed in with utter disgust.
Right before Julie goes up in the lift, something must have happened with getting into the lift because she took a few seconds longer to say, "It's not her. I'm the one you want!" and her "It's meeeeee!" got cut short. But she flew beautifully! And the intensity had me staring in awe with my jaw hanging open, unable to breathe.
After springing the engagement on Fiyero, Megan yells out "Surpriiiiiiiiised?" And Adam L. answered, "Yeeeeeeeeees!" while nodding rather freaked out. Hilarious.
There was a great audience reaction to the "no place like home" line. I love when that happens.
Jenna sneered a lot in the scene before "Wicked Witch of the East". She's so good at looking like she takes pleasure in hurting Elphaba just a little.
During "Wonderful", I really love how Julie really looks like she's contemplating what the Wizard's saying, like the Wizard really is appealing to her deep-down desire to be accepted. I don't remember if I've seen other Elphabas do it quite that well.
I've mentioned this before, too: it's hilarious the way Julie echoes "What?" after Glinda says "What?" when Fiyero says he's going with Elphaba. It's extremely subtle, but the way she says it, it's comical, like she can't believe her ears. For some reason, when Eden says it, I don't think it was intended to be comical.
Wow, Megan was really an emotional mess when she was telling Morrible and the Wizard to use Elphaba's sister. I mean, she's typically very sad and distraught, but she was much more so this time. I'm pretty sure she was crying real tears at this point, too.
In "As Long as You're Mine", Julie's "and see how bright WE shine" was just gorgeous.
AWESOME witch fight scene. Vicious. And for some reason, I think Adam L.'s swinging in on the rope did not have as much speed as it was supposed to. It took just a hair longer for him to swing far enough to drop down at the right spot, and it looked like it amused him for a fraction of a second as well (you can just barely hear him break in his tone of voice, but it didn't really show on his face).
Julie sneers quite a bit in "No Good Deed" -- very contemptuous, which I think is an interesting take on the song, as opposed to most Elphabas who perform it strictly as angry. Fierce "FIYERO!" (great riff, but damn, the intensity in her voice was chilling). And different from Eden's, Julie did an awesome "No good DEED GOES UNPUNISHED" lift. I think my jaw dropped and stayed that way for the rest of the song.
Megan practically brought me to tears as she was singing the reprise of "For Good" in the bubble at the very end. As she almost always does.
Adam L. is great at moving all wobbly like the Scarecrow at the end. One of the better Scarecrows I've seen.
Julie did have a few line flubs (none of which were really noticeable):
In WWOTE, "Now it's just you and I" (instead of "Now it's just us")
minor line flub just before "For Good" ... something like, "you can have all I ever wanted" (instead of "you can do all I couldn't do")
also, allegedly Julie flubbed a line in WITF (though, I didn't hear it): "and I will be loathing for for-- you my whole life long" (instead of "and I will be loathing, loathing you my whole life long")
And in general, I have to gripe about the people sitting around me. There was a kid (a boy, maybe 14 years old) who was holding a plastic bag and COULD NOT sit still with it, until his mom took it away from him 20 minutes into the show. But then SHE started digging through HER bag for some time, I'm assuming looking for food. Then the woman sitting in front of me rustled her plastic bags as she was gathering them to make a run for the restroom halfway through Act 1. And then the woman next to me talked (not whispered) to her daughter several times, and at one point pulled out a box of hard candy that rattled, and made NO attempt to keep it from making noise when she poured it out into her hand. I mean, GEEZ!