The first time I saw Wicked in Chicago, I wrote a nine-page detailed review for personal use and pared it down to 3.5. This time around, I managed to get my nine-pager down to 3.75, and that’s what I’ll be posting here.
To make a 9 pager REALLY SHORT, I ended up in front row and managed to sell my Row M ticket with 5 minutes to go before curtain.
It occurred to me after the fact that I had seen the conductor at Kristy’s cabaret. At the time, though, I was only thinking that he wasn’t the snarky one I had before.
Stacie got loads of applause this time. Last time I saw her, she made her entrance too quickly, but this time she got her danged applause. I love the phrasing of ‘No One Mourns the Wicked,’ and I think it is fairly unique to the Chicago production.
Kristy got more applause for her entrance, but that is at least partially because her entrance is better tailored for applause. I knew well beforehand that Heidi would be out and Nessarose would be played by one of her understudies, so I made sure to check the board as soon as I walked into the theatre lobby. The understudy board had said Nessarose would be played by Kate Loprest, but then the playbill slip said it would be Jacqui Graziano. Ultimately, it was Jacqui. I thought she did fine overall.
Kristy gave a trademark ‘The Wizard and I’ performance, except that she held the last note for much longer than necessary.
Stacie delivered ‘Unusually…’ quite rapidly, and Kristy’s ‘Your voice’ was higher-pitched than I’ve heard it. I’m trying to limit my ensemble comments, so I’ll just state her that they were fabulous throughout.
Timothy Britten Parker is a very good Dillamond, I think. Once again, he was holding the audience’s attention.
Kristoffer was energetic and his voice was sounding great. He and Stacie delivered the ‘You’re perfect!’ bit, well, perfectly. I think Jacqui was awesome at playing a physically frail Nessarose. I think Adam is probably the second-best Boq, and half the reason I’m putting him at second-best is because of all the subliminal messages Telly Leung gives me when I listen to AccuBroadway. Stacie looked adorable dancing and grooving on the sidelines, and she looked genuinely ashamed when Kristy made her Ozdust entrance.
I love everything about Stacie’s ‘Popular’ except for her ‘la-las.’ It’s like she had to break character to deliver those two lines, after which she was right back into her normal character. Otherwise, with the exception of a spot here and there, Stacie’s Galinda is perfectly believeable and *normal.* Stacie’s hair-tossing is unrivaled.
I think Kristy sang ‘I’m Not That Girl’ more by the book than she usually does.
Stacie’s name change was the best part of the next scene. I think Stacie might’ve played it a bit less uncertainly than she did the last time I saw her.
Stacie and Kristy both made it out in time for their entrances. The best part was when Kristy stared off into the distance just before Wiz-o-mania. It wasn’t so much the eventual line change that was so awesome for me. It was the look on her face and in her eyes.
Gene’s a wicked Wizard. He delivered ‘Which is which?’ as if it were a joke the Wizard was in on. I haven’t talked about Rondi yet, but I honestly think she’s every bit as good and as comfortable in the role as Carole Shelley, although each one got her own spin on Mme. Morrible.
I hope Kristy never falls off of that cherry picker. I think she was crying a bit, but I’m not that concerned as to whether she can perform ‘Defying Gravity’ while crying. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen her do it before.
During the intermission, I died in my seat.
'Thank Goodness' is not my favourite Stacie song, but she acts it very well. Of course she was teary, but the glitter helped disguise that fact. She looked sparkly. That collar is like 100% sparkle, but you can't tell it so much in pictures. It's hard to look at without squinting, live. Sitting so close to the stage didn’t help matters, either.
Jacqui did well, and I was glad to see her perform. Adam is stinking good. I think it’s because he plays Boq like a normal guy. And Kristy’s ‘It’s never been enough and it never will be’ was delivered with a wonderful amount of resignation.
Gene did a good salesman's job, and Kristy did a good job looking gradually won over, and she really started to warm up to him at the word 'rehabilitated.' Oh my goodness... I think that most of the Chicago leads do a great job of looking evil. Gene's got great angry eyebrows.
Stacie was rather sad during 'I'm Not That Girl (reprise).' That was totally expected. :'(
Kristy’s wig is gorgeous. She and Kristoffer blended their voices nicely for most of it until Kristy went diva at ‘holding yoooooou.’ At the part where Elphaba starts hearing and seeing things, Kristoffer shushed her and tried to listen for himself. How did I never notice that? That was great, I think.
Kristy and Stacie have an insane amount of chemistry between them. The audience LOVED them both. Stacie twirled the heck out of her baton, Kristy said 'clock tick' just the right amount of venom, Oh! Stacie was crying and whimpering when the guards had her... and also during Defying Gravity when the guards grabbed her, I think. Stacie did the 'bring it!' motion. Kristy cackled awesomely. The second slap looked fake, but the first looked more realistic. They were both perfectly timed, nonetheless.
I'm struggling to describe Kristy's 'No Good Deed,' this time around. It was different than I've heard her do it before. It was awesome, of course. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Maybe I'll be able to find more words later.
Rondi was dead-on perfect in her line delivery. The ensemble was great. Adam was also great. Stacie was perfect. And... the scene was over.
Out comes an angrily pacing Kristy. I think her 'Get those shoes off your feet!' was different from the last time I saw (not 'saw') her. Kristy and Stacie delivered a few bits of dialogue and then... 'I'm limited...' Stacie was crying. Kristy was crying. They ate a few words. Kristy sang it straighter than she normally would, because it seemed like she was having trouble getting through it. 'Handprint on my heart' was heartwrenching. They cut the last note VERY short and just hugged and held each other. WAH!
Then they separated and Stacie crouched down near where we were sitting. She was still crying, Kristy was still crying. Stacie told Morrible off beautifully. Then Kristoffer came out and Kristy popped up, and there was much rejoicing. Kristoffer seemed rather emotional, too. Of course Kristy and Stacie were still weepy. Their last 'I have been changed...' was terribly bittersweet. I cried. The curtain fell. I stood as soon as the lights dimmed, sat back down, then stood up again with the other people. :P
Curtain call was sweet. The other ensemble members started grooving and dancing along to the music. IN UNISON. On opposite sides of the stage. Everybody got loads of applause, especially Kristoffer, and then Kristy and Stacie got the most. Kristy pretty much deferred the applause toward Stacie after like two seconds of bowing. Then Kristoffer started the speech, and Kristy finished it, and it was basically about how they were all understudies on Broadway together and rehearsed together and then they all ended up in Chicago together and it was beautiful and weepy and Kristy had to do a silly jig to try to stop her own crying. She failed. It's like the only thing she sucked at, all afternoon. :P Then Stacie did the splits in her bubble dress-- to thunderous applause. And then the curtain fell again. :(