Friday, September 14, 2007
Los Angeles, CA
Jenna Leigh Green
Timothy Britten Parker
Peter John Chursin
Carson Reide* (swing)
Witch's Father/Ozian Official
.. no clue anymore ...
Overall, this show had a weird
energy to it. The beginning (say first half of the first act) felt like everyone
was trying just a smidgen too hard to get things to work or be funny. It just
felt slightly off. Things started picking up, though, and the entire second act
was amazing. One of the best Act 2's I've seen in a while.
Most of the major (remember this is all
relative) changes that I'd seen previously on Tuesday were retained ...
thank goodness (no pun intended).
The entire cast just seemed to connect
better today than on Tuesday. Not that it necessarily ever really felt
scripted or anything (well, except for a few unavoidable places), but this
performance felt fresh and the actors all seemed to be having fun and
keeping each other on their toes. Most of it felt much more effective and
elicited the desired impact (at least for me).
In general, it seemed like the volume of the
speakers and/or mics were turned up much louder than they usually are. I
know this has happened before. And for a while, I thought maybe it was just
because of where we were sitting, but when there was feedback coming from
the speakers ... yeah, it's a little too loud. It wasn't distractingly so,
or anything, though.
I'm not sure where to begin with Eden. I
mean, for the most part, WOW. This was a fantastic performance, another one
that I'd peg as one of my favorites from her. She was fierce and intense
when she had to be, although there were again times when it was a little
over-the-top. And there were other times where she appropriately
quieter/contemplative/etc. I'll get into more details later, but there were
times I could almost tell that she was TRYING to be more effective -- not
necessarily something you're supposed to be aware of as an audience member.
Megan seriously cracks me up. She was
especially funny in this performance -- and they were just little things
that were not necessarily her being more spastic or anything. She still is
doing those huge gasps here and there, though fewer than earlier in the
year. But I was happy to see almost all the changes I'd noticed on Tuesday
in place this performance.
Starting with "No One Mourns the Wicked":
for some reason, Megan had to take an extra breath during "the truth we all
believe'll by ... and by". I don't remember her ever having to do that.
"The Wizard and I" was fun and Eden's voice
was good, although a few vowels (perhaps even a little more than Tuesday)
sounded very closed off, making the notes slightly flat. Especially the long
"e" vowels. But she poured her heart into it 100%, and that's what really
"What is This Feeling": about the same as
Tuesday. Great energy, fun to watch, great chemistry between Eden and Megan.
I also love how after Eden "scares" Megan at the end, and Megan is walking
away, Eden just watches her go, shaking her head in disgust.
History class scene: Megan was great in this
scene. It's so cute when Megan says "it seems the artichoke is steamed" and
she spirals her feather over her head to indicate rising steam. I've also
noticed that Megan isn't so fervently taking notes anymore, but at least she
appears to still be paying close attention to what Dillamond is saying. And
I love how she still gets this exasperated look on her face and in her body
language when Dillamond asks for the definition of "scape goat" -- Megan
sits there and rolls her eyes like she's thinking any idiot should know what
that means. It's also kind of funny how a couple of the Shiz students have
this puzzled look on their faces and go to look it up in their books.
In the scene leading up to "Dancing Through
Life", Adam always seems to make everything he does obvious. I mean, it
works to a degree and it's funny, but -- for example -- I wish he wouldn't
turn his head to the audience (even if he is looking at the fourth wall) as
he steps up onto the higher ledge to make himself taller. Megan was being
particularly cutesy here, playing with her hair, grinning widely, and idly
twisting side-to-side as she stares at or talks to Kris.
"Dancing Through Life": I was giggling like
crazy over just what Megan was doing. I think I was watching Megan more than
anything else during this scene, and I don't remember everything she did,
but the funniest was right at the beginning of the song, as Kris is singing,
and Megan is slightly bent forward peering up at Kris almost from below. And
then she did the slow running of her purse down Kris' arm after he said
"shallow". And for much of the rest of the song, Megan is watching Kris,
half dancing along, and trying at every opportunity to be by his side. It's
Oh, and the other thing I had to point out
about DTL was in the sequence between Galinda and Boq, and Megan
deliberately and VERY obviously touched him on his chest (referencing back
to when Boq just about has a heart attack from joy when Galinda touches him
for the first time), to get him to agree to ask Nessa to the Ozdust ball.
And then after Adam goes off-stage with Jenna, Megan did that
arch-back-and-kick thing that I think Kristin did.
I miss Megan emphasizing "sharp" when she's
giving Eden the black pointy hat -- when she used to tilt the pointed end of
hat into Eden's face, causing Eden to reel back. Bring it back! It was too
cute. And then after she gives Eden the hat, Megan holds the bottom of her
skirt out to the side as she half-prances, half-gallops off-stage.
In the sharing secrets scene, I like how
Megan was almost physically shocked when Eden ripped the green bottle from
her hands when she was playing keep-away. And later, when Megan points out
that it was the milk flowers' fault, she had an amazing sensitivity in the
way she was comforting Eden. Again, great use of extended silence. Megan
very tentatively reached for Eden's hand and took it in hers, and gave her a
gentle reassuring smile. It was very sweet.
I giggled again when Megan said, "And Elphie
-- is it all right if I call you 'Elpheeeeeeee'?" And then it was really
cute how Megan very slowly but very deliberately poked Eden in the shoulder
as she said, "I've decided to make YOU my new project."
During the "toss-toss" scene, after Eden and
Megan go into "toss-toss no-hands" (in which Eden does a GREAT impression of
Megan's voice), Megan tells her "shake it, shake it". Later, after "Popular"
when Eden tries the "toss-toss" herself, she repeats "shake it, shake it" --
which Kris ALSO mimicked when he mocked her. It was hilarious.
Also at the very end of "Popular", as
Megan's bed is starting to move off-stage, she gives herself the biggest
kiss on the mirror and then waves hello at herself with her finger. Very
Eden was looking down at the floor/her feet
a lot more toward the end of "I'm Not That Girl" than I think she usually
does, which makes that verse all the much more heartbreaking. Very nice.
I watched a little more closely during the
train station scene this time, and sure enough, Kris didn't even ACKNOWLEDGE
Megan when he ran by her to give Eden the flowers. And it wasn't until Megan
deliberately stepped between Kris and Eden that Kris even seemed to notice
Megan was there. I also really like the little pause Megan had before
correcting Eden, "It's Glinda now!" It gives a little more indication of her
This was one of the best "Defying Gravity"s
I've seen in a LONG time. I mean, I was immediately sucked in after Carol's
insane "wicked wiiiiiiitch". Just the little inflections in Eden's voice,
especially when she sang "it's time to trust my instincts", and put a really
nice and long dramatic pause between "close my eyes" and "and leap". Then
Eden made really good use of quiet intensity. And Eden was visibly shaking
when she asked Megan, "Well, are you coming?"
Vocally, DG wasn't quite as strong as
Tuesday (again, a few vowels that sounded closed off), and Eden also chose
to do the same-note "everyone deserves the chance to fly" that I don't like
much. She was fierce, though. And I really like the higher note on "too long
I've BEEN afraid of".
Other notes about "Defying Gravity": Geez,
Eden was chanting the levitation spell really fast. Eden's "they'll never
bring us down" had a fantastic edge in her voice. And both she and Megan
were VERY emotional when they were realizing that they were parting ways.
"Thank Goodness": Again, Megan amazes me
with the amount of emotion that pours out of her, especially in the second
half of the song. This was probably one of the most emotional I've seen from
her. Megan and Kris played well off each other, especially with Kris looking
increasingly uncomfortable as the first half of the scene progressed.
In "Wicked Witch of the East", Jenna kind of
shocked me when she said really loudly to Eden, "He's DEAAAAAAAAD!" Much
louder and drawn out than she usually does it.
Something I noticed (and I think liked)
months ago, but never got around to mentioning: in the transition sequence
after "Wicked Witch of the East", where we catch a glimpse of Glinda and
Fiyero's engagement ball, after Kris leads Megan downstage where she
curtsies to the audience and they start walking back upstage, there is a
female ensemble dancer that kind of lingers, and Kris' gaze lingers on HER
for a little too long until he sees Megan almost glaring at him. Then Kris
stiffens up and looks straight ahead as they walk off-stage arm in arm.
Wow, I LOVED Eden's disgust toward John in
the scene before "Wonderful". I haven't seen her THAT vicious in quite some
time. Especially "I don't want ... anything from you" and "anything"
was practically hissed out. And the entire time throughout the rest of the
scene, she was very bitter and cold. And during "Wonderful" itself, she had
this great expression of puzzled contemplation on her face as if she was
having a bit of a hard time processing what the Wizard was singing about,
but that there was some appeal to it as well.
After Tuesday's show, I meant to make a note
of specifics of what John changed with his "Wonderful" choreography. Most
notable is that he isn't pretending to shake himself out of a daze when he
does the huge "balloooooon" gesture. Thank goodness, because that always
bothered me a lot.
In the scene following "Wonderful", when the
Wizard calls for the guards and Fiyero runs in and stops short upon seeing
Elphaba, there was some intense eye contact between Kris and Eden. And then
Eden was VERY distraught when she thought Kris had turned and believed the
lies that were being spread about her.
"As Long as You're Mine": Somewhat one-sided
... again. I think Eden was doing a lot more than usual in conveying a sense
of urgency and desire (and from where I was sitting, I was seeing mostly the
back of her head) ... but very little from Kris. Vocally, Eden sounded
great, and there were moments where her voice blended well with Kris', but
there were lines where it felt like Kris was pushing too hard (especially,
"maybe I'm brAAAAIIIIN-less").
I did really like the way Eden grabbed Kris'
suspenders, pulling him slowly (very slowly up from sitting on his heels).
And at the very end, when Eden said, "I feel ... wicked!" she said it
in a somewhat hushed voice, VERY quickly grabbed Kris and pretty much
enveloped him in one really hot kiss.
The witch fight scene was great, although I
think Tuesday's was a little more engaging (even if Eden was screaming a bit
too much). I thought something looked off about Megan's wand, and there were
a few pieces missing from the top of her wand. And then another piece broke
off when Megan later tossed the wand to the floor.
Oh, and then a really funny moment after
Kris drops his rifle and the Ozian guards grab him. Apparently, Kris tossed
the rifle a little too hard and it bounced off the stage ... and INTO the
orchestra pit. Big oops!
Another example of Eden being completely
livid was in "No Good Deed". Usually after the second time through the
chant, she gets frustrated, slams the Grimmerie shut and storms off a few
steps to her right. This time, though, she slammed the Grimmerie shut and
then violently started pounding the Grimmerie with her fist as she screeched
"what good is this chanting?!" The rest of NGD was intense and very fierce.
She again did the short "Fiyero" lift, and did an extended riff on the last
I don't think I've ever heard the audience
THIS silent when Elphaba appears, popping up from the trapdoor. Usually, if
there isn't applause or gasps of surprise, there's usually at least a few
snickers or something. But there was NOTHING. It was kind of sad.