Today’s Fan Interview is with Chad Campbell. Chad is from Toledo, Ohio and has seen the show nine times between the Broadway, 1st National Tour, and 2nd National Tour productions. He first saw in the show on July 28, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio, and last saw it March 8, 2011 on Broadway. Thanks Chad for doing this interview!
When was the last time you saw the show and what production?
The last time I saw Wicked was March 8, 2011 on Broadway.
Who is your favorite Elphaba and why?
My favorite Elphaba is Jackie Burns. I have to say that I was very reluctant before seeing her because she had only joined the tour a few weeks before I saw her, so I wasn’t sure how great of a grasp she would have on Elphaba. I was definitely excited to hear her sing because a fresh voice to the part usually means a pure and clear sound. After I heard her sing “The Wizard and I,” I knew I was in for a treat. It was so incredible to see her perform because, in my opinion, she had the character down to a T. The littlest things went so far. For example, she did some really awkward things with her hands, but it added so much to Elphaba…now whether that was intentional or not, it was great! Her acting and singing were top notch!
Who is your favorite Glinda and why?
My favorite Glinda is Katie Rose Clarke. I must say I had high expectations for Katie going into the performance, but she did not let me down in any way. Her vocals were incredible and her comedic timing was unbelievable. I could not get over how amazing her performance was. She has been playing Glinda for over three years between Broadway and the First National Tour, and it seriously shows. In my opinion, she knows the character in and out. When she is on stage, I couldn’t help but watch her because she has this amazing stage presence that just shines. I will never forget her performance…and I’ll try not to compare others to her!
Who is your favorite Fiyero and why?
My favorite Fiyero is Cliffton Hall. He was the first Fiyero I ever saw, and I was extremely impressed with him. What I loved is that he was able to sing through the part with such ease. He even added a few riffs that weren’t too much but were just nice to hear. Also, his acting along with his chemistry with Elphaba and Glinda were great! Compared to other Fiyero’s I’ve seen, I found that when he was doing the choreography for “Dancing Through Life” he wasn’t extremely focused on the movements, he just did them like they were natural.
Which Elphaba/Glinda pair that you’ve seen do you feel had the best chemistry?
I think Jackie Burns and Chandra Lee Schwartz had the best chemistry of any pair I’ve seen. I, once again, found it odd that such great chemistry was established even though Jackie had only recently joined the tour. Throughout the show I found that they really portrayed the love/hate relationship that blossoms; when I watched them perform “For Good,” I was blown away. I could genuinely feel that they felt their friendship being lost…INCREDIBLE! I wish I could see them again!
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)
One stand out that I have seen is Marcie Dodd. I have seen her as Elphaba four different times. I first saw her as the understudy in the 1st National Tour, and then I saw her as the lead on the 2nd National Tour. She had definitely developed the character quite a bit. I would say that without a doubt she knows the essence of Elphaba, and it was such a treat to watch.
Also, I have seen Marilyn Caskey as Madame Morrible six times, and I absolutely love her! I could always hear the hatred for Elphaba in her voice during “Defying Gravity” and other songs. In my opinion, she had a great concept for the two sides of Madame Morrible.
P.J. Benjamin is a great Wizard, too. I’ve seen him twice in the role and he is definitely my favorite Wizard that I’ve seen.
Also, I loved seeing Michelle London as Nessarose. She has a bit of harshness in the character, but it’s just right. I have seen her perform five times and have never been disappointed. She puts everything into the character and makes a great transitions even though the character can be a bit bipolar between acts 1 and 2.
Have you seen any understudies in the show? If so, what did you enjoy most about their performances?
The understudies I have seen are: Marcie Dodd, Anne Brummel, and Christeena Michelle Riggs.
One thing I loved about first seeing Marcie in 2007 as an understudy is that her voice was so terrific. I think the role of Elphaba can certainly take a tole on the actress’ voice, and since she probably didn’t go on a lot, her voice was in great condition. That being said though, it was still amazing on her final 2nd National Tour final performance, which means she was singing in a very healthy way.
With Anne, I enjoyed her take on the character. She was the first Elphaba I saw that wasn’t Marcie, and she had a different interpretation. It was fun to see someone else play a role that I had already gotten used to!
Christeena was my first Glinda, so I didn’t really have an comparisons besides Kristin Chenoweth on the OBCR. She was wonderful in the role and was very fresh. She was also extremely hilarious during Popular; overall, I really enjoyed her!
We all know that the orchestra plays a huge part of the “Wicked” experience. Has one production’s orchestra stood out to you? If so, which one, and why?
The Broadway orchestra was beyond amazing. I had been used to touring orchestras, which usually feature local musicians, so it was AWESOME to hear an orchestra that has been with the music. It was just an overall amazing experience in the Gershwin with a phenomenal orchestra!
If you stagedoor, tell us about your favorite stagedoor experience.
I have gone to the stagedoor for every performance except my first time. It is so much fun to meet the actors and see them out of costume! I have two favorite experiences though.
My first stand out experience was in Toledo. I had seen the show four times already because the theater was only fifteen minutes from my house. The fifth time I saw it I was lucky enough to have been granted a backstage tour from Erin Wilson (Shen Shen). It was very special because it happened 2 days before my birthday so it was definitely an early birthday present in my opinion!
My second stand out stage door experience was in Columbus. After being blown away by Jackie and Chandra, my friend and I went to the stage door. As the cast was coming out we were really waiting for Jackie, but her, Richard H. Blake, and Randy Danson hadn’t come out. Well we were determined to see her so we waited quite a while. We finally caught her on her way back into the theater for the evening performance! We were talking to her about how great she was, and she asked if we had gotten all the signatures we wanted. We asked to get Richard and Randy’s so she took our playbills and we went to go get dinner. When we came back to get our playbills she surprised us and put a signed picture of her in it. It was so awesome that she took the time to do that for us; needless to say, we were extremely grateful.
Tell us about your favorite performance of “Wicked” that you have seen.
My favorite performance was March 8, 2011 of the Broadway production. I had seen the show 8 times prior to that, but it was my first time seeing it on Broadway which made it extra special. Additionally, I was able to see it with my best friend, and it was her 9th time seeing the show, too! We had Teal Wicks and Katie Rose Clarke going on that night, and it was incredible! I had been dying to see Katie perform for years. I first saw her in the PBS broadcast of “The Light in the Piazza” and was blown away. I had hoped to see her on tour but was never able to, so I’m extremely happy that it worked out! The experience of being able to see Wicked in the Gershwin theater on Broadway was an completely unforgettable.
Where is your favorite place to see the production from (ie. Orchestra, Balcony, etc.) and why?
I love seeing the show from the Orchestra. I have won the Wicked Lottery three times, which allowed me to sit in the Orchestra, as opposed to the balcony where I was used to! Being so close you’re able to catch every facial reaction, and everything is so clear. Although one side of the stage is usually out of view, I have seen it enough that I don’t mind.
Have you seen any fun bloopers or mishaps occur?
I have only witnessed one blooper. In Toledo, during Elphaba’s “freak out” at Shiz, Nessa’s wheelchair didn’t move. It was very interesting to see Michelle (who was on as Nessa) have to deal with the wheel chair just staying in one place.
What are some other shows that you enjoy?
I love Thoroughly Modern Millie, A Chorus Line, Next to Normal, Memphis, Legally Blonde, Mary Poppins, Ragtime, The Pirate Queen, and I could go on and on!
Which “Wicked” actor or alumni’s work do you enjoy the most, and why?
I absolutely LOVE Stephanie J. Block. I unfortunately have never gotten to see her as Elphaba, but I am truly a huge fan of hers. I learned of her through the Grimmerie and from headlining the 1st National Tour. I have looked up her other works and have luckily gotten to see her in concert. I met her after a “Wicked Divas” Concert in Columbus and it was so amazing to meet her. I was lucky enough to hear her sing “Defying Gravity” at the concert. From that concert and from youtube clips of her singing at concerts and birdland, I have noticed that she puts everything into every performance. A song is not just a song for her, SJB really gets into every character, which is wonderful to see from an actress.