|The view for Wednesday's matinee!|
After three years I finally got to return to the Gershwin to see Wicked on Broadway! The last time I saw the show in NYC was in February 2013 with Donna Vivino as Elphaba and Alli Mauzey as Glinda. Since then I have been able to see it on the road six times (both tours) and in London once, but there will always be something special about returning to see the show in New York. I am so happy that I got to come back and see it when I did. From a personal standpoint, a lot of very prominent life events have happened since the last time I saw the show on Broadway and yet the show was still there and I think that's so cool.
On Saturday March 5th, I got to do Behind the Emerald Curtain again for the first time in six years. Once you have done it once, you've done it. It doesn't change much. However, it was still cool to get to see costumes up close, sit in the Gershwin before a show, and hear about the show from the perspectives of two totally different cast members (Jerad Bortz and Heather Spore) from the first time that I took the tour!
As for the show itself, I went for the first time on Wednesday, March 9th for the matinee. The full cast was in, with the exception of Spencer Jones being on for Chistery. The ensemble remains very strong and motivated. Especially sitting up close, it's easy to see their facial expressions, hear individual harmonies, and even make eye contact with certain people (I'm looking at you Daniel Quadrino. Literally). Lindsay Northen, Jerad Bortz, Heather Spore, Ioana Alfonso, Kathy Santen, and Larkin Bogan have all been doing this show for a very long time, and each of them were 100% in the moment with their faces and reactions. Larkin, Lindsay, Daniel, Hannah Shankman, Curt Hansen and Dan Gleason really stood out in particular to me. Dancing was obviously on point(e) and Casey Quinn is always a standout.
The orchestra was good. They were not quite as loud as usual, nor were they as dynamic as the orchestra always is on tour which was a little disappointing but they still did a very nice job.
The principal cast was awesome this time around.
Rachel Tucker as Elphaba
Carrie St. Louis as Glinda
Jonah Platt as Fiyero
Peter Scolari as The Wizard
Judy Kaye as Madame Morrible
Dawn Cantwell as Nessarose
Zach Piser as Boq
Michael Genet as Dr. Dillamond
Michael Genet was the first Dr. Dillamond in a long time that I have genuinely really really liked. Not to say I've ever seen a bad one, but Dillamond is a fairly dry role in a lot of respects, though very important and heartbreaking, certainly the most dry in the show. His voice is really really nice, and he was a solid actor and he emoted well through the mask. He has a deep booming voice and he is very tall which makes it all the more sad when he is taken away from Shiz because he is a powerful being.
Dawn Cantwell was a solid Nessarose. Nessarose is not a vocal beast, and I feel that Dawn has more of a voice than the role requires. However as an actress she nailed every aspect of it. I never noticed Nessarose wheeling herself off the stage during Dancing Through Life when Elphaba enters wearing the hat. Dawn's Nessarose is very much embarrassed of Elphaba, evidenced by mannerisms and facial expressions. She tolerates her and speaks to her when no one is around or when she needs soemthing, but overall seems to seek greener (PUN) pastures. I really liked her Governor's Mansion scene with Zach and Rachel, she was so rude. And she sounded very nice singing WWOTE.
Rachel Tucker was incredible as Elphaba. At Wednesday's matinee, she had a vocal issue in 'The Wizard and I' during the bridge. Her voice cracked, carrying her way off the note, and she struggled to get back on track, having to speak until 'someday they'll be'. After that she completely nailed it, even making up for it with her 'feeling things I've never felt' riff that she occasionally does. What I liked about Rachel and Carrie together was they seem to be two actresses that break a lot of the stereotypical vocal molds. While Carrie had many non-traditionally belty moments, Rachel allowed herself to be hushed and quiet when the role didn't require her to let loose and wail. What Is This Feeling was more dominated by Carrie, and Rachel didn't play up her comic moments as much (this also happened with Gina Beck in 2014, British actors/actresses seem to have a more downplayed sense of humor) but she did do a nice job with the lines at the beginning and the 'boo!' and cackle at the end. She got very passionate in the Dillamond scene, immediately getting angry with Galinda over the name issue, and the following scene with just her and Dillamond was very soft and compassionate. Her Dancing Through Life attitude was nice, a little softer than most Elphabas. She still thought Fiyero was ridiculous but when Galinda gave her the hat, she smiled and looked up as though she thought things might be getting better, and then again at the end of the song she looked so wildly happy. Rachel and Carrie made me realize how much I love the Glinda/Elphaba dance. She did a beautiful I'm Not That Girl, following
a very intimate and level-headed lion cub scene with Jonah, where they both got to flex their dramatic muscles a bit. Her 'God has no powers' face and actions were marvelous, and her Defying Gravity was incredible. She's loud and passionate and growls quite a lot. The lift got stuck on Thursday night about 5 feet up and then kept rising. Her act 2 was even stronger, I loved her Governer's mansion scene, and her scene with the Wizard, Fiyero and Glinda. When Fiyero was trying to get her to leave with him, she kept reaching out to Carrie and shaking her head, with a very desperate look on her face. She clearly wanted him but also cared a lot about Glinda's feelings and didn't want to hurt her. The witch fight scene was exceptional, the audience on Wednesday was REALLY into it, and every time Fiyero came up, the audience would 'oooooh' and I could see Rachel feeding off of that energy. No Good Deed was absolutely the best I have ever heard live maybe with the exception of Donna Vivino (who still takes the title of my favorite!). She nailed that song, and I loved her final scene with Glinda, and the Finale killed me. She and Carrie harmonize so well together.
I didn't take many pictures for some reason, but here are my favorites of the ones I DID get!