John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

  • Music:

Ten random things: September 27

Ten actors in the cast of the touring production of Wicked currently playing here in Madison:
  1. Don Richard (Witch's Father/Ozian Official/Understudy for the Wizard and Dr. Dillamond)
  2. Tory Ross (Midwife)
  3. Kristine Reese (Nessarose)
  4. Marilyn Caskey (Madame Morrible)
  5. Chris Peluso (Fiyero)
  6. Don Amendolia (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
  7. Natalie Daradich (Glinda)
  8. Kerry Blanchard (Witch's Mother/Ensemble)
  9. Vicki Noon (Elphaba)
  10. Zach Hanna (Boq)

I mentioned briefly last week that I was on my way to see Wicked with my sister and nephew. And I did see it! And it was good!

Witch's hats
The lobby of the Overture Center was decorated by dozens of witch's hats suspended above the stage.

It was neat to actually see it after having listened to the score so many times since 2004. I think the thing that benefited most from being seen performed was the Ozdust Ballroom sequence. Fiyero's ultimate fate is telegraphed by the lyrics to many of his songs, but until seeing it performed I didn't know that his dancing also pointed toward him becoming the Scarecrow in the second act. The choreography is very clearly patterned after Ray Bolger's loose-limbed flailing in the movie. It's a nice, subtle touch; I recognized it for what it was because I already knew what was going to happen in Act II, but my sister didn't. The scene where Elphaba visits Nessarose in Munchkinland and Boq is turned into the Tin Man came as a big surprise; I knew that scene was there, but I had no idea there was a song ("The Wicked Witch of the East," according to the playbill) there. I wonder why that one didn't make it onto the original cast recording? Oh, and "Defying Gravity!" The way Elphaba is lit when she was elevated at the climax of the song was amazing. That alone might have made the whole thing worthwhile.

I also enjoyed seeing the scenes in which G(a)linda and Elphaba became friends and Elphaba rebelled against the Wizard. I mean, I knew how they became friends and why she rebelled, but it was still good to see, since those are two of the few plot points that aren't evident just by listening to the score. (Which I've always found impressive, incidentally, that the show is basically comprehensible just by listening to the songs.)

Map of Oz
The illuminated map of Oz that served as the stage curtain

The cast was, overall, very good. I wasn't wild about the Wizard (played by veteran character actor Don Amendolia, whose name was the only I recognized among the cast); he was fine, but his singing was not as strong as the other main characters (Not that it's a role that really demands a really strong singer.) Vicki Noon was very good as Elphaba. Glinda was performed by the understudy, Lesley McKinnell, the day we saw the show, but she too was excellent. Good comic chops to go along with the voice.

So I give Wicked two thumbs up. My sister liked it too. And so did the local alt-weekly. (The reviewer saw it on the same day, but I don't know if she saw the matinée or the evening show.) But not everyone was as satisfied as we were. Here is my nephew's review: "Today I saw the play Wicked. I did not understand it very well. It was scary at some points. I liked the flying monkeys. My uncle liked it more than me."

Well, you can't please everyone.

Tags: excursions, lists of ten things, music, wisconsin, wisconsin: madison

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