Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?

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Holly Therese
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#101
Posted: 4/1/06 at 8:25pm
Well as fabulous as I am in the shower, (I WISH!!!) I have to say (in no specific order) that Idina, Ana, Shoshana, and Kristy are my favorites. I also heard a clip of Brandi and I was pretty impressed by her.
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#102
Posted: 4/1/06 at 9:43pm
I've seen Ana, Eden, and Shoshana...as well as tons of clips of Idina.

Out of those my favorite would have to be Ana. I wish SO much that I could've seen Stephanie J. Block though.
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#103
Posted: 4/1/06 at 10:09pm
Idina (duh.)
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#104
Posted: 4/2/06 at 12:27am
Andrew~

I'm sorry but I disagree with your talent concept of Stephanie J. Block. If she doesn't have the vocal chops (as your comment describes) Stephen Schwartz would not have used her abilities to convey his score to Universal Studios. Hence there would not have been a backer for this project and Idina would not have had a job.

I was at the original reading for "Wicked" and the big wigs at Universal (those powers who be) gave Stephanie a STANDING OVATION for her work. This ovations was not only for her acting ability, but for her singing technique and pure tones. Stephanie not only sings the notes, but she tells the story that's within each song.

So, when comments are made regarding her singing I take issue. I realize you do have your opinions and you do have the right to your statements. However, the majority of your postings have more negativity regarding Stephanie J. Block, than positive statements.. Why is that. (Very curious??) I'm not implying that Stephanie is the best thing since sliced bread...but that woman is definately a top contender.

Updated On: 4/2/06 at 12:27 AM
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#105
Posted: 4/2/06 at 1:38am
huh??????????????

i'm confused..please check your PM's
thanks,
andrea
Updated On: 4/2/06 at 01:38 AM
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#106
Posted: 4/2/06 at 1:39am
actually, was that an april's fools joke because i am still stunned.....
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#107
Posted: 4/2/06 at 1:54am
OK so it has been quite some time since I have posted but being that I have seen this show more times than I care to admit I am going to comment. I will list them in order from my favorite to my least (i wont use the terms best and worst although Im pretty correct here) and yes I have SEEN ALL OF THEM

1. Stephanie J Block ~ Stephanie was the ORIGINAL EPLPHABA. vocally she is the most solid and consistent person to ever sing the score. Immediately people will comment on her lack of Vocal Pyrotechnics and riffs and such, but lets all remember the role and the songs were written for her. SS wrote them in her keys to sit in her voice. She may not have an F# everynight, but when the girl hits a D, she HITS A D.

The arc of her chracter is flawless. From her entrance where she runs in awkwardly and has a childlike tone to her voice. To defying gravity where she finally stands up straight and strong and starts to get a nasal resonance to resemble the wicked witch we all know and love from the movie. Finally she took her time in every song to tell the story and bring you with her. The final scene in Kiamo Ko with Glinda, she is back to the girlike voice she once started with. Really perfection. Its a shame the pirate queen has given her an offer wicked couldnt and that she won't grace the gershwin with her presence.

2. Eden Espinosa ~ She is a slightly less refined stephanie with all the vocal pyrotechnics. Sure her arc isn't as noticeable, she yells her way through act 2 instead of really acting the arc of eplhaba's frustration, but none the less shes DAMN GOOD! And if you want an exciting voice, then shes your girl. 2 shows a week it might be painful at times, but as far as good actors with the pop take on the score, i'll take eden any day.

3. Julia Murney ~ Regal, refined, beautiful performance and it was very early I saw her, a few weeks later where we are now I'd love to catch it again. She is just an amazing musical talent, her new riffs and cord structures on Defying gravity, especially the ending are unreal, and she has the most solid F# in the business. She has stephanies power with edens range. When she settles in more, I can imagine her rising up above number 3.

4. Ana Gasteyer ~ She made it through the show with such ease. She hits every note on pitch, she finds humor and awkwardness and nails the physical aspect of Elphaba better than anyone else ever has. Also she manages to keep her to such a subtlety, Probably because she comes from TV. Even though she was a HUGE comic force on TV, she understands film and how less is more at times. Any elphie who can get a bigger laugh during popular than glinda, is something to be noticed.

5. Shoshona Bean ~ Was there a lyric in there? Oh yeah the wizard and I. Well this I have to give her. She came across youthful, she came across quirky and awkward and by act 2 she came more determined than she was in act 1. The problem is she acted or tried to act through the book and then when we got to any vocal number it was the shoshana bean R&B special at Joes Pub. I appreciate her consistent vocals. And I can't say the random G's in Defying Gravity and the amazing riffing control in The Wiz and I weren't impressive. However, they were just innapropriate for my taste.

6. Idina Menzel ~ The second actress to ever tackle the role ranks number 6, yup 6 for me. OK i will admit like anyone else that her original months she was much better VOCALLY, but by the time she got through the first 4 or 5 months and understood the character, she lost her voice. Missed pitches, shaky low notes, gasping everywhere, cracking i mean she did it all. When the kids at AMDA are singing defying gravity more vocally on then her, thats bad. Now she was intense, and she acted ok. But she rushed all of her lines, she was breathing heavy everywhere and she has horrendous diction. And its still a musical she needs to sing. Ultimately she is a force and was amazing only because she is what everyone saw first and it was a huge role to tackle. However if Stephanie, or eden or Julia or shoshana originated on broadway and Idina replaced, what would everyone be saying about her performance?

7. Jenna Leigh Green ~ One of the younger soles to play the role. You really got her vulnerability and grace as a young girl who was frustrated. Her voice is more powerful than most of the girls who play the role, but there were lots of flat moments. I woudl like to see her/hear her after playing the role for a few weeks straight, but regardless, I lost her a bit in act 2. She never got wicked enough for me, even though she isnt wicked you get the idea. She never got frustrated enough for me. I was a little bored with her from wicked withch of the east on. Once again though, give her a few weeks and id love to see it. Also she is an amazing nessa, when she was Elphie, i missed her in that chair big time!

8. Saycon Sengbloh ~ I wont say all that much, she sings fine, she acts fine, she looks like she doesnt have a clue what to do with elphaba physically, and she bored me, simply because i felt like she was bored. I think she is a victim of stand by disease. Maybe she needs to have a role full time, because she really does look like a theatrical force that just hasnt had the chance to settle in a shine yet.

9. Maria Eberline ~ OK ill say it. Terrible. I really bad impersonation of eden espinosa vocally. Cracked all over the place, went for notes that just arent in her voice. It was painful to hear at times. Acting wise, she is quite on point, but really that could never forgive the vocals. I never need to witness that performance again.

OK you can all fight amongst yourselves now. You can rebut or agree with my opinions, however it wont change my opinions and at the very least I backed them up.

I wont go into the other characters, I cant type anymore right now. Later Theatre Goers!
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#108
Posted: 4/2/06 at 3:03am
great insights producer...=)
Updated On: 4/2/06 at 03:03 AM
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#109
Posted: 4/2/06 at 3:53am
I'm just gonna throw in my thoughts here and say that I'm really over all this comparison. Can't we just let different people do the role? Granted there's going to be some regardless. However, I think it sucks that people can't leave it at what it is and just allow different actresses to take their stab at it. Each one is amazing and powerful and strong and superior at a specific area of the role. They're different. Get over it.

Now, I'm a full-on OBC fan but you know what? When I saw Eden go on with Kristin, I thought "Wow, someone else is amazing in this role." That's all. The thought ended there. No "but she wasn't as good as..." Just let it be. The same with the other roles. Why does there need to be a best? Kristin owns it, hands down. But Jen was just as amazing and entertaining IN DIFFERENT WAYS. And Megan is phenomenal. And Kendra is brilliant. I just don't get the need for comparison. I'm sorry, but it's been happening since the beginning and really, get over it. Just enjoy those you like and pass on those you don't.
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#110
Posted: 4/2/06 at 8:12pm
Producer~

Wonderful commentary...you must truly know "from whence you speak!" Your insight, on all the ladies, is right on. And yes, if we could take a bit from all these Elphabas and roll them into one we would have the perfect Elphba.

But, to me, Stephanie is the all around BEST. She truly does tell the best story in her singing. She may not do the riffs, but that lady can belt. (PS: if anyone wants her to riff, I'm sure she can riff with the best of them)
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#111
Posted: 4/2/06 at 8:19pm
First off Producer, excellent commentary.

And my favorite Elphaba would have to be Shoshana, because, well she's the only one I've seen. Though I really wish I'd seen Stephanie, Idina and Ana.
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#112
Posted: 4/3/06 at 10:11am
I was going to say Dollypop
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#113
Posted: 4/3/06 at 10:44pm
i have seen idina, soshana, stephanie, kristy, Eden and Ana....I have seen the shows in Toronto, Chicago and NYC...(totaly about 14 times - I'm not a groupy...just love the show and luckily, have the money to travel to see it)...Here's my order...

Idina
Kristy
STephanie
Ana
soshana
Eden
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#114
Posted: 4/3/06 at 11:23pm
i've seen idina, shoshana, stephanie, and julia. julia tops my list (i don't care if my opinion is biased) her performance just topped everyone i had seen previously. she acts the hell out of that role and has really made it her own.
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#115
Posted: 4/4/06 at 12:00am
I've seen Idina, Shoshana, Stephanie, and Eden. And I don't count anyone else, since I haven't seen them.

Overall, I guess I'd have to pick Eden as the best overall. Eden's Elphaba is very obviously distanced. While she's not the best actress, she brings Elphaba the anger and bitterness she needs so that her transformation from bitter and quiet to bitter and I'll bite your head off is very apparent. She has one hell of a voice, too. She nails the notes, and you feel her passion through the entire show. It's truly amazing.

I also loved Stephanie J. Block, but I sort of felt through the whole show that she was almost too self-aware. I don't know.

"The tick BOOM tick BOOM is so loud I can't hear the rain on the grass. I can't hear the wind. I'm about to scream. But I realize I'm not alone."
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#117
Posted: 4/4/06 at 10:49am
Margaret Hamilton - the original, the first, the best
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#118
Posted: 4/4/06 at 10:57am
Idina or Eden. SJB screamed her way through "No Good Deed" when I saw her, she also didn't seem to have a grasp on the character. Maybe I saw her on an "off" night, but it was truly a painful experience for me.
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#119
Posted: 4/4/06 at 11:25am
I've only seen clips too, but Shoshana Bean. She and Megan Hilty made me go from having no interest in seeing Wicked, to almost wanted to see it.
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#120
Posted: 4/4/06 at 11:57am
Although I understand why people might say it, I always am slightly bothered when people say that Stephanie originated the role of Elphaba or that she was the first to act the role. I love Stephanie, and she is one of my favorites but the statement is not really true.

Sure, she was the first to sing some of the songs and did a few readings, but that is entirely different than performing the role in an original production. People would never say that Adam Pascal was the original Tarzan because he did a reading of it at one time.

From the inception of the production in San Fran until it hit Broadway, Wicked went through many transformations including character and plot development much of which surrounded Elphaba. During all of this, Idina was the one who had to completely develop the character of Elphaba as we know it today. Many times during the Wicked run in San Fran, there were daily changes to the script and songs all of which Idina had to tackle immediately.

Stephanie can be given kudos for selling the songs to Universal exectives, and for doing a fantastic job on tour, but not for creating the role of Elphaba nor for being the "first" one to tackle the role.

That is all Idina.
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#121
Posted: 4/4/06 at 12:46pm
Kristy all the way! She has the character of Elphaba down to a SCIENCE. Every mannerism she pumps into her performance just makes sense. She's very consistant and sounds amazing in the role.

I also adore Ana and Eden.

From what I've heard of Brandi, she sounds amazing.

...but I'll be the first to admit I'm not impressed with Sho, SJB or Idina...go ahead shoot me.
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#122
Posted: 4/4/06 at 6:31pm
1. Eden Espinosa
2. Shoshana Bean
3. Saycon Sengbloh
4. Idina Menzel
5. Brandi Chavonne Massey
6. Kristy Cates
7. Maria Eberline
8. Ana Gasteyer
9. Stephanie J. Block
10. Julia Murney

I've seen Kristy, Idina, Shoshana, and Eden live.
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#123
Posted: 4/4/06 at 6:35pm
I've only seen Julia but she was pretty darn good :).
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#124
Posted: 4/4/06 at 7:34pm
Idina-- I love her!!
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#125
Posted: 4/4/06 at 11:04pm
Eden Espinosa
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re: Who's Your Favorite Elphaba?#126
Posted: 4/4/06 at 11:13pm
Producer - great insight, and I totally agree.

I rank them as follows:

1. Stephanie
1.5 Julia
3. Shoshanna
10. Idina (never cared for her gasping)
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