Today, we have a fan interview from Mitchell Z., who has seen the show four times between the first national tour and the San Francisco production of the show.
Describe your first time seeing the show.
I first saw the show in San Francisco. We were on vacation and with the time difference I was up really early. Wicked was the one thing I was most excited about during that vacation so, with my getting up early I had a long day of anticipation ahead of me. I don’t really even remember what we did during the time before the show – I do remember walking over the Golden Gate bridge though. During the month before heading out to the West Coast, I went from absolutely HATING Teal Wicks to loving her. I had also discovered Vicki Noon during this time and she was immediately one of my favorites. I was also excited to see Kendra, a true Wicked veteran, she had to be doing something right if shes held the role for nearly five years. Skip to that evening and I remember elbowing through the crowd to get to the “At This Performance” board. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t a little disappointed to see that Vicki Noon and Natalie Daradich were both on as leads, but I knew I would enjoy myself and that Defying Gravity was only an hour and a half away :). My mother and I made it to our seats, right on the center aisle about 15 rows from the stage (PERFECT) and I remember my heart pounding as the pre-announcement came over the speakers, and the first notes of No One Mourns the Wicked echoed through the theater. Skip to where Elphaba flees from the Wizard and the Wizard sends guards after her, starting the song Defying Gravity. Time seemed to slow down as I waited for the flying portion. But as Elphaba soared into the air, my heart nearly flew out of my mouth – the minute and half long piece of eye candy will be something I will never forget.
Who is your favorite Elphaba and why?
My favorite Elphaba would have to be Eden Espinosa. Her last Defying Gravity before her 10 month break in LA was mind blowing.
Who is your favorite Glinda and why?
While I would kill to be Elphaba for a day (even though I’m a guy) I still love the character of Glinda. Megan Hilty, Kendra Kassebaum and Katie Rose Clarke have the most brilliant interpretations out of all the actresses I’ve seen. Megan Hilty because every performance is different for her – she rarely does the same thing twice and I love that about her. Kendra Kassebaum because you can clearly see that she loves what she is doing when she is on stage. And Katie Rose Clarke because she is plain hilarious (Have you seen her last Popular on tour?!?!)
I have two sets: Eden Espinosa and Megan Hilty – They have pretty much been together since 2004, and they are perfection on stage.
Also Vicki Noon and Natalie Daradich. This was my first pair that I saw live and they were flawless. Standbys, in my opinion, are probably closer than the leading ladies themselves. Their job is to sit backstage just for the off chance that something happens during the show and they have to go on. This means that they frequently spend three hours (at least) together a day. The friendship that comes out of that affects their performance on stage greatly.
What other standouts have you seen in other principal roles? What about ensemble?
When I saw the show in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of seeing Patty Duke on as Morrible. She brought a new life to the role, something that I had never seen before. She was hilarious, and her experience in the industry really showed on stage. As or the ensemble I loved Neka Zang and Angel Reda.
Who are some standout understudies you have seen?
The second time I saw the show in San Francisco, Alexa Green was on as Glinda. I was again upset about not seeing Kendra but I quickly got over it because there was nothing about a cover for Elphaba on the “At This Performance” board meaning that I was going to see THE Teal Wicks. I learned that this was going to be Alexa’s second EVER performance, her first being the matinee before I saw the show with Vicki and Natalie, which explained why Teal was not on that night. She did an excellent job. She did flub the line “simple frock” almost saying a word that would have drawn gasps from the audience :). Another thing was that during the catfight scene when Glinda tosses Elphaba her hat, she over threw it and Teal had to pick it up off the floor. But other than that, Alexa has MAJOR potential.
Who is the nicest person you have met at the stagedoor?
I have only gone to the stage door once and that was in Tampa. Meredith Kaye Clark and Chandra Lee Schwartz were on and I was really looking forward to seeing them. But then during the curtain call, the music stopped and I almost screamed because that meant they were going to do a speech. Turns out it was a BC/EFA performance and I ended up meeting Randy Danson (Morrible) in the lobby on my way out. But we finally made it out to the stage door. There wasn’t many people there because it was FREEZING. But Meredith came out first and she was so nice! She signed my playbill and took a picture with me and left on her bike. Then Chandra came out. She signed my playbill and then acted like she wanted nothing to do with anyone else and got in a car. Talk about cold-shoulder, but whatever.
What was your favorite time seeing the show?
That would have to be my first time (see above) but my next favorite would have to be my second time with Alexa and Teal. Mainly Teal’s Defying Gravity. She had refined the great riffs from her days in LA and went from sounding like Brittany Spears to sounding like an Eden Espinosa in the making.
Have you seen any bloopers during a live performance?
Besides the ones with Alexa in San Francisco, I have seen a couple more. One of the times I saw it in Tampa, a spotlight bulb must have blown out because for half of Popular, there was only one spotlight that kept switching between Elphaba and Glinda. Another little one in Tampa was when the chandelier didn’t come down during the scene at the Governor’s mansion. Probably one of the biggest ones is that the lift during Defying Gravity went up a little late when I saw it with Meredith. She sang “It’s Me!” but it didn’t start going up almost until “So if you care to find me…” But at least it went up 🙂