(You knew I had to make a bad pun, didn't you?)
Where do I start? The show was fabulous. Everything from scenery, to costuming, to choreography was absolutely awesome. I rarely took my eyes from the stage, for fear of missing something. The performers from last night's show did an astounding job... and we had a few understudies in the limelight last night, including the major role of Galinda (no, that's not a typo) and the very visible Boq. We were fortunate to be seated rather close to the stage, just 7 rows back, so we were treated to a great view of the action, including the actors' faces, where we could see even the small nuances of character they brought to their roles. I loved the fact that even those people in seemingly "small" roles brought everything they had to the show. Without that, it could have been any small-town community theater production.
First, a little about the cast: This particular cast had a couple of members who have already tasted fame in other entertainment arenas. Carol Kane lent her talents to the role of Madame Morrible, while David Garrison was a treat to see as The Wizard. Ms. Kane might be more familiar to some as the ex-European beauty queen nanny from the recent movie The Pacifier, or Miracle Max's wife, Valerie, in The Princess Bride. David Garrison is most recognized by those of us who don't follow Broadway closely as "Steve" from Married with Children. Of these 2, I enjoyed Garrison's role the most. He had a couple of very good numbers in which he got to show off a little footwork. Wonderful was delicious to watch, as he and Eden Espinosa (as Elphaba) played off of each other and shared a dance together. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Espinosa as Elphaba (for those who don't know, she is the green one... the one who becomes the Wicked Witch of the West). She is very familiar with this role, as she was Idina Menzel's understudy on Broadway. Loved her facial expressions; they added a great dimension to her character. Whether showing despair, pure animosity, or indecision and confusion, her characterization of Elphaba was nothing short of awesome. Katie Adams (sorry, no link) was so fun to watch as Galinda/Glinda. Think of a cross between Victoria Jackson from Saturday Night Live and Veruca Salt, and you have the character of Galinda: someone who's used to getting everything she wants, but who seems to have a lot of empty space between her ears.
OK, so I've touched on the actors. Let me just say this about the play itself. For those who've never seen the play but have read the book: forget the book. If you "loved" the book, you may not like the musical. The book is much darker. Winnie Holzman took great liberties with it (for which I am most thankful) and made it into something much more enjoyable to watch than if it had been steadfast to the novel. This is one instance where the original is not better than the adaptation. The only advantage I see to reading the book is that it has more time to devote to details. (Details which get twisted and rewritten for the stage.)
This is getting too long, so in the interest of brevity, I'll just list my favorite scenes/songs:
- What is This Feeling?: This is an absolutely fun song. Ever met someone you loved to hate? The perfect song to sing.
- Defying Gravity: A pivotal moment in the show... and stunning to watch.
- Wonderful: How did the Wizard become "wonderful?" This was the fun dance number with David Garrison and Eden Espinosa.
- For Good: You know how some people you meet leave an indelible mark on your life? This is the show's tear-jerker number. I had a few people on my mind as I listened to this one (y'all back in Omaha know who you are).
Bottom line: I don't see how anyone could not enjoy this musical. You'd have to be a real tin woodsman to not be touched or affected by the themes, or just a plain ol' sourpuss to not enjoy the music.