Today’s fan interview is by Austin A., of Pennsylvania. He has seen the show four times with four different sets of leads between 2005 and 2008. Check it out below!
Who is your favorite Elphaba and why?
StephanieJ. Block. She was my second Elphaba and I was truly impressed not only by her immense voice, but also by how much she seemed to just be consumed with the character. Everything she did was in character and I greatly appreciated that she was able to incorporate Margaret Hamilton’s portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West (especially in her speaking voice) while still making Elphaba her own character.
Who is your favorite Glinda and why?
Jennifer Laura Thompson. Hands down she is the best actress I’ve seen in the role. Jennifer made Glinda very much her own, which I find especially admirable since she was the first to take over after Kristin Chenoweth and audiences were definitely hoping to see more of a carbon copy than an entirely new character. Jennifer made her Glinda smart and somewhat conniving, but she also was earnest and genuinely funny. One of the things I most love about Jennifer’s performance is that she knew not to make Glinda a caricature of herself just for the sake of laughs, but was still able to crack the audience up with her excellent comedic timing. Jennifer’s Glinda went through a true transformation from her entrance as Galinda during “Dear Old Shiz” to her closing “Glinda, the Good” during the finale and the transformation never felt forced or phony because of how well she was able to depict the nuances of character growth throughout the show.
Which Elphie/Glinda pair do you think has the best chemistry?
I believe I would have to go with Stephanie J. Block and Annaleigh Ashford who seemed to love being with each other and really shone together. Stephanie brought out more sincerity in Annaleigh than I think she had with other Elphabas and Annaleigh seemed to bring out a more comfortable looseness in Stephanie.
What other standouts have you seen in other principal roles? What about ensemble?
Carole Shelley as Madame Morrible was deliciously evil. She hadperhaps the best portrayal of the character. My other favorite principal is Michelle Federer as Nessarose. She had all the necessary pain of the character and added some subtle touches of arrogance and controlling nature in the first act which made her transition into the Wicked Witch of the East all the more believable in the second act.
Who are some standout understudies you have seen?
Technically she was a standby but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Jennifer DiNoia when I saw the Chicago production. She had been with the role for a good few years by then but you would never be able to tell thanks to how fresh her performance was.
Who is the nicest person you have met at the stagedoor?
Sadly I have yet to visit the stage door for Wicked, having only recently worked up the confidence to do so this past summer for some of the shows that came through Pittsburgh.
What was your favorite time seeing the show?
The third time I saw the show which was my first time seeing it in Chicago. It had been over two years since I had seen it last and it was wonderful to be experiencing it again, especially with the exuberant cast of Jennifer DiNoia, Annaleigh Ashford, Gene Weygandt, etc.
Other than Wicked, what are some of your favorite shows?
Rent, Les Miserables, The Secret Garden, High Fidelity, In My Life, Billy Elliot, Jesus Christ Superstar, Into the Woods, and Ragtime top my list, more or less in that order.
Which “Wicked” alumni/current cast member’s work outside of “Wicked” do you admire most?
Jennifer Laura Thompson. She is my favorite Broadway actress thanks to her performances which are often moving as well as hilarious. I look forward to seeing her make a full return to performing, especially in new works where she can originate a character. And just to throw this out there, I think she’d make a great Mrs. Wilkinson in Billy Elliot or Diana in Next to Normal 🙂