Today, we have a fan interview from Cortney, who has seen the show five times with three different Elphabas and three different Glindas. She lives in North Carolina. Thanks, Cortney, for the interview! Enjoy, everyone!
Who is your favorite Elphaba and why?
My favorite is the newest Elphaba in Wicked, Jackie Burns. She’s just fierce onstage with her Elphaba! Her “Wizard and I,” after the first few lines, I was in total amazement of what I was hearing. She does the crazy riffs during the climax so well. “Defying Gravity” was one of the best I have ever seen! I have never been in tears before at the end of the song, but was during the flight. “No Good Deed” her emotions and her Wicked side really came out and she really put on a jaw dropping performance. She looked like she was having a great time onstage. In my opinion, she’s the one to see as Elphaba.
Who is your favorite Glinda and why?
My favorite is Natalie Daradich, all though I have enjoyed all 3 of the Glinda’s I have seen for different reasons. Natalie does the comedy part of Glinda so well, along with the emotional side of Glinda. I love how she seems to get a small accent in her voice when she does the soprano notes. She has a very unique sounding voice and is just flat out adorable in the role. Her “Popular” is hilarious and I love her toss-toss and her Wilma Flintstone laugh. She just shines onstage and great both vocally and with her acting.
Which Elphie/Glinda pair do you think has the best chemistry?
Most definitely Vicki Noon and Natalie Daradich! You can tell when they are onstage together that they share a special bond and their friendship offstage really shines through on. They make the emotional parts of the show seem more real, especially during “For Good,” it’s like they are saying goodbye to each other for the last time. Anne Brummel and Natalie Daradich also have wonderful chemistry onstage together.
What other standouts have you seen in other principal roles? What about ensemble?
I enjoyed Chris Peluso’s Fiyero the most out of the ones I have seen. He was so different with each Elphaba I saw him with and he is great onstage. Kristine Reese along with Michelle London are my favorite Nessa’s. Kristine does both sides of Nessa very well and I have always loved her during “Dancing Through Life” and the part “With this munchkin boy Galinda found for me” the smile she gets on her face and how she shrugs her shoulders up to her face and making the munchkin with her hands itty bitty. Her evil side to Nessa is one of my favorites, she also tends to almost run over Elphaba with her wheel chair, which just makes it comical. Marilyn Caskey’s Morrible always gives me chills when she does the speech during “Defying Gravity.” Don Amendoilia’s wizard is probably my favorite, I love the little dance he does across the stage during “Wonderful.” For Boq, Zach Hanna was wonderful in the role each time along with Justin Brill on the 1st tour. The ensemble that always sticks out in my mind when I see the show, is the 2nd tour ensemble. They are an amazing group of performer’s and really make the show a lot of fun to see.
Who are some standout understudies you have seen?
I have seen a grand total of 2 understudies in my history of seeing Wicked; Michelle London for Nessa and Catherine Charlebois for Midwife. Michelle was covering for Kristine Reese when I saw her, but she plays Nessa very well. She plays the sweet and innocent side very well and the evil side is one of the best I have ever seen. Her love for Boq will shines through during “Wicked Witch of the East.” Catherine Charlebois I saw with the 1st tour and she reminded me a lot of Jenn Furman (former 2nd tour midwife) and was great both vocally and with her acting.
Who is the nicest person you have met at the stagedoor?
That’s a tough question, because they all have been so sweet. One’s that really stand out for me were: Jackie Burns; I have never met some one so bubbly and sweet ever in my life. She really does not have a shy bone in her body. She fired me for my terrible picture taking but gave me a hug in the end for my rambling on about her performance. Kristine Reese; she came out with a huge smile on her face and looked excited to be there. She was very sweet at the stage door and fun to chat to. I will also never forget Erin Wilson, Jenn Furman and Christine Dwyer’s reactions both vocally and the looks on their faces when I told them it was my first time seeing Anne Brummel as Elphaba. Natalie Daradich was also very nice and made it feel like I was the only one standing out there at the door the first time I met her. Each Elphaba I have met also took time with everyone at the door and didn’t leave until everyone got what they came for at the door. Vicki Noon even stopped with my aunt and I a second time cause my aunt wanted a picture with her and Natalie, but Vicki happily took one with my aunt.
What was your favorite time seeing the show?
That would be my 4th time seeing the show, which was in Charlotte, NC with the 2nd tour. It was a spure of the moment at the beginning of the week to go try for the lottery. Plus my friend I went with had never done the stage door and it was an exciting day. We didn’t win the lottery but we got 3rd and 4th row seats to the show. We had a picnic outside under a huge shady tree right by the stage door and saw many of the cast members come in and some talked to us on their way in. Erin Wilson (ensemble) waved to my friend and I during “One Short Day” too. Just the day over-all was amazing and I said at the end of it, that my experience went full-circle in that one day.
Other than Wicked, what are some of your favorite shows?
My other favorite shows are Rent, West Side Story, Annie, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Mamma Mia, Little House on the Prairie, Mary Poppins, Lion King & Wizard of Oz. (I actually went to high school with a girl that played Dorothy on Broadway while I was in high school)
Which “Wicked” alumni/current cast member’s work outside of “Wicked” do you admire most?
My top two favorites right now are Merideth Kaye Clark and Carrie Manolakos. Both are amazing talented and Merideth’s new album is just amazing. Really looking forward to when Carrie releases hers. I also love Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth also.