Saturday, August 18, 2007
Los Angeles, CA
D.J. Gregory* (u/s)
Jenna Leigh Green
Michael Drolet* (u/s)
Timothy Britten Parker
Peter John Chursin
Laura Dysarczyk* (swing)
Witch's Father/Ozian Official
.. no clue anymore ...
I was not really planning on seeing
Wicked again so soon, but I was driving down to the Ahmanson anyway and
figured if I got to the Pantages early enough, I could find out if anyone
interesting was going to be on. If not, I'd leave and not spend the money. So I
waited until they opened the doors and peered in to look at the understudy
board. Well, I ended up seeing the show.
Starting with individual performers:
This was my first time seeing D.J. as Fiyero,
and he was the main reason I shelled out the money for this performance. He
had some interesting takes on Fiyero's character, and I'm not sure how to
describe it, but he played Fiyero with an emotional sensibility of a much
younger guy than most, and not necessarily in a good way. A lot of his
emotions, facial expressions, and body language reminded me of a college guy
who hadn't had much life experience. Perhaps that could work, if he
also added in an element of growth as the story goes on, especially in Act
2. I usually expect see Fiyero show a little inner conflict in "Thank
Goodness" because, really, he should be quite conflicted in his feelings for
Elphaba coming more and more to the fore, especially after Glinda springs
the engagement surprise on him. But D.J. didn't really convey any of that.
He had kind of a goofy grin on his face for most of his stage time in "Thank
Goodness", and I only saw it start to disappear when Fiyero accuses Glinda
of not being able to resist all the attention she's getting. He never really
looked uncomfortable, or even the slightest bit upset at the lies the Ozians
were spreading about Elphaba. He kept that awkward grin, which I suppose
could be nervous laughter/incredulity, but I'm not sure I could interpret it
And I'm not sure why, but D.J. did not do a whole lot during "As Long as
You're Mine" (thus, creating yet another one-sided ALAYM). All through
Elphaba's solo in the first third or so of the song, he just sat there, with
that goofy grin on his face. I think at some point, he maybe took Eden's
hands? In short, I did not get a feeling that his Fiyero was supposed to be
in love. He seemed more ... amused that Elphaba was in love with him.
Unlike Adam Lambert who played Fiyero as having sympathy and empathy for
Elphaba a lot in Act 1, especially around the lion cub scene, D.J. did not.
D.J.'s Fiyero is actually quite self-absorbed and perhaps even oblivious of
Elphaba's distress after Dillamond is fired and when they reveal the lion
cub in the cage. And I guess self-absorbed is how Fiyero is supposed to be
pretending to be, but Elphaba is supposed to see past that. I don't quite
understand how with D.J.'s Fiyero.
D.J. does have a lovely voice, however. Very powerful and very clean (he
didn't riff one bit, unlike Adam L., which is just fine with me). Dancing is
not really his forte, as there were some movements that looked rather
awkward (especially the spinning tuck jump during "Dancing Through Life" or
the side leap thing during Ozdust). Otherwise, he was fun to watch and like
I said, having a new person in a role to watch makes it that much more
interesting of a show.
Again, it's been a little while since I last saw
Eden, and my mind is actually still pretty fresh from seeing Julie last
week. Eden typically holds back just a little vocally in matinees, either
because she's not quite as warmed up or because she kind of saves herself to
go all out in the evening. So, she rarely riffs much in the matinee. Like
today. She stuck very close to the established score (not even doing her
lift in TWAI), but nonetheless her voice was VERY strong and extremely
clean. (In fact, I don't think I've heard a matinee performance from her
THIS clean and powerful.)
In this case, I was GLAD she didn't riff because I personally think it is a
sign of fantastic vocal talent to be able to sing with clear, pure tones as
opposed to all the fancy vocal gymnastics like on "American Idol". (Not that
I don't enjoy some riffs now and then, but they're really not necessary for
a great performance.)
It's been a month and a half since I last saw her, and as I expected, little
things have changed in her acting choices. Unlike last time, though, I
actually REALLY liked what she did today. Especially in most of Act 2 -- I
found myself being drawn into her characterization of Elphaba so much more
than I have in quite some time. There are still a few gestures (pointing
mainly) that don't quite fit, but really, they were very minor. And overall,
I liked the little changes in the inflections in her lines -- they made the
scenes very smooth.
Even in "No Good Deed" when she can be extremely fierce and angry
throughout, she played it a lot more introspectively and thoughtful. She
didn't tear and charge her way through it (like she usually does), and it
was actually VERY effective. She did, of course, riff the last note quite a
bit and she went up high (and stayed up high) where she usually does a "FIYERO!"
The one place that she seemed to lose focus, though, was the witch fight
scene, where she actually got a mild case of the giggles. (Yes, ::groan::.)
But it wasn't completely obvious, and she tried to hide it fairly well. I'm
not sure exactly when it started, but I could tell she had to re-channel her
energy during her rant at Megan, got through that pretty well, but then when
she and Megan faced-off, she had a fairly silly grin going. Luckily, like I
said, she pulled it back together after the guards grab her. (It's a
relatively funny scene, anyway, so it was forgivable.)
Megan was having some fun during "Popular". She
whipped Eden's braid against her chin/neck just before she unbraided it.
Then something must have distracted her for a split second because Megan had
a minor line flub where she hesitated for the slightest bit. "Oh, Elphie!
You ... mustn't say things like that anymore!" instead of "You mustn't think
that way anymore!"
Then during the ball gown sequence, my FAVORITE bit: during the second
attempt when Megan adds the hum to try to get the wand to do something, she
was pointing the wand at Eden's waist ... and then she inched closer and
closer, and then poked Eden in the ribs, tickling her. HA HA HA. So cute.
Then when Megan went to fling the wand away, it went crooked and bounced off
the set and back on stage, so she went to retrieve it and then she flung it
backwards again. That got a good laugh out of her and Eden.
The last time I saw Michael Drolet as Boq, there
were other distractions that kept me from remembering much about him. But he
is such an adorable Boq. He doesn't play Boq as very awkward at all, unlike
most other actors I've seen in the role. It sounds weird, but his acting is
not at all obvious. He doesn't look or sound like he is trying too hard to
get laughs (which unfortunately, Adam Wylie sometimes does). There was
something very natural about the way -- in "March of the Witch Hunters" --
that he, as the Tin Man, turned to his side expecting the Cowardly Lion to
be next to him, and finding no one there. He was also quite a bit more
spirited, in that he seemed more capable of rallying a mob (at least, a
little more than Adam usually is).
Other details (I, unfortunately, forgot a lot of them):
I mentioned this being a very strong show
for Eden acting-wise, but there were a few moments during TWAI where Eden
looked a little bored. Or at least, uninspired. I've seen her with a little
more energy in the past. Still, it was a fantastic performance vocally, and
she picked up the energy not too long after that.
Eden and Megan get so much into each other's
faces during "What is This Feeling". Actually, Megan looks like she's trying
to stretch herself as tall as she can to get into Eden's face.
This has nothing to do with the show itself,
but I found myself bothered by Megan's posture when she's being shallow
Galinda. I mean, I know she's doing it for the character, but it just hurts
my back to see her standing with THAT much anterior pelvic tilt and with her
knees locked out. All I could think was, "Geez, I hope she doesn't stand
like that too often in real life." (Sorry, I can't help but notice things
like that with my job.)
Michael added a nice little riff (though,
I'm not sure if you can call it that ... more of a little flip) in "Let's
dance!" during Ozdust.
Unlike Julie who looks like she's going to
cry during the dancing sequence in Ozdust, Eden is very defiant, not hurt.
She looks at the other students, looks at Megan (who does look like
she wants to cry and looks quite helpless), and kind of just nods as if to
say, "Okay, fine. Be that way. But I'm not going anywhere, and I'm going to
try to dance."
The train station scene was great. Nice
awkward pauses as there should be. And it was great that Eden jabbed D.J. a
couple times in the ribs to get him to scramble to find something to say
Eden changed the way she says "sorry" again,
after Fiyero screams, "Do you ever let anyone else talk?!" This time, she
said "Sor-reeeee" in a very sing-song voice, like a little kid who had
gotten in trouble for doing something wrong, and then apologizing in a very
embarrassed manner. I haven't decided if I like it, but I do admit it's knd
I still really don't like the way Eden
pretends to crack up when John starts going a little wild with his dancing
during "Wonderful". It kind of breaks the attitude she had developed about
I don't know if D.J. just forgot to keep
holding his gun at the Wizard in the scene after "Wonderful", but he had it
down by his side, so when Megan screeches, "Fiyero, what are you doing?!",
it was just a little awkward.
The first part of the witch fight scene
(before Eden started with the mild giggles), she was intense. Very emotional
when she knelt down to mourn her sister, very fierce as she was snapping at
This is also new to me: when Elphaba opens
the trap door and says, "You want to see your Aunt Em?" but while Eden said
that in a normal voice, she adopted a baby-talk tone of voice "and you're
uncle what's-his-name again?" Sorry, I don't like that at all. It's cute and
funny, but not really fitting with Elphaba's personality, especially not at
that moment in the story.