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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked

EvanstonDad
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#1
Posted: 9/11/20 at 10:42am

I came across footage of Megan Hilty performing the song Popular in Wicked and thought she was pretty funny and adorable. But then I found some footage of Kristin Chenoweth singing the same song song in her last appearance in the show. It might not be fair to compare, since the energy for Chenoweth was off the charts given it was her last show (plus she did some hilarious ad-libbing involving a book her character had written on how to be more popular that had the Elphaba cracking up). But I was blown away by Chenoweth and couldn't help think that Hilty, good as she was, paled in comparison. So I'm wondering, for anyone who saw Chenoweth in the role and then other actresses after her, did anyone come close to matching her performance? I've never seen Wicked, by the way.

BCfitasafiddle
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#2
Posted: 9/11/20 at 10:55am

I think Kristin will always be the pinnacle, but I love Katie Rose Clarke in the role. To me, she was as close to perfection then anyone. That being said, I've found in the last 3-4 years, the actresses all seem the same to me. There's been little variety in the character choices themselves. 

kylegfil_
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#3
Posted: 9/11/20 at 1:27pm

I think it's all subjective obviously, and I never saw the original witches

I do think that there have been a number of standouts in early and recent days.  

Carrie St. Louis completely altered the way I viewed the character of Glinda.  Brittney Johnson is also exquisite in the role.   I will second the Katie Rose Clarke praise. All of the aforementioned made distinctive choices both vocally and as actresses that have proven to be quite memorable.  I've really enjoyed Amanda Jane Cooper, Ginna Claire Mason, Allison Bailey and all of the wonderful actresses I've seen play the role in recent years too.  I think as the show ages, the directive (at least on Broadway) is to not break the mold too much so as to facilitate tourists' understanding of the story.  I think this is why, as mentioned above, it feels like there has not been as much variety in the choices made.  

When it comes to recent Elphabas, I have been absolutely blown away by the likes of Talia Suskauer, Jackie Burns (in both of her recent runs) and Jessica Vosk.  I think each of them made quite an impact on the role and the show.  Three very different voices, personalities, and energies.

This is all super long winded - sorry - but I have never been an original cast purist with Wicked.  However, there are shows where I totally align with the belief that the originals have been irreplaceable.  I'm curious to hear the thoughts of Wicked fans who saw the OBC and have returned throughout the years.

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imeldasturn
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#4
Posted: 9/11/20 at 1:42pm
There are performances that you realize how good they are only after seeing someone else in the role, and Kristin Chenoweth's Glinda is one. Many Elphabas have been better than Idina, no Glinda ever topped Kristin.
ScottyDoesn'tKnow2
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#5
Posted: 9/11/20 at 2:04pm

I don't know how many of you were around the Internet Broadway fandom when Wicked first came out, but not only was the show a huge blockbuster and almost made Broadway sort of mainstream, but Idina and Kristin became famous right away. They were sort of famous before, with Chenoweth having a failed sitcom try and a few guest stints on NBC and other television roles, while Idina was coming off of Rent, The Wild Party (Lippa), and Aida runs, but nothing they had before compared to what their lives became after Wicked. With all of that said, when it came to the reviews, Idina got the ovations for "Defying Gravity" but it was Kristin who was the huge sensation coming out of Wicked. She got the most glowing reviews of that show that otherwise received mixed-to-negative reviews from the critics. People started thinking she'd be a great fit for all kinds of hard-to-cast leading ladies due to what they thought was her unique comedic skills and zaniness and that classical soprano in a sea of post-Rent rock musicals or belting divas that was taking over at the time. Nicole Kidman even wanted her cast in that God-awful Bewitched movie she did with Will Ferrell because she saw her on Wicked. There was a huge reason for that.

To be fair to follow-up actresses, that closing night performance of "Popular" was more a special performance than anything else. Other actresses actually found more comedy in that song later on (to Glinda's detriment at times as they turned her into a cartoon, IMO), but Cheno built that foundation for other actresses to build off from for Glinda. I remember having a bootleg audio recording of Chenoweth performing "Popular" for the one of the first times when they were doing out-of-town tryouts in San Francisco, and that audience was just eating it up. Her singing and comedic timing was just on in that recording and that audience reaction was everything a performer hopes for. It was that amazing to hear. Everything a subsequent actress does is a variation of what Cheno created for Glinda even if they put their own stamps on it. In fact, during workshops, Glinda was much more a supporting role and Fiyero was a co-lead. Then workshop after workshop (even in the early pre-Idina days where Cheno played opposite Stephanie J. Block), thanks to Cheno's input in the workshops, they kept increasing Glinda's role and realized the story of friendship between two adult women was more interesting than the romance angle (though we have to go through that love triangle storyline that I wish we didn't have to go through). So a huge part of Glinda is an extension of Chenoweth herself.

Updated On: 9/11/20 at 02:04 PM
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TheQuibbler
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#6
Posted: 9/11/20 at 6:22pm

It's fascinating to see how simple and effective Chenoweth's "Popular" is compared to now, where it's nearly a 10 minute greatest hits of every other pre-2010 actress's quirks that don't land because at, this point, they're impressions of impressions.  

ScottyDoesn'tKnow2
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#7
Posted: 9/11/20 at 8:24pm
I think this proshot reel gives you a good sense of Chenoweth in Wicked:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24B1vOwiAvg
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east side story
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#8
Posted: 9/11/20 at 9:02pm
Chenoweth lit up that stage like only a legend could. Truly outstanding.
Globefan
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#9
Posted: 9/11/20 at 9:16pm

I would've thought that Kristin would've played Glinda in a film version had it been made VERY early on. 

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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#10
Posted: 9/11/20 at 9:19pm
She was mesmerizing. Way ahead you-know-who, whose replacements were infinitely better.
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
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jlindsey865
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#11
Posted: 9/12/20 at 12:07pm

Revisiting the pro-shot footage highlights even more how incredible she was in the role. No actress since has been able to sing the legit soprano sections quite like she did.

Updated On: 9/12/20 at 12:07 PM
BCfitasafiddle
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#12
Posted: 9/12/20 at 12:15pm

Her performance of "Thank Goodness" still gives me chills. That's my favorite song from Wicked because of her.

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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#13
Posted: 9/12/20 at 12:18pm

Chenoweth was at her vocal and comedic peak in WICKED -- in both cases, she's gotten more broad and self-indulgent since. It was a phenomenal performance. I've seen maybe a half-dozen Glindas since, and while most were solid, none has ever come close to equaling her.

"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
Updated On: 9/12/20 at 12:18 PM
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uncageg
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#14
Posted: 9/12/20 at 12:44pm

She put an indelible stamp on that role. I have seen her and 2 others perform it live (Along with a number of videos of others) and, for me, Kassebaum and Ashford (Who I only saw video of)  were the only ones who came close to Cheno's performance. I feel there personalities lent a lot to their performances. I had listened to the cast recording a million times before seeing the OBC in the spring of 2004. Seeing her, actually both of them, live was everything I kind of hoped it would be. I just sobbed when they did "For Good'. Never did while listening to it beforehand. She just yanked tears out of my eyes. Just my random thoughts.

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Owen22
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#15
Posted: 9/12/20 at 11:02pm
I saw Kristin Chenoweth do Glinda twice and some fairly competent English girl in the West End for my third time (incidentally, did you know that in England Glinda always has a northern English accent?). But I have often gone down the YouTube rabbit hole watching every Glinda who has done it subsequently. The only one that comes close is Ashford. And only because she is not doing a Kristen Xerox. She seems to have made the role her own. It's very obvious why she herself became a star soon after.
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#16
Posted: 9/13/20 at 2:47am

AC126748 said: "Chenoweth was at her vocal and comedic peak in WICKED -- in both cases, she's gotten more broad and self-indulgent since. It was a phenomenal performance. I've seen maybe a half-dozen Glindas since, and while most were solid, none has ever come close to equaling her."

Her singing is still amazing.

 

Fosse76
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#17
Posted: 9/13/20 at 3:08am

TheQuibbler said: "It's fascinating to see how simple and effective Chenoweth's "Popular" is compared to now, where it's nearly a 10 minute greatest hits of every other pre-2010actress's quirks that don't land because at, this point, they're impressions of impressions."

This happens to many long running shows, where often times the characterizations become a parody. All to get a cheap laugh. Glinda in Wicked is probably the biggest offender, with Amra Faye Wright's Velma in Chicago a close second. The characters in Phantom have become so melodramatic they don't even resemble what was on stage in 1988. The Lion King has managed to keep its actors in check. 

AngusN
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#18
Posted: 9/13/20 at 10:29am

Fosse76 said: "TheQuibbler said: "The Lion King has managed to keep its actors in check."

Not in London they haven’t. The Lion King in the West End is far more of a pantomime than what it was, which is why I always prefer the tours; they are not.

 

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jlindsey865
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#19
Posted: 9/13/20 at 11:15am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue-WY8ST1KI

One of my favorite KC "Wicked" clips  Her growl at the end always gets me!

I feel like current Kristen has become a caricature of herself.  It's been a very interesting transformation to observe.

Updated On: 9/13/20 at 11:15 AM
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#20
Posted: 9/13/20 at 12:44pm

I am not the biggest fan of Wicked, but Kristin Chenoweth's performance was so incredible I actually saw it a second time for her. It encapsulated everything that makes her a star. Great comedy, a showcase of her pop and classical training, and surprisingly emotional moments after so many silly scenes in the show. 

ScottyDoesn'tKnow2
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#21
Posted: 9/13/20 at 1:02pm

The song "Thank Goodness" has some unintentionally funny lyrics and isn't supposed to be a showstopper, but I feel like Chenoweth performed it in such a way that I often revisit her performance of it. I've watched clips of other Glindas performing that song and it just isn't the same even when you see some trying to capture it and also hitting that high note at the end. I think Chenoweth really understood the depth of feeling Glinda was going through during that whole sequence and it was built upon what she did in previous scenes. She made sure to play Glinda's self-centeredness and ambition but she also made sure Glinda was CAPABLE of being good and having empathy. There are times where Idina's Elphaba looks so happy (like with the makeover in Popular or when she tells Glinda she feels like she finally belongs in Emerald City) and you see how happy Glinda is for her and how much she actually does understand what a big deal it is for Elphaba, and I give Chenoweth credit for that. I also think she's one of the few (or maybe only one) who paid homage to Billie Burke from the 1939 film. She would use Burke's affectations in her speech when Glinda spoke to the public in her official capacity as the Good Witch of the North.

Updated On: 9/13/20 at 01:02 PM
Globefan
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#22
Posted: 9/13/20 at 3:02pm

Shows should be able to evolve without the tone getting too hammy. 

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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#23
Posted: 9/13/20 at 4:18pm

Globefan said: "Shows should be able to evolve without the tone getting too hammy."

Replacements feel the pressure to meet a standard. The thing is that the green performers had the bar set at mediocre, and just kept getting better. The Glindas always had it harder when trying to match the original performance.

Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
FindingNamo
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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#24
Posted: 9/13/20 at 4:27pm

At first I thought you meant the new performers.

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Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked#25
Posted: 9/13/20 at 4:45pm
I've seen many Glinda's over the years. The few fantastic ones that stick out are Katie Rose Clarke, Brittney Johnson, and Katie Adams.