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Review: 10/24/18, Evening Performance
Jenn Offline
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Posts: 53
Joined: Jun 2018
Post: #1
Review: 10/24/18, Evening Performance
Hi guys!

So I saw Wicked on Broadway for the first time last Wednesday! The last time I had seen the show was....4 years ago? The last time the tour was in Los Angeles. I had seen the LA sit-down production a number of times, and before then twice with the original 1NT cast. A couple friends and I tried the lotto on a whim after an audition let out early and we won!

I don't know if anyone necessarily cares but I wanted to share my thoughts on the current Broadway cast!

*All principles on except for Tess Ferrell as Nessa*


Jessica Vosk: I was SO excited to finally hear Jessica live and I'm so happy to say that she exceeded my expectations. From the beginning, I found her character to be very clear, although I've heard others say that her acting is rather dull. Her Elphaba is dry, sarcastic, and some what reserved. She is socially awkward, as one might expect of a character who has been shunned all her life. As soon as The Wizard and I begins, her walls lowered and we saw very clearly that her Elphaba was hopeful, excited, and frankly, very cute. She's spent her whole life being neglected by her father and excluded by her peers, and now Madame Morrible comes along promising her great things--she's become the excited little girl that she probably never got to be. As the show progressed, she grew more and more bitter with each plot development. When she learns of the Wizard's true nature, and throughout Defying Gravity, it's difficult to not feel her disappointment, as if she's saying "This was too good to be true. I should have known." I found her beats and thought process to be very clear, which kept me excited and interested.

Vocally, she is ASTOUNDING. The ease with which she sings this role is downright incredible. (At the risk of sounding like such a jerk) I'm an opera singer with multiple degrees, and I've heard a lot of good vocal technique, but Vosk rivals some of the healthiest singers in my field. I expected that she would stick mostly to score as it had been the second show of the day, but she interpolated her preferred ornaments in each big number. The fact that this music sounds so easy in her voice continues to blow me away. It isn't a huge voice, but it doesn't need to be--it is aligned, healthy and beautiful, and possesses the great witchy quality (the "ping") that is so essential in both Broadway theaters and opera houses. Big, big fan at this point.

Amanda Jane Cooper: What a cutie! I adored a lot of what Amanda brought to the role. Her opening is heart wrenching, because the audience can see that Glinda has already been on a journey. She sounds as though she's holding back tears, attempting to join in the festivities. In Dancing Through Life, at the party, I can feel the guilt in her voice, and I found that they way she delivers her sadder spoken lines (particularly with the slight cracks in the voice) very effective. Her Popular was unique among my experiences seeing the show. She plays the scene as tipsy after a long night of partying, as opposed to just being spazzy. (As much as I loved Megan Hilty, I found the spazziness of her later performances in LA to be overdone.) I enjoyed a lot of the little growls that she put on certain words ("to express my OUTRAGE")--they were very funny! An observation: the friendship between the two leads is very obvious. For Good was incredibly touching and tears were shed by everyone around me.


Vocally, Amanda's voice was very thin and it sounded as though her head voice is pretty much non existent. I wasn't sure if it was from it being the second show of the day (I think she called out the following day, actually..?) or if it is a frequent thing with her. I felt almost nervous for her--I regularly did not think she was going to hit many of her notes, even the ones that were not that high up in her range. Her register shifts were not very clean, and she relied on a lot of scoops and hiccups to move from lower to higher notes. However, she had a lovely belt that appeared in Thank Goodness that I wanted more of!! Some of her lines were very reminiscent of Chenoweth, which was delightful. An observation, not really a critique--I didn't really feel that the two voices blended together all the well.

Ryan McCarten: Ryan actually has a really lovely voice that fits Fiyero nicely, but he read a bit too young for me onstage. When he made his first entrance, I felt like I was watching an undergraduate production of Wicked, just a little bit. The line delivery was incredibly dull and somewhat forced. (Totally understand that Fiyero's dialogue isn't award winning or anything but the "it's daytime" line was a little painful, especially since there was ZERO audience reaction--something I'll mention later haha.) I didn't find him particularly charming and the whole thing felt just a little bit off kilter to me. I will say that I found the Lion Cub scene very cute and I thought he did very well--but I also felt like I was seeing a different character appear entirely.

I liked him MUCH more in the second act, where he finally was able to emote a little bit more and had meatier dialogue and subtext, particularly in Thank Goodness. I didn't feel any sort of spicy chemistry between him and either witch, but again, I thought the cub scene was done nicely. I hate to say this because I actually really like the number, but I kind of spaced out during As Long as You're Mine, whoops. I also really like how he makes his final exit with a jolly little step a la Wizard of Oz.

Isabel Keating: I really liked Isabel as Morrible. She had a quiet, pushy attitude that was very real--even reminiscent of actual people I know in real life. She was also quite funny at times. I always felt that Morrible is often played as very scary, but Isabel convinced me that she doesn't need to be. It feels as though she is truly playing her as a shady political figure, and I enjoyed the performance.

Kevin Chamberlin: I wouldn't say that I LOVED Kevin, but he felt sturdy and sure in the role. He isn't as sprightly as other Wizards I've seen, but I don't think that that is necessarily a flaw. His numbers were just kind of there (And I actually like Wonderful lol) There was just not a whole lot that stood out to me a week later, aside from a few line deliveries I chuckled at earlier on.

Tess Ferrell: There is something about the way that Tess voices this character that truly embodies the spoiled side of Nessarose. Her "Wicked Witch of the East" is almost whiny and I kind of loved it. It especially works once Elphaba delivers her "I have done everything for you and it hasn't been enough" line. I recall hearing that line a couple times in LA and thinking that it wasn't an accurate culmination of their relationship up until that point. But Tess really commits to the "I don't need you, I can take care of myself!" facade, and when she realizes that her sister is not giving her what she wants, we can really see the mask fall--we realize that Nessarose doesn't have the sweetness people assign to her. I thought she had a very well thought out and executed portrayal and I was very impressed.

Jye Frasca: I had some mixed feelings about Jye. I didn't love a lot of his choices in the first act, as many felt phoned in and awkward compared to his colleagues. I found his jealousy of Fiyero very funny! As his material grew more dramatic, I liked him more. I felt that he really stood his ground in Wicked Witch of the East, and and became a true player in the scene as opposed to other Boq's. I will say that as his dramatic work improved, the quality of the vocals worsened. I chalked it up to him being tired after a long day. I thought his American accent was pretty good, too!

Martin Moran: Ok honestly, I was really impressed with Dillamond. He really stood out in such a small role, and his interactions with Jessica worked very well. Maybe it is because he is rather vital to the political issues in the show that he is sticking out to me, but I don't recall feeling as inspired by those creepy little goat gloves as I was last week. He played the fearful emotions very well, and he had a great presence. Overall, a solid performance and cast member.

The ensemble and orchestra both started off on funky notes--it seemed as though the conductor and orchestra could not quite decide on which tempo to take, and ensemble joined that struggle at the top of the show. Everything lined up nicely by the time What is This Feeling? came around, and everyone rocked it out from then on out. I thought that the dancers really came alive in Dancing Through Life and it was so enchanting to watch.

I will also say that this audience was SO. COMPLETELY. DEAD. PAINFULLY SO. Many, many jokes failed to land. Numbers had such a little applause (nobody clapped after I'm Not That Girl--did they not know it was the end of the number..?) Only after Defying Gravity did it finally feel like there was a willing audience in the house, and it kind of sucked cause I felt like the cast was working so hard for such little payoff.

Anyway, this ended up being way longer than I intended, but it was fun to write!

:-)
10-30-2018 07:56 PM
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munchinlander Offline
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Posts: 142
Joined: Jan 2014
Post: #2
RE: Review: 10/24/18, Evening Performance
Awesome review.

Regarding Amanda Jane. I saw her on tour twice and felt the same way. The operatic moments in Glinda's songs were almost non existent and her belt in Thank Goodness was indeed lovely. Her overall performance was very strong.

When I saw her on tour, I was very apprehensive at first as she's had very mixed reviews online, I have even "seen" her cutting that final note on Thank Goodness. HOWEVER, after seeing her for the first time, I thought she was amazing and even stole the show. Her acting choices were just perfect. Her Popular kinda reminded me with her #baeseries on instagram, it was hilarious. I am a huge fan.

When i found out Ryan McCartan was going to be the new Fiyero, I immediately thought he looked too young specially compared to Jess and AJC.
(This post was last modified: 10-31-2018 12:32 PM by munchinlander.)
10-31-2018 12:29 PM
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Jenn Offline
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Posts: 53
Joined: Jun 2018
Post: #3
RE: Review: 10/24/18, Evening Performance
(10-31-2018 12:29 PM)munchinlander Wrote:  Awesome review.

Regarding Amanda Jane. I saw her on tour twice and felt the same way. The operatic moments in Glinda's songs were almost non existent and her belt in Thank Goodness was indeed lovely. Her overall performance was very strong.

When I saw her on tour, I was very apprehensive at first as she's had very mixed reviews online, I have even "seen" her cutting that final note on Thank Goodness. HOWEVER, after seeing her for the first time, I thought she was amazing and even stole the show. Her acting choices were just perfect. Her Popular kinda reminded me with her #baeseries on instagram, it was hilarious. I am a huge fan.

When i found out Ryan McCartan was going to be the new Fiyero, I immediately thought he looked too young specially compared to Jess and AJC.



Thanks! I love that we basically had the exact thought process!

Yes, Popular was so funny--it does seem like AJC truly is her Glinda interpretation in real life, haha. And yeah, he does feel young in comparison to the two (which I expected, but didn't mind as much as thought as I would) but he just read so young across the board. Like, it felt strange to look up and realize I was watching a Broadway show. I didn't think he was awful or anything, but I would have preferred to maybe see Ryan join the show in a couple more years.
10-31-2018 03:57 PM
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defygravity777 Offline
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Posts: 1,517
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Post: #4
RE: Review: 10/24/18, Evening Performance
Nice review.

I saw Amanda Jane on both tours and Broadway over the past 7yrs and she has always been hit or miss. Some shows she struggles with her voice as she tends to get hoarse. Some shows she sounds incredible like she did on Tuesday night.

I also saw Jess on tour about 4 months into her run every other week until her last and the growth she has had in the role is amazing. Her acting is top notch and her voice is insane and always has been. She has definitely become a favorite of mine and her and Amanda Jane have become my favorite pair. Their chemistry is like no others.

Changed for good on Oct 23,2010!!!

11-02-2018 10:41 AM
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