WICKED in Chicago
Last night I was lucky enough to get a seat to WICKED at the Oriental Theatre. J116, which just happened to be an aisle seat (oh snap!). The place was packed and buzzing. I mean it felt like I was in the audience waiting to hear The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show!
It was a great production, really excellent. The last time I saw WICKED was in New York, with the original Broadway cast. I've listened to the CD about 1,000 times since then, so I was wondering how I would react to the new cast. Well, no worries, they were great. Other than being a tad overmiked, they were great. Different inflections of course, and generally speaking, this cast (across the board) liked to speak lyrics more than usual. But still great.
Glinda was played by Kate Loprest, the understudy who was on for Stacie Morgan Lewis that night. She was amazing! If I closed my eyes she sounded like Kristin Chenoweth! And very funny too. I still think Glinda may be my favorite character in the show. Kristy Cates was Elpahba, Kristoffer Cusick played Fiyero, Heidi Kettenring was NessaRose (excellent!), Boq was played by Telly Leung and The Wizard was played by a wonderful Gene Weygandt. Oh, and Madame Morrible was played by Rondi Reed.
It felt like some things were different from the show I saw in New York, but that was a year ago so maybe my memory is suspect. During the witch hunter scene, when Boq is the Tin Man and talking about his personal vendetta against the Witch, he brings up the Cowardly Lion's grudge as well. In this production, we see him try to drag the lion on stage by his tail. I don't remember that in New York -- maybe they added that to make it clear who Boq was talking about.
Overall the whole cast seemed to be having a really great time onstage, something I never felt from the New York cast.
At the end of the show, Elphaba and Fiyero talked to the audience about donating to Equity Cares. And since it was St Patrick's Day, a green Elphaba seemed very appropriate!