Today, we have a fan interview with Dustin P., who lives in Illinois and has seen the show eight times as of now, between the Chicago sit-down, first national tour, and Broadway productions. He has plans to see the show several more times this year. Check out his interview below!
Who is your favorite Elphaba and why?
This is an incredibly tough question for me and my answer can change depending on the time of day. I have been fortunate enough to see some of the best actresses to step in the role, by my standards at least, and each one of them has brought a certain element to the character that another one may have not. But if I had to choose one as my favorite, it would have to be Nicole Parker. She brought such lovable qualities to the role and she was the perfect balance of angsty teen and self-concious nerd. Truth be told, when I walked into the Gershwin that evening, I was expecting Nicole’s acting alone to carry her through the show. I had heard from others that her voice was good, but not anything truly incredible. However, I was greatly mistaken. Her voice was strong and pure, and she added subtle riffs that were very well placed. She performed the most haunting Defying Gravity that I have ever witnessed–every facial expression, every gesture… everything she did was golden. Her performance aside, Nicole is also the kindest, most warm-hearted performer that I have ever had the opportunity to meet, and I have nothing but respect for her. She is the epitome of a star.
Who is your favorite Glinda and why?
This question is a bit easier for me to answer, because no other Glinda has affected (effected?) me the way that Katie Rose Clarke has. I saw Katie four times, and she was consistent each and every time, but still managed to add little quirks to her performance to keep it fresh and fun. Her voice, while a bit quiet, was clear and beautiful, and one couldn’t help but love the Texan twang when she spoke. Katie’s Thank Goodness was powerful and moved me to the verge of tears–she doesn’t just have a great soprano, but a wonderful belt as well. Her character’s transformation from Act I to Act II was seemingly effortless and, in my opinion, Katie has changed the role of Glinda for the better; she’s added new layers to the character that may have not been there before. She’s truly a spectacle in herself.
Which Elphie/Glinda pair do you think has the best chemistry?
Carmen Cusack and Katie Rose Clarke, hands down. I’ve seen 5 different pairs of witches and the 4 others’ chemistry could not hold a candle to that of Carmen and Katie’s; their friendship off stage definitely resonated within the performances that I saw. Every interaction between the two was so real.
What other standouts have you seen in other principal roles? What about ensemble?
Oh, gosh, let’s see… Alma Cuervo as Madame Morrible was stellar. She embodied the character and, by the end of the show, was truly Wicked. I sincerely hope that she returns to the role some day. Rondi Reed as Madame Morrible was truly fantastic as well. She was so theatrical! However, I think the role is entirely too small for someone with her talent. She is a Tony Award winner after all! I also have to mention Summer Naomi Smart and Deedee Magno Hall as Nessarose, Brad Weinstock and Alex Brightman as Boq, and Tom Flynn as Dr. Dillamond respectively. They, too, were fantastic in their roles. As for ensemble, I thought they were all fantastic, however, I have soft spots for Cristin Boyle and Mindy Reid of the Chicago production.
Who are some standout understudies you have seen?
I’ve only ever seen one understudy in Wicked and that was Vicki Noon as Elphaba at the matinee on July 19, 2008 in Chicago. Seeing that she is now the principal Elphaba on the 2NT, it would be absurd to say that she wasn’t a standout. She gave such a powerful performance–it was hard for me to grasp that it was her first show!
Who is the nicest person you have met at the stagedoor?
Nicole Parker. I’ve been a fan of her work for many years, and she was kind enough to invite me backstage to meet her and Alli in their dressing rooms. She was so humble and acted as if she had known me for several years–for the half-hour that I got to spend with her, the conversation was endless. Meeting her was truly a dream come true; she’s an incredibly talented actress and performer and her kindness only made me love her more.
What was your favorite time seeing the show?
Definitely when I saw it on Broadway. I don’t know what it was, I guess it was just the excitement of being in New York City, but the feeling was indescribable. The backstage meet and greet was an added bonus :).
Other than Wicked, what are some of your favorite shows?
9 to 5, Cabaret, Gypsy, Legally Blonde, The Light in the Piazza, Mary Poppins, Next to Normal, The Phantom of the Opera, RENT, South Pacific… there are too many to name!
Which “Wicked” alumni/current cast member’s work outside of “Wicked” do you admire most?
Idina Menzel and Stephanie J. Block. I think Idina has made a really good name for herself and, in addition to that, I think she has been able to maintain a really solid career in a little bit of everything: Film, music, television, theatre… she does a bit of everything! Stephanie is just an all-around fantastic performer and she is passionate about what she does–I always look forward to whatever she does next. She’s actually going to be in the Muny’s production of CATS this summer as Grizzabella and even though I’m not a fan of the show itself, I plan on catching her in it in July.