Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Review - Wicked - The Musical

This isn't a review so much as an accounting of a wonderful evening. After waiting for the Wicked tour to finally make a stop in Salt Lake, it took a lot of patient searching and digging to get tickets, but we did get tickets (wonderful tickets actually...great choice of seats Josh). We went with some good friends of ours...Lisa was celebrating her birthday, so it was doubly exciting for her. We started with a great dinner at the nearby Macaroni Grill and then walked to Capitol Theatre, getting to our seats just shortly before curtain.

The show was as amazing as expected. The sets, scenery and costumes were amazing. The music was wonderful and engrossing and the acting was stellar. During the first couple of songs together, I was worried that the voices of Elphaba and Glinda were too similar and would blend together far too closely for distinction. At times it was a little difficult to determine which of them was singing the line, but generally it was alright. Elphaba's voice truly belted us back in our seats, especially during some of her powerful solos such as Defying Gravity (an amazing scene and one of my favorite songs going into the show). The choreography and direction was fabulous...Glinda was truly the personification of bubbly, perky enthusiasm. Her actions during Popular were super fun.

Having listened to the soundtrack a ton and read through the libretto and The Grimmerie as well, I knew basically what was going to happen though there were still a few elements of the plot that I hadn't read about which pleasantly surprised me and brought added depth and intrigue to the story. I'd read the novel a while ago and enjoyed it a lot. The musical downplayed some of the political and social intrigue but still kept enough in the plot to make it poignant and thoughtful. The romantic and friendship elements played out quite differently than in the book but I felt they were very effective considering the medium and the more light-hearted tone of the play.

After the show, we hung out by the stage door and got autographs and photos with the cast members as they came out. We chatted briefly with Nessa, Glinda, and Elphaba and they were extremely friendly and charismatic off stage as well.

Overall this was an amazing production of a wonderful show. I've heard rumors that the touring company loved the Salt Lake response so much that they plan to keep it on the tour schedule in the future. We shall see. I definitely hope to see the show again in the future. It was a great experience and well worth seeing.


Brii333 said...

Yeah, Wicked amazing. :D My personal favorite scenes are Defying Gravity, the Witch hunt scene, and then I did the song "I'm not that girl" for a solo in competitions. (I got a superior rating... not that i'm bragging or anything...)

anyhoo, I'm glad you had fun. It's an amazing musical.

Allison said...

I took my whole family to see the show in NYC 3 years ago and was totally in love with it. It even pleased my 93 grandmother who's favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz.

I came across your blog posting through Google, hope you don't mind. I run a community on facebook called Broadway in Utah. This is a great story and would love to post it on our fan page if you were ok with that. If you want to hear about other Broadway Shows & Theatre events in SLC or connect with like minded folks please check our fan page out.
Thank you!

Okie said...

@Brii - Defying Gravity's my fave. I also really like the Witch Hunt scene, though I like the Elphaba number prior to it a bit more...No Good Deed. I could see "I'm not that girl" as a great solo piece

@Allison - I just joined the facebook fansite. Looks like a great page for keeping up on the quality theatre events that (eventually) make it to Utah. :) Cool that your grandmother loved the show as well. :)

Allison said...

Awesome, great to hear! Thank you. Any shows that you hope to see in the area?

Okie said...

First let me say that I'm very torn and a little disappointed with two hot trends storming the Great White Way these days.

Trend 1: Cheesy Movies-turned-stage shows (Legally Blonde, Wedding Singer, 9 to 5, Shrek, Young Frankenstein, etc.). I'm torn on the Disney movies going to stage (Mary Poppins, Little Mermaid, etc.) but for some reason I'm less against those going to stage. I have some desire to see Lion King when it comes, but no real yearning to have Mary Poppins, Little Mermaid, etc. come and I have no desire at all to buy tix to Wedding Singer and Little Mermaid next fall.

Trend 2: Shows that are more like tribute concerts to old bands/acts (Rat Pack, Jersey Boys, Buddy, Good Vibrations, Movin' Out, Rock of Ages,, etc....and to an extent Forever Plaid and Dreamgirls). I was a little nervous about Mamma Mia but I really enjoyed the way it integrated the songs into a fun and creative story.

All that aside, there are definitely some shows I'd love to see come to Utah in a full scale production. Some of these have toured through in the past years, others I've never seen come here. Either way, here are some from my wish list:

* Scarlet Pimpernel - I have tickets to see this at Hale later this year and I know they'll do a great job, but I would love to see a lavish touring show version as well.
* Spring Awakening - I've heard a lot of great buzz on this one and would like to see it, but I suspect it's steering clear of Utah for a while due to the subject matter (I was at Cabaret in Kingsbury a year or two ago and was dismayed to see so many people leaving the audience in droves at intermission).
* Tony N Tina's Wedding - Would love to see this one come back. The interactive feel is way fun.
* The Pirate Queen - This sort of did a flash in the pan stint and never caught on (it was only on Broadway for a couple of months I think), but I really enjoyed the music and the clips I saw and would love to see it make the rounds.
* Into the Woods - I've seen a couple of versions at community and semi-pro theatres around town but would love to see this one big
* Rent - Another one that Utah audiences may not flock over, but I'd like to get a chance to see it.
* Curtains
* 110 in the Shade
* How to succeed in business without really trying

The problems we (my wife and I) run into are:
1) We have young kids and so there's the fun of finding a sitter and of not ditching out on them too often (we've taken them to a couple of small scale shows to let them share in the fun)
2) My wife has 'bad legs' that sometimes give her a hard time when sitting still for hours on end. Some nights it's fine, others it's not. If we get an aisle seat, it helps, but still, in the past few years, it's gotten harder to sit through a show.
3) Money - I'm amazed at how much ticket prices have jumped in the last 10 years alone. I know there's inflation all over and that the recession makes it harder to try and support a show...but at the same time, the higher the ticket prices, the harder it is to get me to buy the tickets. Many times, I'd love to see a touring broadway scale performance but will opt for community theatre to get a better deal (it can be the difference between seeing 2 shows a year and seeing 10 shows a year).

Allison said...

Awesome, response. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your opinion. I see your point and "trends" - its kind of a negative trends I've seen with movie and tv shows as well - quick & easy entertainment that for some audiences is a crowd pleaser. Yeah I actually REALLY want to see Lion King. Rent is amazing...and I've heard good things about In to the Woods, Tony n Tina, and Spring Awakening. Thank you also for what makes getting to the theater hard. I hope to run fun promos on Broadway in Utah. A great idea to do some kind of win free tickets and $75 to pay the babysitter type of thing. Again thank you so much and feel free to keep in touch. I'll pass your suggestions on to New Space Entertainment who works on bringing shows to Utah - this is exactly the info they hope to find through community outreach.

Okie said...

cool...always willing to spew my random opinions on things. :) And yeah, I agree that movies & TV has gone the same way...just try to get something out there quick and dirty to drive in some quick revenue, not necessarily concerned about long term staying power.

Along those lines, there are a lot of revivals I'd love to see from Roger's & Hammerstein or Sondheim days of glory...the shows that have shown staying power over the decades.

Thanks for finding my blog and thanks to New Space and Broadway in Utah for keeping the stages populated. :)

susan said...

Hi Okie,
Thanks for coming by and commenting at BES. I rarely get to chat with dads so when I read your profile I was pleasantly surprised. Will be back and look forward to getting to know you better.

Okie said...

Thanks to you susan for stopping by here. Always looking forward to surf the blogosphere. :)