Sunday, October 21, 2007
Los Angeles, CA
Julie Reiber* (s/b)
Emily Rozek* (s/b)
Jenna Leigh Green
Matthew Stocke* (u/s)
Peter John Chursin
Brian Munn* (swing)
.. no clue anymore ...
I've said it before, but seriously, it is a true crime that Julie Reiber
did not get promoted to lead Elphaba, which then prompted her to decide
not to extend her contract to stay on as standby. The woman is FAR TOO
TALENTED to be standby (and it is that reason that I also feel happy
that she is moving on for the time being). Every time I see her, she
only gets better and more amazing as she has grown more and more into
the role and really making it her own. She is one of few Elphabas that I
feel have both the singing AND acting talent to really bring the role to
Julie's voice is naturally higher than a lot of other Elphabas, which
gives her that youthful quality that really adds to the character,
especially in the early Shiz scenes. The only thing about her
performance that I have to nitpick is her pronunciation of a few words,
but most notably is "wizard" in TWAI ... which she pronounces as "wee-zard"
-- which really isn't that bad in the grand scheme of things, and that's
really all I can think of.
It's been a few months since I last saw Emily's Glinda, but as soon as
she came down in the bubble, I remembered just how adorable and
amazingly talented she is. As soon as she opened her mouth and her
beautiful and powerful voice came through, I remembered why we'd gone to
see Emily four times in one week long ago. And Emily's Glinda is one of
my favorites, mainly because she is NOT the least bit hyper -- giddy and
bubbly at times ... but NOT hyper. And yet, she is still capable of
drawing the same laughs as those Glindas that attempt everything they
think is in the book for comedy.
And the funny thing is, Emily does a lot of Kendra-isms, which one might
think would irritate me. But I realized, even Kendra's Kendra-isms by
themselves aren't irritating, really (well, except for mooning the
audience because that's beyond intolerable for me) ... but rather, it's
everything that Kendra does to tie all those things together that
bothers me. And Emily's approach is so adorably cute and not weird that
they actually do come across as funny (which I'm sure is what Kendra was
attempting). And I also noticed that Emily doesn't pronounce "Elphie"
quite as much as "Alphie" as she used to do.
(And I never really thought about it this way until a friend mentioned
it, but both Kendra and Megan play Galinda like they're young children
-- like 5-year-olds. While that friend might disagree with me in that I
think it actually works quite well with Megan and is funny, Kendra's is
kind of like a developmentally challenged 5-year-old and is NOT funny.
Hoenstly, I'm not saying that to be mean, but that is the vibe that I
kind of get from her (and again, it's not the antics themselves that
play out that way, but her line deliveries, voice, facial expressions,
etc.). EMILY, on the other hand, actually seems like a college-age girl
who is just overly spoiled and self-centered ... but not really
childish. She does convey some semblance of maturity that I just do not
see in Megan and Kendra.)
Different from what I saw from Emily in June, she sounds like she's much
stronger vocally and using a deeper, more resonant tone of her voice --
very much like Megan does, using a true alto tone. Not all the time --
just here and there, and it really gives her a richer quality to her
voice. And regardless of whether she's singing up high or down low, ALL
of it sounds effortless and you pretty much cannot tell where she
switches out of chest voice ... which I find amazing.
And now the nitty-gritty details (some of which I have noted in previous
performances, but I felt a need to re-iterate them):
(my favorites or most notable in bold)
First off, the volume was VERY loud. Much,
much louder than most other shows I've seen (there may have been one that
was louder). I can't imagine how the front row couldn't be deaf by the end
of the show.
Unlike Megan, Emily does not sound as tragic
as she is telling the story of the Wicked Witch of the West at the beginning
-- which isn't a bad thing ... just a different approach from what I'm used
to seeing. For example, when she says, "and like every family, they had
their secrets", Emily says it like she really is spinning a tale.
During "Dear Old Shiz", I love how Julie
progresses from being very confused about the other students' reaction to
her, to being flustered, to being very frustrated and angry by the time she
is lunging at Boq to scare him.
Unlike a lot of Elphabas, Julie actually
looks really jealous when Nessa gets the jeweled shoes from their father.
Julie stands there, stiffly and blinking like she's blinking back tears.
Julie doesn't actually look like she's
trying to hide behind Nessa's wheelchair when she pushes her forward (for
example, Eden literally crouches behind the wheelchair as she's awkwardly
reaching for her suitcase, and it just doesn't look right).
Part of what makes Emily's approach to
Galinda so funny and cute is her deliberate over-pronunciation of certain
lines, like, "Need they have a point."
Also interesting is that Julie doesn't
immediately withdraw when Carol touches Julie's hand with Emily's at "you
can room with Miss Galinda!" Julie looks horrified, of course, but she
doesn't pull her arm away.
After having seen Cristy on Broadway
literally turn away from Julia when Julia is trying to apologize for letting
her power loose, Jenna is forgiving of Julie almost instantly as soon as
Julie starts to apologize. Neither of which are bad -- just interesting to
see the different tactics.
I know I mentioned this before, but I love
the way Emily kind of stares off into space in the direction Carol is
gesturing when she sings "magic grand vizier".
Hilariously cute the way Emily literally got
faint and weak in the knees as she said, "I didn't get my way! I think I
need to go lie down." And Dioni and Natalie (I THINK it's Natalie?) have to
half-carry her off.
I never seem to NOT be amazed but just how
much cuteness practically bursts out of Julie in the last verse of "The
Wizard and I", especially when she practically leaps for joy at "so happy I
could ... melt!" I seriously cannot help but giggle at how adorable that is.
And it's nice to hear "team" as one syllable (as opposed to "team-uh").
I think my favorite "What is This Feeling"
is now with Julie and Emily because the mocking that Julie does of Emily is
priceless. At "every little trait", Julie repeatedly mocks Emily's little
finger point along with her little leg kick. And because Emily likes to
swing her purse while holding it with just her index fingers and thumbs,
Julie also did that while sneering at Emily. And when Julie hip-checks
Emily, it's not with the side of her hip like most Elphabas do, but with the
back of her hips.
One of my favorite moments in the
entire show: "It's Galinda ... with a ga-a-a-a-ah." Emily sounded like a
goat, and it was one of the most hilarious moments of the show. (For me, at
This was my first time seeing Matthew
Stocke's Dillamond, and for the most part, he was kind of like a somewhat
younger version of Timothy Britten Parker's, and with less thick of an
accent. But their line delivery styles are actually quite similar
(especially the effective long dramatic pauses as he is dismissing the
I never really thought to watch the way Adam
Wylie hands back the essays to the other students until someone pointed it
out to me, but Adam's Boq really does not have a high opinion of Jenna's
Nessarose, does he? He hands back the other students' papers in a rather
civil manner, but he literally just tosses Nessa's paper in her lap. Up
until then, Jenna was kind of staring at Boq in a lovestruck manner, but
then she is kind of appalled that he would just toss her essay at her like
that. She eventually dismisses it, though. But wow.
I'd noted in one of my reviews of Julia
Murney that she is one of few Elphabas that are actually kind of surprised
that Dillamond takes the paper wrapper to eat. Julie more or less hands the
wrapper to Matthew, and he takes a really long time to tear the strip once
it's in his mouth (which is quite funny, actually).
Again, I love that there is an actual delay
of a moment or two when Dillamond stops Julie when she offers to fetch
water. It's like she's THAT determined to get water for him that it takes a
couple moments for her to acknowledge that he's telling her she doesn't have
to. (A minor issue, I know, but let's just say it's been an annoying issue
in other cases.)
I like that Adam Wylie was actually not
quite as obvious with the almost instantaneous decision to step up onto the
higher ledge after he'd cornered Emily. (He used to look down, freeze, look
out toward the audience, and then slowly step up. This time, he kind of
looked down and then stepped up at the same time, and then looked out toward
Emily's extra syllable when she
says "scan-da-la-SHE-ous" as she gallops to Fiyero.
I liked Emily's timing and that it wasn't
too overly silly in the way she giggled and swung her purse to playfully hit
Kris on the arm when he said "shallow" in "Dancing Through Life".
I thought it was interesting that -- after
Julie practically shouts in disgust "Galinda?!" -- it seemed like Julie
didn't really soften until the very end of Jenna's pleading with her to
understand. Most Elphabas that I can remember kind of sympathize with Nessa
a little earlier.
It was cute when Emily pointed the tip of
the black hat in Julie's face at "sharp", but Julie actually didn't react
(unlike Eden who reels back just a bit).
After Emily gives Julie the black
hat, she lifts the sides of her dress out to the side and scurries
off-stage. Again, something that Kendra does, too
-- but in the context of everything else Emily does, it's actually cute and
After Adam starts to dance with Jenna in her
wheelchair, at one point, Jenna gives Emily an appreciative nod, and Emily
nods back. (Also, when the tempo of the music picked up at this point, Kris
and Emily started doing some weird almost-Robot-like moves. It was kind of
Adam Lambert laughed REALLY loudly at Julie
when she appeared at the Ozdust ball. Like stand-out-like-a-sore-thumb loud.
(Although, I guess that isn't as bas as the time he practically yelled, "You
look so stupid!")
I love the way Julie comes downstage after
the students have laughed at her at the Ozdust ball. She is completely hurt,
perhaps less that the students were laughing at her, but that Galinda could
have set her up like that. She stood there, staring at Emily in disbelief
and looking like she was fighting back tears, for a really long time. Then
she defiantly puts the hat on, stands still for several seconds longer like
she's not sure what she wants to do, before deciding to attempt dancing.
Again, all the while partly looking like she wanted to crawl into a hole and
After Emily comes over to interrupt Julie's
dancing and asks to cut in, she freezes for a few moments, with a very
stricken look on her face like she's thinking, "What did I just get myself
As mentioned in my last Emily reviews, Emily
lies on her stomach on her bed during the scene change after Ozdust, kicking
her feet in the air, and she briefly glances down at her chest to make sure
she isn't popping out of her dress. Ha ha.
I love how nonchalantly Emily tells Julie,
"Oh, he doesn't know yet," like it's just a little minor insignificant
While some Galindas sit there for a few
moments and then "suddenly" realize they can ask Elphaba about the green
bottle under her pillow, some (like Emily) seem to have had some forethought
in the matter. Emily tries to be sly and slowly reaches under Julie's pillow
before snatching the bottle out.
As noted with some other Elphabas, Julie
doesn't immediately reach for the green bottle after Emily takes it. Julie
(I think like Julia) points at it as she demands, "Hey, give that back!"
before jumping up to her feet to lunge at Emily who then plays keep-away.
Emily is so funny in the way she sits
stiffly on the edge of her bed, like she's about to burst into tears when
she says, "I told you a really good one!" (But she doesn't move awkwardly
like Kendra does ... thank god.)
I love the way Julie says, "My father hates
me ..." and she looks like she's actually going to continue with a longer
sentence when Emily cuts her off. Most Elphabas stop so that "My father
hates me." is the complete statement.
Rather than being emotionally sad or
distraught when telling Emily about her mother and that none of it would
have happened if not for her, Julie looked and sounded like she was quite
angry with herself.
Emily comforts Julie by resting her head on
Julie's shoulder and snuggling herself closer to get comfortable, and then
looks up to see that "it's tomorrow!"
Julie and Emily together in "Popular" are
just fantastic. For example, when Emily sings, "I know about popular", she
does the same kind of hip shake that Kendra does, and Julie is so terrified
at Emily's hips that Julie is literally leaning backwards away from her with
a fearful look on her face (much like Julia).
When Emily sings "I'll teach you the proper ploys when you talk to boys ..."
she does this really cute shimmying with her hips.
When Emily does the leaps across the stage, she is probably the only Galinda
I've seen that doesn't actually try to make the leaps look awkward. Like
they're actually about as graceful as she could probably make them in those
shoes and dress ... and somehow they were still funny.
Later, when Emily comes at Julie with lipstick in hand, Julie pretends to
squint because she can't see what Emily has in her hand, and when she
realizes that it's lipstick, Julie frantically shakes her head "no", while
Emily frantically nods her head "yes" in insistence.
When Emily sings, "They were popular. PLEASE!", she slams the lipstick quite
forcefully down on the bed.
Toss-toss: Emily's little quirk is that she does a tiny quick shake of her
head after she's tossed her hair, which Julie also copies. So when Emily
leads Julie to do continuous toss-tosses, Julie's pretty much just quivering
her head side to side with her hands flicking by her shoulders, but not even
touching her hair. (Great thing was that this was carried on to later when
Fiyero mocks what she was doing.)
Then in the "ball gown" sequence, Emily swings the wand over her head like
she's swinging a lasso, slams one foot on the ground, and points the wand as
she says "ball gown". Then when nothing happens, Emily kind of hums a little
tune to herself, and then attempts the ball gown transformation again. When
nothing happens, she pouts and looks at the handle as she says, "Is this
For what had to be the fourth or fifth time since the beginning of the
sharing secrets scene, Emily did the high-pitched but VERY soft squeal with
silent clapping upon seeing the pink flower in Julie's hair.
Absolutely priceless: Emily's adorable "hi" as she catches herself in the
mirror. Cutest thing ever. Also, the little hops she does toward her bed
before leaping up onto it at the end of "Popular".
Kris mocking Julie's hair-tossing occurred
as he said "Galindafied", as opposed to doing it after as he usually does
with the other types of toss-tossing.
Great lion cub scene -- the level of
awkwardness and blunt honesty works really well between Julie and Kris. I
like that they REALLY take their time there (unlike some on tour).
As I've said a bazillion times, Julie's "I'm
Not That Girl" is almost entirely tragic and so sad. It's all in the little
inflections in her voice that come out so clearly and unambiguously. And
Julie did the low note at the end, and while it sounded a little better in
that there was a note to be heard, it was still really breathy.
Awesome to see Julie shaking out the
umbrella after Morrible has banished the rain away. I relish the attention
to detail like that.
Really, does Adam have shout "It's BOQ!" at
the top of his lungs? More volume does not necessarily make it more
John cracks himself up when he realizes that
he is about to make a pun, pausing at "Which ... is which?"
When John takes Julie's hand to shake upon
their first meeting, he glances down her hand to see that it really is green
-- although the glance is not nearly as obvious as it once was when John
first started doing it.
Then when John indicates Emily and says,
"You must be ...?" he scrunches up his face like he's trying super hard to
remember her name. And after Emily says, "Glinda .. the 'ga' is silent,"
John literally freezes for a second to replay it in his head with a look of
confusion on his face (although, not nearly as confused as Lenny Wolpe
After the flying monkeys are revealed,
Julie's facial expressions are quite different from the last time I saw her.
Not quite like she's so shocked and horrified that she wants to cry, but
like she has a lot of different reactions happening at the same time.
I also really like the way Julie turned
around to frantically flip through the Grimmerie to see if there was
anything she could do about the flying monkeys, and then becoming devastated
when she realized she couldn't do anything (at least, not yet).
One of the best "Defying Gravity"
performances I've heard or seen from Julie. Amazingly clear singing, lots of
great ornaments to the melody -- but none of which really take away from the
melody. (She even did the higher "too long I've BEEN afraid of" that Eden's
done on occasion and gave me goosebumps. Good goosebumps.)
Julie was really forceful at "I'm THROUGH! accepting limits ..."
And I love how Julie and Emily's voices blend together -- in general, but
especially in their duet parts in DG. Gorgeous.
(Also in the last few seconds of DG, I noticed Julie was kind of reaching
back to her waist -- perhaps for the harness itself or something attached to
it? It wasn't nearly as frantic as when she did the same thing back on June
9th, but it was just barely enough to catch my attention. I'm still curious
as to why.)
Overall, I think I still consider Megan's
"Thank Goodness" my favorite, but Emily's is vocally just as strong -- I'm
just not sure I like quite as much her progression of emotion, especially in
the second half of the song when she becomes very emotionally vulnerable.
But still, she does wonderfully in conveying the tragic nature of her life
crumbling to pieces before her eyes.
There's a great little pause in between when
Emily asks "surprised?" and when Kris exclaims "yes!". Kris has this
expression his face that is like he's thinking, "you have to ask? How could
I NOT be surprised by this?"
I'd forgotten how almost overly insistent
Jenna's "he's DEAAAAAAD" is. Not quite as much as DeeDee Hall, but still.
I was highly amused at the incredibly
shocked reaction of the audience when Boq says he is leaving Nessa. I've
never heard so many gasps.
Interesting that Julie isn't (visibly)
horrified at how very wrong her spell went on Boq (Eden is usually a little
disturbed, and Julia was downright distraught).
This time I actually listened for Jenna's "I
still --" and barely heard it. (This must be why I never noticed it before.)
I also have to note that John's line
delivery felt a little different this time. Slight different emphases here
and there. Although, I do also have to note that he was going for the
comedic moments in and around "Wonderful" a little more obviously as well.
I'm not quite sure why Kris changed his
delivery of "I'm going with her" to emphasize "her". I mean, I get
what he was going for, but it was just a little weird.
I have no clue when the last time I heard
"custody" (instead of "custardy") was.
"As Long as You're Mine" -- still extremely
one-sided, although it is true that it wasn't nearly as bad as the matinee
June 9th performance when Julie literally had to take Kris' hands to place
them on her waist (because THAT was bad). Even before ALAYM, behind the
vines, Kris and Julie didn't kiss. Nor did Kris lean in to kiss Julie's neck
when she sings "I've lost all resistance". And a couple times, he did put
his hands on Julie's shoulders, but it almost looked like he was holding her
out at arm's length and not wanting to bring her closer.
Poor Julie, on the other hand, was doing what she could to at least show
that she was in love -- cupping her hands on his face, running her
hands up and down his arms, hands on his thighs. And my favorite little
moment was while Kris had sat back on his heels, and Julie came up onto her
knees and kind of leaned over him, and for a split second, it was like she
wanted to have him right then and there. That was one hot split second.
Vocally, 'twas good. Julie did the higher "see how bright WE shine" -- which
didn't quite stand out as much as the one time I reeled back a little in my
seat, but it was just enough. I also noted that Kris got rid of the riff on
the very last note -- which at one point I really liked, but then he started
pushing it louder and louder, and then it became too much.
Also, after the last note they sing together, Julie leans in to kiss Kris
but it's like at that very instant, the realization that she felt "wicked"
embarrassed her and she kind of buried her face into Kris' neck, which was
when he asked, "What is it?"
"What? What do you see?" -- I don't think I
will ever NOT laugh at that. Although, I do admit, it wasn't quite as bad as
it has been. But really, keeping a straight face is impossible now.
A lot of Elphabas emphasize "do" when they
ask, "Where do you live?" like they're confused that if Fiyero
doesn't live in the castle at Kiamo Ko, where else could he possibly live?
But Julie actually said that line straight without that emphasis, which was
kind of less ironic.
During the witch fight scene, after Julie
has knelt down on the floor to apologize to the now-dead Nessa, Emily runs
over and tries to toss the bundle of flowers she's been holding into the
wheelbarrow, except she almost missed, and she hesitated for a split second
as she did a double-take, but then continued on.
Emily twirled the wand in her hand
as she said "caused by a bizarre and unexpected twister of fate".
For some reason, there was a slight delay
before Kris was supposed to swing in. After Emily's line, "No, I never meant
to --" she's supposed to be interrupted by Fiyero swinging in, but the was
kind of an awkward pause before he actually did.
When Kris swung in on the rope, Emily kind
of watched with a little confusion as the rope swung back off stage.
After the incident of the rifle falling into
the orchestra pit, I would imagine Kris is a little more careful about how
he tosses the rifle aside. This time, he practically dropped it on his own
Julie running under the stage to
get in place for NGD. That's all I'm gonna say.
Emily had a slight look of irony on her face
when she said "in the name of goodness, stop!"
I still love the fact that Julie's "No Good
Deed" is somewhat more of her taunting than anything else. She isn't quite
sneering as much as she did the last time I saw her, but that tone still is
coming through in many of her lines.
At Kiamo Ko, after Emily arrives and
exclaims "you are out of control!", Julie is standing there stiffly,
Emily takes several steps backing
away from Julie when Julie hands the Grimmerie to her, like she's actually
afraid of the book.
Neither Emily nor Julie were overly
emotional during "For Good", but they were both a little teary-eyed.
When Julie is melting, she has one arm
reaching up toward the sky, and her arm quivers quite a bit like she's
I love how very emotional (but not overly emotional) Emily gets when she
picks up the black hat, she cradles it with both arms and hugs it very
tightly to her chest, sobbing silently.
As noted before, Emily says "you offered me
a drink from it?" sounding like a question.
I LOVE Emily's mocking of Carol Kane -- it's
perfectly spot-on and downright hilarious.
It's also BC/EFA time!
Truly, one of the best shows I've seen in L.A.,
simply because of the amazing qualities Julie and Emily bring to their
respective roles and the great chemistry in which they work together. My dream
is for them to be leads in these roles ... if not in L.A., then somewhere ...