Let me give a little bit of back story. We saw the Lion King in New York, and then saw it in Los Angeles. It was a tad disappointing. "Why?" I wondered, "doesn't the same talent pool exist here in LA?"
When Wicked came to LA I was gun shy of another disappointment. I'd just go see it in New York I told myself. Then our neighbor apparently saw it. I don't know for certain, he was a nutter and we tried to not engage him in any way shape or form. But one day, out of the blue, we were in our backyard when some crazy musical theater nonsense came blasting out of his house and over our fence. Being predisposed to disliking him, I took an immediate dislike to whatever he was playing. It was Wicked. It was LOUD. Me no-likey.
Now that was over two years ago. Everyone I know has seen it. Most of them more than once. Some of them more than 5 times. Some of them in different cities. I think they are nuts.
I read the book "Wicked" and I didn't just dislike it, I hated it. Yes, I finished it. But no, I did not like it at all. Well written. Well crafted. NOT MY STYLE.
When I heard that the Los Angeles production will be closing in January I decided, well heck, I may as well see it while it's here, clearly I am not getting to New York soon enough, and I got us tickets.
Lyle was apprehensive. "We're seeing what? That music the nut job was playing so loud over the fence? Uh... I guess if you're forcing me, I'll go."
Well shut my mouth. We both liked it!
Certainly the Gin & Tonics prior to, and during intermission helped.
The performances we saw in Los Angeles, though unique to the performers themselves, were still quite evocative of Kristin Chenowith and Idena Menzel who originated the roles on Broadway. Only in as much as I have seen clips of their performances on TV.
Upon learning that I had popped my "Wicked" cherry, the "Wicked heads" all wanted to know what my favorite number from the show was. I hadn't really thought about it, but I can say with all clarity that what I said to Lyle during the show was the I loved the number "Popular".
At our performance the role of Glinda was played by Erin Mackey and Elphaba by Marcie Dodd. Marci Dodd was the standby for her role but I never once felt underwhelmed. And while I feel that Los Angeles audiences can sometimes leap to their feet for what I felt was good but not great performance, I had no problem rising to the occasion on Tuesday night. It really was a great show.
Now for a little too much information: As a child I watched "The Wizard of Oz" as often as I could. Whenever it came on TV, whenever I played at a theater. But without fail, even in my 20's, one part of that movie haunted me in my dreams. Those damn Flying Monkeys. And though I know we had come to see the musical based on the same story the thought of those monkeys never crossed my mind... until they appeared on stage... YIKES!!! (to be fair, I am the same person who saw the Musical "Titanic" on Broadway and was so sad at the end because I had hoped they would focus on a happy ending where more people lived.)
Next up, 9 to 5 the musical on October 14th. I hear it's phenomenal!