Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Boston Opera House
|Elphaba||Victoria Matlock||Glinda||Christina DeCicco|
|Fiyero||Cliffton Hall||Madame Morrible||Barbara Tirrell|
|The Wizard||PJ Benjamin||Nessarose||DeeDee Magno Hall|
|Boq||Brad Weinstock||Dillamond||Tom Flynn|
|Chistery||Phillip Dean* (swing)||Witch's Mother|
|Witch's Father/Ozian Official||Midwife||Ashley Fox Linton* (swing)|
Victoria Matlock has a very youthful and nice clean voice for Elphaba, and she often reminds me of Julie Reiber. Victoria is also very tall and has a gorgeous facial structure that makes her very regal in a way, especially when she stands straight with her shoulders back. In general, though, she tends to be quite smug with her portrayal of Elphaba, like she is entitled to being treated fairly, rather than being angry and self-deprecating that she is different from everyone else. Which works in a way, but it's not something I'm used to. In terms of singing voice, Victoria has one of the cleanest and most effortless singing techniques I've ever heard. Very open and supported, not at all strained -- EVER. Unfortunately, she seems to be one of those Elphabas that only focus on the singing during the songs and forgets that they're also supposed to be acting and telling a story with the songs. And then she adds riffs on top of that, which makes it even less connected to the story. (In other words, riffs + acting = good. Riffs + no acting = not so good.) A few of the dialogue scenes also felt a little flat as well. (And then Victoria has this very strange habit of tilting her head side-to-side that reminds me a little of hip-hop dancing -- it was a little distracting, but also rather amusing.)
Christina DeCicco is also quite different from most Glindas I've seen. She has a refreshing take on the role, using very different line delivery. In Act 1, she is perhaps a bit more perky and cutesy than most, which I sometimes found annoying, but it did work for her in other places. In Act 2, she was much more emotional and overacted the melodrama -- especially in the second half of "Thank Goodness", and then pretty much EVERYTHING from "I'm Not That Girl (reprise)" to the end. Because of that, I found it took away from some of the potential emotional impact in the "Finale". Vocally, she was enjoyable, although some of the higher notes in NOMtW sounded like they were a bit of a struggle for her to maintain (she even overshot a couple notes, I think).
* First thing I noticed was how different it was with a tour stage. Not all theatre houses are capable of accommodating the demands of Wicked so they've had to adjust (i.e. no trap door at front of stage, stair cases behind the proscenium arch, etc.).
* The bubble seemed to really be producing a LOT of bubbles.
* Christina does the air quotes for "you know who".
* Christina uses a different accent than I've heard for Glindas. It goes beyond what Glinda used in The Wizard of Oz.
* Christina very obviously points to the Time Dragon Clock, which many Glindas do not.
* All the Shiz students had a funny, very abrupt cut-off on the "Z" of "Dear Old Shiz".
* The room assignments scene: WOW, I thought Eden Espinosa was viciously angry, but Victoria just might beat her in that aspect. Talk about spitting daggers.
* Paul Slade Smith plays Witch's Father quite a bit older and perhaps even more frail in the room assignments scene than most, but it makes sense -- it is roughly two decades since we first see him in NOMtW.
* I LOVED Christina's delivery of "need they have a point" -- almost exactly like Kristin Chenoweth's.
* Ha ha, there is an ensemble guy wearing what looks like a ski hat. I don't think I've seen that before.
* Victoria makes like Nessa's wheelchair unexpectedly lands in her hands, whereas most Elphabas kind of consciously reel the wheelchair deliberately into their hands.
* The Shiz students almost in unison snap their suitcases up to their faces to hide when Victoria approaches Barbara Tirrell (Morrible) saying, "something just comes over me sometimes".
* One place Victoria did the weird side-to-side head tilt was in "The Wizard and I", at "do you think the Wizard is dumb".
* Victoria directs "and since folks here to an absurd degree" offstage as if it was to the same students who laughed at her before the second verse.
* An example of Victoria's vocal power was on the very extended last note of "The Wizard and I".
* In "What is This Feeling", Victoria mocks Christina by first tossing her hair and then raising her hand and jumping and scooting her feet forward and back.
* At one point during WITF, Christina actually jumped to try to get up to Victoria's height level.
* At the end of WITF, Victoria seemed to take pleasure in the feelings of loathing she has for Galinda, and was rather smugly indignant, especially when she sees all her classmates running to Galinda's side.
* Very cute in the way Christina pointed to the top of her paper when she said, "It's GA-linda, with a guh."
* Victoria was rather tickled when Dillamond said "colorful", indicating her.
* Tom is a lot more aggressive as Dillamond when he dismisses the students -- he literally lunges at the students, trying to scare them out.
* Tom sounds like a cat trying to cough up a hairball when he finds himself bleating like an actual goat, and tries to clear his throat.
* Remember my pet peeve with Eden stopping too soon when going to fetch Dillamond water (which she thankfully seems to have fixed)? Victoria was practically offstage by the time Dillamond stopped her.
* When first confronting Cliffton in their first run-in, Victoria really got into his face.
* Like Logan Lipton on Broadway (and unlike Adam Wylie in L.A.), Brad Weinstock barely pauses when he steps back up onto the higher ledge to make himself taller.
* Cliffton does a lot of syncopation and off-beat emphasis of his lines in "Dancing Through Life", which is different, but kind of distracting.
* After Christina says, "That would be the Ozdust ballroom!", she runs over to Pfannee and Shen Shen and shimmies her shoulders.
* Christina grabs both of Brad's hands in hers as she begs for "someone" to invite Nessa to the Ozdust ball.
* Christina uses a very shrill voice when she tells Cliffton, "I don't know what you mean!" and she does the kick-and-arch back thing that Kristin did. Very cute.
* Christina pointed to the tip of the black hat when singing, "It's really, uh, SHARP! Don't you think?"
* After Christina runs off after having given Victoria the black hat, Victoria shakes her head as if she couldn't possibly wear that hat, but after a few moments, she kind of tilts her head as if she's reconsidering.
* I really liked watching Cliffton dancing during DTL and the Ozdust scene -- you can tell his style is more ballet-like, which is nice.
* I haven't noticed this with other Nessas, but DeeDee sits in the wheelchair with her toes turned in, pigeon-toed.
* DeeDee is so cute when Brad "dances" with her, as she has this huge grin on her face and giddily claps her hands.
* Unlike a lot of Elphabas, when Victoria arrives at the Ozdust ball at the top of the stairs, she is not at all hopeful or optimistic. She's even a bit hesitant.
* During Elphaba's dance, Victoria (again) has a rather smug expression on her face, like she really doesn't care what anyone else thinks. And as the dance progressed, she got really into it, and I might even describe her style as fierce.
* Then when Christina goes to "cut in" on her dance, Christina swung her upper torso in a huge circle backwards and took a few steps to turn, and found herself almost bumping into Victoria, who then gestured for her to continue. Christina took a very long pause before she started the dance again.
* After Christina says, "Fiyero and I are going to be married", she let out this very high-pitched but rather quiet squeal (kind of how Emily Rozek does).
* When Christina starts playing keep-away with the green bottle, Victoria doesn't stand up and reach for it right away like most Elphabas do. Instead, she remains sitting and just holds out her hand, expecting Christina to just hand it back (which of course, she doesn't).
* When Christina is "surprised" by seeing that "it's tomorrow!", she literally explodes into this spastic huge gasp, and Victoria jumps from being startled.
* It slightly bothers me that Christina does Kendra's hip-shake thing when she sings "I know about popular" kneeling on the bed.
* The "toss-toss" part was cute because Victoria's second attempt was so huge that it startled Christina, and Victoria ended up getting hair all over her face.
* AWESOME flub: Christina says, "And now, I shall transform your flock ... your frock ... I shall transform your simple frock ... Wait, TAKE TWO! I shall transform your simple frock into a maaaaaaagnificent ball gown."
* Christina does a version of Megan Hilty's pre-toned-down "ball gown" sequence, singing the first, and then screaming the second "ball gown" (though, luckily, not quite as drawn out).
* Christina violently slams the wand over and over on the bed, and just as Victoria offers, "Do you want me to try?", the wand suddenly flies out of her hand and off-stage like it was an involuntary reaction. And then Christina kind of stares off-stage for a few seconds like she's checking to make sure she didn't do any damage. Ha ha.
* Interesting how Tom Flynn gets very close to Pfannee's face when he says "for sharing your essays", and then very close to Victoria's face when he says "your lunch".
* Victoria played her reaction to Dillamond getting fired VERY angrily, and when her powers suddenly erupt again, they seem to startle her. And then she actually closes her eyes for the rest of the scene until Cliffton yells "well, are you coming?" -- as if she was afraid of seeing what her powers were going to do.
* I'm really not a fan of Cliffton's side of the lion cub scene. This is where he came across as far too slick and not likable at all.
* Beautiful INTG, although Victoria's diction was too much at "Don't dream too far-uh".
* Victoria was adorably embarrassed when she said about Fiyero, "We barely know each other!"
* Kind of silly, but PJ tries to be funny by gesturing to the wrong side of the stage when he calls for Morrible, "Madame, the book!"
* The timing of Barbara and Christina with the Grimmerie was funny, because Christina was like in this trance as she started stumbling toward the book and then kind of stumbled away when Barbara said, "No!"
* When Victoria starts singing "I hope you're happy" at the beginning of DG, Christina lunges at Victoria like she still had more to say and was being cut off.
* Hello Eden!riffs during "Defying Gravity" -- like every one I've ever heard Eden use in the last verse. (And no, I don't consider that a good thing.)
* Christina does this weird hip shake thing when she sings "the Glinda way" in TG.
* I liked the level of discomfort Cliffton expressed during TG, especially progressively more so as Morrible tells her story. I also really liked his outburst when he finally couldn't take it anymore, and Christina was practically pleading for him to stop. (Unfortunately, from that point on, Christina got WAY overly melodramatic.)
* In the second half of "Thank Goodness", Christina would often stare at the side of the stage that Cliffton made his hasty exit on, and she also looked down at her feet a lot. But again, too melodramatic with her crying through it.
* I don't think I've seen any other Nessa swirl her tea cup as Boq is wheeling her in. Nice touch, DeeDee.
* On the one hand, DeeDee's WWotE was extremely pissed off and almost overly emotional, to the point where she was half-screaming everything. But at the same time, this WAS the first time I've ever cried during WWotE.
* While most Nessas make it such a point to shake off Elphaba's comforting hand after Boq announces he is leaving, DeeDee didn't, which I kind of appreciated.
* I thought it was interesting blocking choice that PJ sat on the ledge of the stage near Victoria's feet during the second half of "Wonderful" -- certainly different from other Wizards.
* It was really sad the way Tom Flynn kind of leaned his head into Victoria's hand after she discovers him in the Wizard's lair.
* I LOVED how much time Victoria and Cliffton took to stalk each other after Cliffton calls for his guards to fetch water. They both moved very slow, like they were afraid of having to do something in defense. The rest of the scene also progressed at a much slower pace than I'm used to seeing, and it worked VERY well. Best I've ever seen it done.
* I also liked how long Christina took before she said, "What?" after Cliffton said he was going with Elphaba. (Of course, then Christina got over emotional again. But I did like how Christina did the rest of the scene with her face turned away from Morrible and the Wizard, like she was trying very hard not to let them see her crying.)
* I like how Victoria and Cliffton started "As Long as You're Mine" with a tight embrace in each other's arms. Overall, excellent chemistry between both of them, and a lot of that was because of how close their faces were and how deeply they kept looking into each other's eyes.
* The timing of Cliffton describing "the other castle" was rushed.
* In the witch fight scene, Christina had great timing with "a regime change, caused by an unexpected twist...er of fate".
* Christina was again Megan-ish when she screamed "BE ENCOURAGING!"
* Then during Victoria's long rant at her, Christina stood there, kind of nervously laughing, then angry -- all the while nervously twirling the wand in her hands.
* Great cackle from Victoria, which was immediately followed by her "feel better?" Then Christina said, "Yes, I do!" very giggly, exactly like Kendra (ugh).
* WOW, Christina twirls a mean wand.
* Cliffton's facial expression was priceless when he looked over his shoulder and realized all the guards had their weapons trained on him, and he had no choice but to surrender.
* "No Good Deed" -- again, nicely sung but not quite enough acting to support the lyrics (though it was better than DG). And Victoria tried riffing the last note and it ended up being rather dissonant until she cadenced on the last note.
* Unlike most Elphabas who scream "must have been raised in a barn!", Victoria did not and it was just as funny. Nicely done.
Victoria had a great mocking tone of voice when she said "I can do anything I want. I'm the Wicked Witch of the West!"
* I like how Christina refused to accept the Grimmerie from Victoria until Victoria said, "because now it's up to you".
* I think Victoria actually laughed when Christina said, "and I've had so many friends!"
* I don't think I've heard this much laughter in the audience when the Wizard has his revelation.
* Again, a Megan-ism when Christina screamed at the top of her lungs, "DID YOU HEAR WHAT I SAID?!"
* And again, I have to point out the fact that Christina was literally in tears for most of the scenes from "I'm Not That Girl (reprise)" to the end. Nice to see some emotion, but that's too much and actually makes the finale scene less effective than it should have been..