Today we have a fan interview from Liz Osborn, a California-based fan of the show who has seen the show seventeen times to date – all at the San Francisco sit-down. Check it out below!
Who is your favorite Elphaba and why?
So far, it’s Vicki Noon. (Although that might change next week; I have yet to see Eden at full vocal strength!) Vicki’s voice just consistently amazed me; she could fill up the whole theater with a note and it resonated beautifully. It was a really long time before I actually saw the musical, although I’d been an avid fan of the book and musical for a lot of years. From what I knew (or didn’t know) about the musical, the way I’d envisioned Elphaba and her personality, combining both musical and book versions– Vicki’s portrayal fit it seamlessly. Elphaba’s really intelligent, and I always envisioned it to give her a dark, sarcastic sort of personality and sense of humor around other people, sort of like a brick wall. When she was by herself, though, she was able to show her true feelings– glee, excitement, what have you for The Wizard and I; and hopelessness, forlorn, etc. as in I’m Not That Girl. Vicki’s Elphaba exemplified those two extremes for me. I felt like some other actresses are too much on the hopeful/sincere spectrum, and I just don’t think Elphaba would’ve had that while interacting with other people who were so inclined to be cruel to her.
Who is your favorite Glinda and why?
Kendra Kassebaum. She does an excellent transformation into Act II. She’s always changing up what she does in Popular, and it’s always rolling-on-the-floor hilarious. She always looks so regal, too, in the way she carries herself. And she’s consistently the only actress to be able to make me cry at the end.
Which Elphie/Glinda pair do you think has the best chemistry?
The pair I’ve seen with the most chemistry so far has been Kendra and Eden. Those two love working with each other and you don’t have to ask them it to know, because it totally shows! They gel amazingly. But I saw Vicki Noon and Natalie Daradich together once too, and those two best friends did some pretty amazing work together too.
What other standouts have you seen in other principal roles? What about ensemble?
Etai BenSchlomo, SF’s latest Boq, is totally phenomenal. He’s a little scene-stealer, honestly. The couple times I’ve seen him, I haven’t been able to watch anyone else when he’s on! Everything he does has meaning, which is always really nice to see. A completely thought-out performance. And his voice ain’t bad, either. 😉 Patty Duke was a great Madame Morrible. She was so tiny onstage that the guards could actually pick her up to carry her offstage! And I loved her little gasps and screams and whispers and she had an awesome Wicked Witch speech in Defying Gravity. As far as ensemble goes, I love seeing Neka Zang on her green pointe shoes in the Oz scenes!
Who are some standout understudies you have seen?
Oh, they’re all fantastic. Angel Reda was an amazing Elphaba with a gorgeous smile and voice. Natalie Daradich’s portrayal of Glinda is so funny, it’s ridiculous. Alexa Green has a phenomenal voice and she’s so short and cute and bubbly that you wonder if she isn’t the real-life embodiment of Glinda. I also saw Natalie as Nessarose once, and she was completely mind-blowing in that role. When Neka Zang goes on as Nessarose, I know she’ll be fantastic, too!
Who is the nicest person you have met at the stagedoor?
Nicolas Dromard, for sure. He’s sweet and earnest and has an amazing memory, and always makes an effort to remember names of the regulars and remember things about them so he can make conversation flow effortlessly. I was so impressed when he remembered me; it really makes a good impression on the fans. It’s always a real treat to get to talk to him at the stagedoor!
What was your favorite time seeing the show?
Definitely when I went for Teal’s last. There were so many other people there that I’d met through Facebook and the Witches of Oz forums, and it was just like one giant party before, during, and after the show. (Except when we were all bawling our eyes out over Teal leaving, though, obviously.) And you could tell everyone onstage was just having so much fun and trying to have an awesome show, even more awesome than it usually is– which would be hard, I’d warrant! And we had cupcakes and matching shirts and everything and all the cast members were hanging out at the stagedoor too, way longer than usual, and it was just so much fun. Bittersweet, but fun.
Other than Wicked, what are some of your favorite shows?
I’m currently obsessed with Next to Normal. I literally cannot stop listening to it. I’ve had it on repeat for days and days and days, and I just sing it all the way through. I love Phantom, of course; that was my intro to the wonderful world of musical theater. And I can never get enough of RENT, or Spring Awakening. Jekyll & Hyde is a really great show, and Legally Blonde is so much fun, and of course I love the Disney remakes. And Les Mis needs to go on a US tour so I can see it already, jeez.
Which “Wicked” alumni/current cast member’s work outside of “Wicked” do you admire most?
I’m actually really bad about keeping up with stuff like that. But I’ve heard a little bit of Stephanie J. Block’s stuff, which I really enjoy. And Celeste Henderson (old SF ensemble) has an incredible EP on iTunes, which all of you should pick up STAT. And of course I do my best to follow the infallible Kristin Chenoweth. Pushing Daisies needs to come back!
PHOTO: Liz with Etai BenShlomo at Teal’s last