Fan Interview: Den

Den and his wife with Stephanie J. Block

Den and his wife with Stephanie J. Block

Today, we have a fan interview from Den, a fan who has seen the show twelve times between Broadway and the tours from 2007 until just last year! He is based in Maryland.

When was the last time you saw the show and what production?

I saw the touring company in July 2011 in D.C. at the Kennedy Center.

Who is your favorite Elphaba and why?

Stephanie J. Block – when she is on stage, she IS Elphaba. Not only is she an amazing vocalist, her acting is impeccable. She personifies the role and becomes one with the role. I have also seen her in 9 To 5 and she was amazing in that.

Who is your favorite Glinda and why?

Annaleigh Ashford – she is just so spontaneous. She is such a crazy Glinda that she will always have you laughing hysterically. Her rendition of Popular is almost never the same. There is always something very outlandish but you never know what she’s going to throw in.

Which Elphaba/Glinda pair that you’ve seen do you feel had the best chemistry?

It’s a 3 way tie:

Annaleigh and SJB were amazing. We saw them maybe 5 shows before SJB was to end her run on B’way so I am sure all those shows were very emotional. Two consummate actresses working together. Definitely a dream pair. We tried three times to see them. First we had tickets but SJB was on her honemoon.The next time she had the sprained ankle. Luckily we met her at the very end. For a while it looked as tough she wasn’t going to be back because of the injury.

Lisa Brescia and Annaleigh. I think Lisa was taken off guard a bit as she was the standby and SJB had sprained her ankle a day or two before. Annaleigh was just so crazy but Lisa was able to go with the flow and perform to the tee even with all of Annaleigh’s antics. I really don’t know how Lisa kept from cracking up. Lisa has the voice of a songbird and her trademark double “Again” in No Good Deed is something everyone should have experienced.

Christina DeCicco and Coleen Sexton were absolutely wonderful and so in sync it was touching. Most amazing is Coleen was a standby. I think what got me was, as Coleen was closing the curtain before she is “watered down” she put her hand to her heart signifying a handprint. Christina was my first Glinda, and in my opinion, vastly under rated.

What other standouts have you seen in leading roles? (these can be other standouts in the three main leads and/or the other big roles in the show) 

Den with Rondi Reed

Den with Rondi Reed

Rondi Reed is one of the best Morribles you can see and she is the most generous and personable. Nothing to do with Wicked, but I have to say she aways wishes me Happy Birthday on Facebook and takes time to answer messages. I was unaware she is currently on Mike and Molly and she generously sent me the first season DVD signed by the entire cast along with a Happy Holidays card. Class act and one of the scariest Morribles to watch.

PJ Benjamin (Wizard) is also a great performer. I love his sing and dance style. He knows how to work that hat! I bet he did a little Vaudeville way back when!

Have you seen any understudies in the show? If so, what did you enjoy most about their performances?

Laura Woyasz, twice. Very, very talented and hard to understand why she never became a lead. I think she would definitely make my top 5 list of Glindas. Great voice and very good portrayal of Glinda. Another zany performer during Popular.

Kathy Santen went on as Morrible. It was strange in that Kathy is a younger woman and part of the ensemble. She is always so cheerful and friendly when you see her and it was a 360 degree turn around seeing her as this evil person. I’d never imagine her pulling it off until I saw it for myself. Great job!!!

If you stagedoor, tell us about your favorite stagedoor experiences.

Meeting Lindsay Northen because I met her after a show during B’way Cares but didn’t get a photo. I realized after I got home she was the gal that had a website with all her ensemble photos. We became myspace friends (that dates that, right?) and she would always respond. It was nice to see her at the stage door the next time we met  – she remembered me and I got a photo but I will always regret not getting the photo with her in costume.

Stephanie J. Block. She was back to performing after the ankle injury when we met her but we had heard that she was not doing the stage door. She was still undergoing PT which meant she had to get home right after the show to tend to it. We wanted to meet her so very badly and heard nothing but good things about her, so we figured stage dooring prior to a show was our only shot. If she wasn’t up to it we’d understand. We were on the sidewalk outside the stage door and my wife remarked that we were probably too early. I looked up and crossing the street was Stephanie AND Sebastian, her husband. We made eye contact and I know she could tell I was a very admiring fan. That and the fact my jaw about hit the concrete. I firstly said that we apologize if being there before the show was intrusive but that we knew this was the only way we could meet her and she quickly said that she loves her fans and she felt so bad about not being able to appear after the shows and told us how Sebastian escorts her to and from the show each day then helps with her PT. She was complimentary about our attire (I wear pink sneakers with green laces, and Althea had a “Go Green” shirt on) and she said how cute we were.

We of course also said hello to Sebastian and I shook his hand. Stephanie and I talked about diabetes and her involvement (I have diabetes myself).  When I felt I was talking too much and apologized she told me she wanted to hear about my health. She is a truly caring and wonderful person.

We asked if we could get photos and Sebastian said he would take a photo of Althea and I with Stephanie. Can you imagine that? He even took two to make sure we got a good one.  That was truly an experience we will never forget. We saw her again at 9 to 5 and she remembered us.

Den with Mandy Gonzalez

Den with Mandy Gonzalez

Lisa Brescia. She is just the kindest soul you could meet. We saw her at a matinee and really wanted to meet her but she didn’t come out We weren’t sure what to do and we saw David Burnham (Fiyero). He said she’d probably be a little delayed because she was going over notes with production but she usually come out. We waited a bit longer, Cristy Candler came out and took photos with us and she affirmed Lisa would probably not be too much longer. When Lisa came out she was surprised to see us waiting and apologized that she took so long. We got photos and I kidded Althea since she always tends to complain about her photos, asking if she was ready and Lisa said she would take as many photos needed to get it right. We spoke a little about her teaming with Annaleigh and she lovingly dubbed her a “whack job onstage.” We kept in touch with Lisa via snail mail and we we let her know we’d be seeing her in a production near us in D.C.

On the day of the show we were outside a coffe shop and who emerges, but Lisa! I called out, “Hello pretty lady”, and she turned and said “Den and Althea, I knew you were coming because I had you in my planner.” We got photos with her and she told us how happy she was that we came out to support her again. We really need to get over to Mamma Mia but we have been lazy.

Christina Decicco. We became myspace friends and kept in touch after the first time I saw the show. She and Victoria even signed a photo and birthday card I wanted to

give to my wife. The second time we saw Wicked was in Philly and we were at the stage door. At one point my mind wandered momentarily. Next thing I know, I heard a female voice saying my name. I looked up and it was Christina approaching me with outstretched arms to give me a big hug!!!! I introduced her to Althea and she hugged her as well.

Nicole Parker was also very nice to us and Althea got her to do a little bit of Britney Spears as though she was a Wicked cast member!!!

We spotted Mandy Gonzalez before a show (we got there a bit earlier than expected) and when asked for a photo, she introduced us to her parents who had accompanied her and she had her mom take the photo.

Where is your favorite place to see the production from (ie. Orchestra, Balcony, etc.) and why?

Definitely the orchestra. The closer the better. I like being up close and seeing all the facial expressions. Some things you just can’t see from far away. I take my wife,

Althea each year to B’way to see the show for her birthday and I will spend money for the Premium Seats if needed. In fact just got Row CC dead center in April!

Have you seen any fun bloopers or mishaps occur? 

There have been a few times when the wrong line was delivered. I can’t remember exactly what. I do remember Mandy Gonzalez (Elphaba) said Uncle Henry instead of Uncle What’s His name.

What are some other shows that you have enjoyed?

9 To 5, Legally Blonde, Rock of Ages, Grease, West Side Story, Night Fever, The Wedding Singer. I (we) tend to relate most to shows with a pop culture theme.

I don’t think we’d relate as much to shows like Les Mis or Next To Normal although I have no doubt they are incredible.

Which “Wicked” actor or alumni’s work do you enjoy the most, and why?

Definitely Megan Hilty! I absolutely LOVE her and he was incredible in 9 To 5. I cannot wait for Smash (her new TV show). I also LOVE Coleen Sexton and she was great in Legally Blonde. She spent a good 5 – 10 minutes talking to us after a show in Philly since no one else approached her. Did you know she loves motorcycles and has an online ad/video promoting a motorcycle stand? She has a great voice and when you think of the stamina she must have to jumprope and sing every night – WOW. That woman is in tip top shape.

 

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