After seeing the touring production of Wicked that's at the Hippodrome through the weekend, I turned to an in-house Broadway expert for insight. When I say "in-house," I mean that literally—the expert is my 14-year-old daughter, Posie, who's incredibly well-versed on all things Broadway. Here's what she had to say about the show...
Show tunes are the soundtrack to my life, and one of the musicals that is
constantly being blasted and danced to in my room is Wicked. I know every
song backwards and forwards, every detail completely memorized. So I was
extremely excited when the touring production landed in Baltimore, because,
as big a fan as I am of the show, I had never seen it.
But as someone who is such a huge fan of the original cast recording, I had
my doubts. I wasn't sure how the touring cast would measure up. The original
lineup featured Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, two of the most revered
actresses in musical theatre, along with legendary Broadway performer, Joel
Grey. The show won three Tony awards, the soundtrack won a Grammy, and it's
still running on Broadway (it celebrated its ninth anniversary
October 30th). The songs in Wicked are demanding—just listen to "Defying
Gravity" and you'll understand what I'm talking about—so, all in all, I was
preparing myself for something of a letdown.
I shouldn't have worried. The amazingly talented cast appearing at the
Hippodrome features Christine Dwyer and Jeanna de Waal (as Elphaba and
Galinda, respectively), two of the most fearless women I've ever seen
onstage. They both exude a determination and tenderness that makes them
completely endearing. They also didn't attempt to reproduce the songs
note-for-note, which was a wise choice considering the material. During
"Defying Gravity," Christine Dwyer added her own embellishments that made
the song her own. Similarly, Jeanna de Waal's hilarious rendition of
"Popular" was one of the best scenes in the show, because she, too, gave the
number a little twist.
This production of Wicked far exceeded my expectations. I came away feeling
grateful to spend an evening in the company of such a talented cast,
immersed in such a breathtaking story. Wicked closes November 4th.