Let me first say: it's always hard I think, not to be a WEE BIT disappointed by something when you have been submerged in hype for, say, 8 years. I am not a huge "broadway fan" to begin with, and after years of theatre-going, studying drama theory and criticism, and analyzing all of the work I'm doing, you're doing, everyone is doing... it's also hard not be become a bit jaded. In addition, I love Kristin Chenoweth and think is has a fabulous knack for comedy and creating original characters. So I knew... I knew that seeing this show without her would hurt. However, I also knew that it would be an experience much like flying through a good book you cannot put down, and one for which I was eager and excited.
As we were leaving Wicked - my first time seeing it ever - I had both of those feelings. I was both slightly disappointed, and yet still very entrapped in the story. Happily, I think the Hubs felt the same way. He spent a lot of money, and got us amazing seats, because he knew how long I had been waiting to see this particular show, and how exciting it was for me to have an evening of professional live theatre. Excited is probably an understatement. I had been talking about it for several weeks, I spent about three hours getting ready, we left over an hour early to make sure "we got there on time." In fact, our whole conversation in the five minute car ride (putting us there at 7:05pm for an 8:00pm show), was about how EXCITED I was. Even after we'd gotten cookies and wine and sat down to wait... for 45 minutes... I just kept talking about how EXCITED I was. Finally, Tim informed me he had noted: just how excited I was.
So you can see how all this excitement set that whole show up with a WEE BIT of hype.
The spectacle of this show is simply stunning, and doesn't disappoint. The costumes, sets, lighting, special effects... all tremendously done, and with such fluidity and consistency, it is in a word: seamless. The singing and dancing is fantastic. Sometimes the harmonies in this particular musical make me want to swoon, and the leading ladies did not disappoint. The scripted humor is spot on, the wit is bright and takes you by surprise. And the story is both dark and serious, and whimsical all at the same time.
The story. The story is powerful. In seeing this show, I realized something about this story. It has to be made personal, in order to be as powerful as it can be... as it should be. You can see clips on Youtube of the originators of the leading roles in performance. Their absolute love for the characters and affection for each other is so deeply evident... even in a terrible pirated video clip on someone's not-so-smart-phone. That was the one thing missing from the production we saw. On the outside, everything was perfect, smooth, and seamless. It was a tidy package. But there was that deep investment in the two women's friendship that was absent. In reality, you can't expect anything else. Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth truly originated these roles. They created them, with bits of their own personalities and their own relationship. No one else had played them or sung them before. All of their personal touches and intimate quirks have now been copied by replacement cast members. While it is a compliment, a testimony to their talents and perfectness for the roles, it can never be QUITE as good as the real thing.
I think my review ends there. It's a good show. I never once lost interest, I never wondered what time it was, I didn't check my cell phone. (I did wonder things like "why is that guy wearing a dress?") It was just missing Kristin Chenoweth. She is so funny.
Hubby, thank you for a wonderful night out, a fantastic evening of entertainment that I will never forget. I love that you love me enough to sit through three hours of bright green witches and men dancing around in skirts.