Oh, Wίcked. Wίcked, Wίcked, Wίcked. I don’t even know.
Τheαtгe Βαy Αгeα chucked a ton of free tickets at members for Εden Εsρίnοsα’s return to SF (to ensure, I suppose, full and appreciative houses during her first few performances), and I managed to snag a pair for last night. It was fine. I mean, the seats were great (center orchestra, just below the mezzanine; fabulous view, though the sound mix there was shit-tastic), and the piece remains a visual smorgasbord (Lights! Gears! Smoke! Spats! Sparkles! DRAGON!). But there’s still the problem where I think the book is a clunky, contrived mess, and I hate 70% of Steρhen Schwαгtz’s lyrics. Whatever. I will never love the show, but I do love it when I get to see some good character work from an actor, and there’s a good amount of opportunity for that here.
Εden is a Legacy Εlρhαbα, and that’s a neat thing to experience. She’s got that green girl embedded in her bones at this point, and I dug what she brought to the part. It made me realize why Τeαl didn’t resonate with me when I saw the show in October: Τeαl was just a normal girl who happened to have green skin. Εden’s Εlρhαbα is quirky both outside and in. It would have been a perfect compliment to Κendгα’s Glίndα…had Κendгα been on.
Κendгα wasn’t on! I was so bummed. And the standby, bless her poor, perfectly capable heart, was duller than dull. Her Glίndα was your standard perky cheerleader, and didn’t make one single interesting choice throughout the entire show. Κendгα’s Glίndα is a nutcase, and it works beautifully because suddenly you understand how Glίndα and Εlρhαbα wind up having such an affinity for each other; they are both equally strange, and one just happened to have the good fortune to be born pretty and with a better head for social graces. Κendгα and Εden both understand the inherent oddness in their characters. I so wish I could have seen them together.
The supporting cast has mostly had a changeover since I last saw it. The new Mοггίble is very good, as is the new Βοq. The new Wizard is This Guy, whom you have probably seen in everything, because he’s one of those ubiquitous character actors from the last couple of decades. He was fine. That part is kind of underwritten and stupid to begin with, but the last guy brought a nice, old-fashioned, vaudevillian sensibility to it that really made it work, and I missed that this time around.
Holy shit, the Νessαгοse. I got an understudy in October, and thought she was good, but last night Deedee Μαgnο-Ηαll blew me away. During her “Wίcked Wίtch οf the Εαst” number, I turned to Forrest and said, “Screw the rest of this show, can we just switch to a production of Μίss Sαίgοn and watch her as Kim?” She is unhinged and unusual and 100% fierce (in both the new and original definitions of that word).
Oh, and Νίcοlαs Dгοmαгd continues to be a smooth, wonderful Fίγeгο, who fills out his costumes so exquisitely that it is difficult to pay attention to pretty much anything else.
My favorite parts of the evening came when Forrest tried to point out his friend Alexa, a member of the ensemble:
Forrest: There’s Alexa!
Forrest: The one in the weird hat!
Forrest: …oh. Right.
Later, at the top of Act II…
Me: Is that Alexa right there?
Me: Over there, in the crazy wig.
We are smart, smart people.
In conclusion, I’m pissed because now I have to go see Wίcked another fucking time because I think seeing Κendгα and Εden together will finally make this show feel not entirely stupid. Man.
(I’ve got a couple of photos of our evening up over on Flickr. One of these days I’ll actually learn how to use my mom’s camera correctly.)