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"Wicked" last night, 4/3-review from a "Wicked" newbie

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karen24
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I finally got to the Gershwin theater last night to see "Wicked." I live upstate now (lived in Westchester until last June), so when I get back to the city to see shows, it always seems that there's something else that gets to the top of my list first (usually something like "Grey Gardens" that I know won't be around as long. But this time I finally decided to go, because I had heard such good things about Stephanie J. Block.
I came into the show with an open mind, having not seen the original cast (although I have heard the OBCR) and not knowing many details about the plot (other than the basics, of course.)
I knew it was going to be a "different" sort of evening when I got into my seat (front mezz., row D, seat 32--over on the side, but not too bad, I could see everything fine, although people did look a little small!) and many people were taking flash pictures of the set. The usher near me kept shining her flashlight on the offenders and calling to them to stop, but most people either couldn't hear her or were ignoring her. I was afraid that people would actually take pictures during the show, but they didn't, thank goodness.
OK, the show itself. I found myself much more involved in it than I expected to be. The plot was fun and I liked the little details about how certain things in Oz came to be (the ruby slippers, the Tin Man, Scarecrow & Lion, etc.) I thought the set was amazing.
The actors:
Stephanie J. Block was fantastic. Of course, I never saw Idina or any of the other Elphabas, but I can't imagine how any of them could have been better. Both her acting and her singing were great. She really made the character her own and you could see her grow and change throughout the show. I'd strongly recommend seeing her in this part before she leaves, if you can!
Annaleigh Ashford: She was good. I was a little disconcerted that she reminded me so strongly of Kristin Chenoweth (as I said, I never saw her in the part on stage, but I've seen clips and I've seen her in other things, so I'm familiar with her voice and mannerisms.) It just seemed eerie to me how much Annaleigh's voice sounded like Kristin's. Is this common with Glindas who have come after Kristin? But she played well against Stephanie and I thought she did very well in the comedic parts--maybe not quite so well in the more dramatic parts.
David Burnham as Fiyero: I would have been really interested to see Norbert Leo Butz in this role. I think he might have been able to give it a little more nuance. Burnham was better, I thought, in the more dramatic scenes towards the end. I wasn't crazy about "Dancing Through Life"--the number never really took off for me. It seemed like it wanted to be a big production number and just didn't make it. His dancing with Annaleigh seemed awkward, too (although maybe it was supposed to be that way?) I did like his scenes near the end with Stephanie.
Cristy Candler played Nessarose and I thought she was great. Really very chilling and spooky in the last scenes, and touching in the earlier ones.
I also liked Steven Skybell as Dr. Dillamond. I could see this as a part that could easily degenerate into a stereotype or just something played for laughs, but he did more with it than that.
Lenny Wolpe was the Wizard and I thought he was OK. I really didn't understand where they were going with his character, though. Was he supposed to be evil, or just misguided?
Finally, Miriam Margolyes was Madame Morrible and I loved her, although I expect her interpretation of the character was quite different from Carole Shelley's.
Of the numbers, my favorites were Elphaba's: "Defying Gravity," "No Good Deed" and "I'm Not That Girl." Stephanie was just so good!
And that's all I can think of right now!
Maggie-the-schnoodle
Updated On: 4/4/08 at 11:25 AM
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broadwaycat3113
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do you remember who played boq?
"Put Your Faith In What You Most Believe In...."
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BrodyFosse123
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Yup. Unfortunately, too many Kristin Chenoweth-isms are written into Glinda that all actresses seem to morph La Chenoweth to some degree no matter how hard they try not to.

Also, there are no red ruby slippers in WICKED. The slippers are silver, like in the original Baum WIZARD OF OZ books. The 1939 MGM Judy Garland film changed them to red ruby slippers in order to take advantage of the popular Technicolor film that was being used at the time.

re: 'Wicked' last night, 4/3-review from a 'Wicked' newbie



Jilani
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Also, there are no red ruby slippers in WICKED.

When Nessarose receives them from her father, she refers to them as "jeweled shoes." While they are silver-colored, in the scene where Elphaba casts a spell on them, they glow red. It's a clear reference to the ruby slippers from the movie, especially combined with Nessarose's black-and-white-striped stockings, evoking the iconic image of the Wicked Witch of the East's legs sticking out from underneath Dorothy's house.
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karen24
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Jilani, thanks for clarifying that about the shoes--they did glow red in that scene, which is why I referred to them as "ruby", but now that I think back, it's also true that they were silver when she first got them.
Boq was played by Ben Liebert, I thought he did well.
Maggie-the-schnoodle
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broadwaycat3113
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i went to high school with ben! we were in "fame" together! so glad to hear he's doing well!
"Put Your Faith In What You Most Believe In...."
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shh282
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I saw Ben as Boq, he's so good! and such a sweet heart!
outdamnwench
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They're actually now allowed to use the term "ruby slippers" in Wicked as MGM owns the rights. They are only allowed to use terms used in the original book. Hence, they are called "jeweled shoes" which just happen to have a red light on them.
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kel62286
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I saw it last night too! I was rear mezz, but it was awesome. I agree that she seemed to be acting as kristin, but she was still great!
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broadwayfan7
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Thanks for your review! Glad you had fun!
"Everytime you step on that stage it is somebody's first Broadway show and somebody's last Broadway show. Make it count."
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Elphabuff2
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Great review; thank you. I often wonder how differently WICKED would've been received if Stephanie was not passed for Idina. SJB has one of the richest voices as Elphaba, but more than that I think people just appreciate her committment to the role and her consistency. I don't think anyone can argue she's not a consistent performer. Thanks again.
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obsessedjb
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^^ Agreed! I really wish Steph was on the cast recording--especially her "No Good Deed". Her voice is pretty close to flawless,IMHO, as is her acting.
Updated On: 4/4/08 at 11:34 PM