Monday, March 13, 2017

Wicked on Broadway March 4th, 5th and 9th 2017, e.

I got to see the show three times this week in New York!  I also do realize that I have been MIA for a little bit.  Senior year of college is incredibly jam packed full of things to do, and its been very rapid fire.  I promise to improve the flow on this website!

Anyway: My views from 3/4, 3/5 and 3/9 respectively:


Jennifer DiNoia continues to amaze me in the role of Elphaba.  She still is in it.  She remains completely in the moment and totally engaged with everyone onstage around her, and I think that is absolutely incredible for as long as she's been doing this show and playing this role.  There is a maturity about her performance.  She's calm and confident and her voice shines.  She has cut most of her signature riffs (which seems to have begun in December) and even though I do miss them and the additional originality it brought to her performance, she still blows me away without them.  On this contract, I saw her first four times with Carrie St. Louis, her first three performances and her fifth.  They did a very nice job together, but obviously that was at the beginning of her contract with a totally new Glinda.  Her chemistry with Kara made total sense and was absolutely phenomenal.  The two of them had really lovely and charming moments together all throughout the show, but the first Gelphie dance in Dancing Through Life, Popular, the scene right before One Short Day, the witch fight and For Good all stood out.   Kara and Jenny's harmonies and vocal power blew me away, particularly during 'What Is This Feeling?'  and the Finale.  Absolutely beautiful.  I have now seen Jenny 10 times in this role, which is so far my most seen.  One time during her original standby contract in New York, twice on the Second National Tour, four times in August 2016, three times in March 2017.  She has grown and amazes me with her talent and humility each time.

Kara Lindsay is a new Glinda for me somehow, even though she's been doing this show for a few years now.  I really loved her.  Amanda Jane Cooper holds a sentimental and personal favorite place in my heart, and Carrie St. Louis is almost untouchable in my eyes, but Kara Lindsay found her way up to their level.  I didn't connect with her QUITE as much as I did with Carrie so many times, but not by much.  She has a deeply layered performance in this role.  Her voice is absolutely beautiful first of all.  NOMTW, Popular, Thank Goodness, For Good and the Finale were all incredible moments from Kara vocally.  Her voice is strong, robust and emotive, but also allows time for delicate moments. As an actress, she is very natural in this role.  We have all seen Kara on Think Pink, and it's natural to view her as very goofy and silly much of the time.  However, her Glinda matured beautifully throughout the show.  The opening found her, like others, very distraught and trying to hide it.  But from Dear Old Shiz to One Short Day, she's a total hoot, and then the wheels in her head start turning and the growth begins.  By her final scene with Elphaba before the *spoiler* melting */spoiler* she was commanding and emotional.  I absolutely loved it.

I saw two different guys play Fiyero this week.  Michael Campayno for 2/3 and Dan Gleason for the other.  Michael is still incredible, he seems way more comfortable in the role than he did in August.  I believe he was a little sick on 3/4 evening (he was out both shows the next day), and yet he was still awesome.  3/9 he was back, and in even better form.  His voice is really pretty and smooth, and he has a lovely vibrato.  He dances well, and it is clear onstage that he has a great offstage relationship with Jenny and Kara.  They all play off each other well.  My favorite MC moment is the train station scene, where he tells Elphaba what he has been thinking about as though it's very hard for him to articulate deep thought and then smiles at her like he's accomplished something huge.  He also has a nice maturation throughout the show.  I really like him in this role and cannot wait to see him again.  

Dan Gleason was also an exceptional Fiyero.  I love Michael but I always love seeing
understudies go on, and I haven't seen an understudy as Fiyero in almost ten full years, since Kyle Dean Massey made his Fiyero debut in 2007.  His voice is really pleasant to listen to.  He had some really nice vocal moments that even exceeded Michael, and then some that were not quite up to par with Michael.  His sustained 'life' in DTL was great, supported and excellent.  Dan's best moment however, was As Long As You're Mine.  It was easily the best performance of that song that I've ever heard, largely thanks to him.  I'm so happy I got to see him.

Sheryl Lee Ralph made Madame Morrible a STAR.  I have seen some absolutely incredible actresses play this role, Alison Fraser, Judy Kaye, Carole Shelley, Kathy Fitzgerald and several others have all made Morrible all kinds of positive adjectives.  However, Sheryl brought something entirely new to the role.  Rather than an older lady longing for a chance to get the same opportunities as Elphaba, I saw a woman who absolutely KNEW she would.  She gave a diva's performance.  She sang her role, she thrust her hips, she served face and eyebrow, she was, and I hate using this word, fabulous.  And she knew it.  Which is what made it what it was.  Her best moments were her speech in Defying Gravity, and the 'I hope you prove me wrong' scene in Dancing Through Life.  I absolutely loved her.  Also, thanks for the calendars at the stage door!
P.J. Benjamin is back as the Wizard, and even though he comes back into the show a
ridiculous number of times, he did a really nice job.  Nothing new or exceptional to report, but he's charismatic and fun and has a nice voice! It was cool to see him again since he was the third Wizard I ever saw, I saw him for the first time back in 2006 on tour.  I was in sixth grade, and now I am months away from my college graduation.  So that was pretty cool.

Zach Piser is still where it's at as Boq.  He's charming, adorable and endearing, and he makes Boq super likable and energetic.  I've seen a lot of people play this role and he does stand out due to his energy and charm.  Always lovely meeting him after (and sometimes before  tbh) a show.  Favorite moment: when he (jokingly) (right?) yelled at Michael in front of the Stage Door crowd for signing way too large on playbills.

I also saw two people play Nessa this week.  I saw Dawn Cantwell on 3/4 and 3/5, and Hannah Shankman on 3/9.

Dawn is among my favorite people to play this role, she won my heart big time last summer.  She's a great actress, very sweet, good girl gone bad (sup, Rihanna!) in act two.  She also has a really pretty voice.  And I've heard her voice in this role sixteen times now.  All of last year, she nailed it.  These two times, she still KILLED it as an actress, but something seemed to be a little off vocally.  Due to the fact that she was out of the show on Thursday, I am guessing she has been ill for a little and was just fighting through it.  She still turned in a solid performance both times.  She's still amazing, and her voice is still very good and I hope I get the chance to see her again!

Hannah Shankman.  Guys.  I don't often rave over Nessarose.  But like.  I just praised Dawn as one of my favorites.  But Hannah has the official title, one that has belonged to Carla Stickler since 2011.  This girl brought all of the vocal power in the world to the role.  I haven't heard WWOTE sung like that in a very very long time.  Not only that, she was so sweet as an actress.  Super endearing and lovely.  Her smile during the first act was so gentile and lovely and hopeful.  I fully believed she was a college girl trying to find her footing.  The right insecurity was there, the right look in her eyes was there, she was just so damn good.
Chad Jennings was a real breath of fresh air as Dr. Dillamond.  Absolutely a step up from
his predecessor, who I did like a lot, but had a tendency to overact.  Chad was a lot softer and quieter in the role and I liked him a lot.

The ensemble sounded BANGIN.  Especially sitting up close, everyone sounded so good.  The harmonies were tight, they were loud, it was the best ensemble I've heard in a long while.  Standouts included Lindsay Northen who is still 100% in it after all this time, Erin Wilson who had a really funny moment trying to grab Sheryl's bustle as she walked by at Shiz, the audience ate that up, Lockhart Brownlie, who I couldn't take my eyes off of anytime he was onstage due to his magnetic presence, and Daniel Quadrino, as usual because he's just awesome.  Oz is in some really great hands right now, and I can't wait to get back there and see it again!

Some Pictures!


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