My friend and I went to see Wicked in Chicago, little did we know we would get to see it twice! We had tickets for Thursday night and won the lottery on Friday night! Below are pictures and a very long review (which is filled with spoilers). For those of you who don't have time to read eight pages of my ramblings, let me just say the whole show, cast, set, costumes, lighting, sounds, effects, and experience was wonderful, even better than I had expected! Now, for the rest of you, on to the good stuff!
Pictures from our trip!
Before the show:
My friend and I walked to the Oriental in plenty of time beforehand. We spent a few minutes in the nearby Borders, which had a nice little display of Wicked merchandise. Going back to the theatre, we waited about ten more minutes for the doors to open, went in, and had to wait another ten minutes or so for the house to open. The ushers and staff were very courteous and helpful and seemed genuinely happy to be there. (Who wouldn’t?) When the house opened, we found our seats, which were on the second row of the loge, just left of center. We were immediately impressed by the time-clock dragon, which was right on our eye level. The Oz map was lovely. The theater itself is very ornate, although we noticed there were random holes in the ceiling where it looked like the plaster had been cut or knocked out. We never figured out what purpose these served. We were disappointed that alcoholic drinks and candy snacks were being served…the smell of beer wasn’t overpowering, but it was there. Beer and candy are for baseball games, not theatres, in my opinion.
We went to the Borders next to the theatre to enter the Wicked lottery, then had time to grab dinner. We went back at the appointed time, not really expecting to win, and grateful that we had already seen the show once, but hoping to prove ourselves to be true fans by entering anyway. There was quite a crowd there—nearly a hundred people, and we felt our odds were really bad. My friend was the third one called, however, and we were so happy! The woman directing the drawing was surprised that my friend was from Oklahoma. Then—my name was called as well! I was surprised, but of course I quickly spoke up to tell them I didn’t need the tickets, which the crowd applauded. We quickly went over to the theatre (we were the first ones there!), picked up our tickets, and went back to the hotel to freshen up and see where our seats were. They turned out to be on the front row, on the left aisle of the center section!!!!! We were so giddy with joy at getting to see the show again, and quickly called our families to tell them the good news.
Front row seats are awesome! We couldn’t see much of the dragon, of course, but that was the only thing that we had to crane our necks to see. It was much better sitting in this section—we were among the true fans, and the smell of alcohol was nearly unnoticeable. The conductor was so funny and personable, turning around to jokingly shush us before he started.
The time-dragon clock really swung into action here! It didn’t put forth much smoke, but it was not the old creaky thing it looked to be. I thought it odd that the man controlling it to the side was in street clothes—not even blacks—but once the lights were down, it didn’t detract much. We were delighted by the actual confetti used, and the whole scene was so much brighter than we had expected! No entrance applause for Glinda, which was a bit odd. Bubbles were doing quite well tonight. That blue dress is SPARKLY! When she was interrupted the first time, she did the cute little ‘I’m irritated but for you I’ll be good’-type “Yes?” Melena almost did get kissed on the mouth, but I must mention that she does a fantastic job of lying on the bed after ‘delivering’. Her pose was so stricken and weak and she didn’t move at all so that you felt her exhaustion and disappointment.
The crowd was much louder in their support with laughter and applause tonight—Galinda got a little entrance applause and you could tell people were on the edge of their seats through the whole thing. Seeing the ensemble up close is a real treat—we hardly knew where to look at times, there was so much going on. It was great to be near the front lift, we saw how the Melena pregnancy trick was done and the confetti flew over our heads. It was hard to see the witch projection from our angle.
Belated applause for Elphie—I think some people were truly shocked at how green she was, then remembered to clap. She is brighter in person! Galinda was a bit late and had to keep fixing her hair as she entered, but she kept it in character. Morrible was wonderful from the beginning, dead on character. The girls’ “Yes, you are.” line was said like “Um, duh, everyone knows this.” Galinda didn’t do the ‘sole purpose’ bit, but that may have been purposeful. After ‘phosphorescent’, Galinda giggled with the students and did this little jumping from side-to-side thing that was her signature bit and was very well done. I loved the Galinda-Boq interaction—when he said she should say something, she gave him this fake look and smile like “You’re a Munchkin, why are you even speaking to me?” and turned back to her friends to ask, “Should I?” Telly as Boq is a delight to watch. The wheelchair part was well done—Nessa did a very convincing job of looking frightened.
Lots of applause for Elphaba tonight! Galinda wheels in from farther back in the wings than I had realized! Elphaba does some interaction with the students on her side during Galinda’s lines that was fun to watch. They mock her and she gives them an “Oh, please. Grow up.” look. Elphaba and Nessa have a lot of unvoiced interaction as well with their consternation over rooming assignments.
This is not one of my favorite songs, but Kristy did a fabulous job with it. I loved how she looked defiantly after the Shiz students on “No one thinks you’re strange.” Her “alright, why not?” was so eager. This was the best rendition I’ve heard!
Tonight, when Elphaba sang “one day he’ll say to me…Elphaba..”, she lowered the ‘Elphaba’ to sound like the Wizard was saying it, a la ‘Taylor the Latte Boy’. Again, a magnificent performance of this song!
Now you must understand…other than DG, this is my favorite song in the whole musical. It was a bit hard to see the letter-writing from where we were, but we managed. Everything was perfect—Elphie even mocked Galinda’s jumping thing perfectly, and was extra nasal on ‘your voice’. I love the Shiz students choreography in this song, the best parts being the ‘we’re all on your side’ gathering and ‘ev’ry little trait’ stomp! Elphie looked away from Galinda, then swung back towards her on the ‘Boo!’, Galinda gave a little yelp, and Kristy did a great cackle.
I was so excited to get to see this up close!! I was right in front of Galinda for the letter bit. I was also right in front of Elphaba when she unsnaps her jacket with the greatest pissed-off look on her face. She gave her dress a wipe-off after Elphie bumps her off balance. It’s fun to watch Boq dance with the ensemble in this scene, too.
Dillamond was incredible! No, really! His mannerisms, speech, everything was wonderfully done. ‘Artichoke’ and ‘harping on the past’ both got a good laugh. Elphie was writing frantically when not answering questions. She was very good at displaying a concern and confusion over the Animal problem, then heartbreakingly optimistic at telling the Wizard.
We got to see that Dillamond actually does shower the first student—and Galinda too—with spit! This was the best version of the “harping on the past” line I’d heard—Stacie has this cute little pen and white notebook to write in and she was so funny once again. I had always wondered what Elphaba ate in this scene—from our point of view, it looked like a breakfast bar that was wrapped in plastic underneath the paper.
Galinda ran on stage, being pursued by Boq, who finally caught her, much to her dismay. Boq really fought for Galinda, standing up to Fiyero, but to no avail, of course. Galinda kept fanning herself with her purse, and swung it around her wrist at one point, which was very amusing. Galinda pointed a hand a la ‘Saturday Night Fever’ up in the air for “That would be the Ozdust BALLROOM!” It was a great rendition—you could tell it was her favorite place to be. Kris is flawess as Fiyero, his singing and acting really show off Fiyero’s struggle between apathy and opening himself to heartbreak. She and Fiyero both did the same little hand motion on ‘You’re perfect!”, which got a big laugh. They did seem perfect for each other. I love the way Nessa sings ‘Munchkin boy’ and indicates a short person with her hands, it’s a funny bit. The hat scene was perfect—Galinda seemed like she was making up the ‘benefits’ on the spot, and after she left, Elphie kind of stared off after her like, “What was that??”, then looked down at her first gift and just smiled. Kudos to the quick-changing company! Galinda and Fiyero did a lot of slow-dancing and flirting when Boq and Nessa were talking. Galinda’s “I got what I wanted.” was so bittersweet. Elphie’s entrance was very, “Here I am—aren’t you glad to see me?” and she was so disappointed to realize this gathering was no different. She stares Galinda down, knowing full well that she has been set up. I love how Nessa goes off quickly to avoid embarrassment. Boq chased after her, but then came back and danced with another girl. The whole the ensemble was fantastic, always in character and adding little touches. Elphie’s dance was beautiful—she hesitated just a bit between each move, as if she were making it up then and there.
During this scene, one of the company girls dances Boq off to stage right (right in front of me) and tells him to stay put there—not that he does for very long. The Shiz University bookstore must do a booming business in resold textbooks, because nearly every book was tattered beyond recognition. On Fiyero’s ‘stop studying strife’, a ensemble member that was reading off to the side guiltily hid his book on the set piece underneath him. We of course got to see Galinda and Fiyero’s slow dance up close—I don’t know what they said to each other the entire time, but they were having fun. We got to see the training wand up close—it had a little circular opening at the top that looked like a bubble wand!
Elphie and Galinda were so good together here! Elphie kept acting reluctant, but you could tell she wanted Galinda’s looks and popularity. I love how Galinda said, “Elphie….*gasp*…is it alright if I call you…Elphie?” And of course Elphaba responds, “Iiiittt’s a little..perky…” Galinda had the crowd rolling! She did this “watch me” motion with her two fingers to her eyes that was a great addition. After ‘very popular like me’ Galinda hopped back on the bed, crossed her legs, then made Elphaba cross her legs, too. The glasses bit was perfect, too.
Galinda was once again in her element—the ‘la la’ dance was the best and funniest I’d ever seen. She got a big laugh at “you can call me….Galinda!” She was hyper as she jumped around on “your whole life is about to change” and you couldn’t help but laugh. She swatted Elphaba once with the wand to encourage her to stand up to change her frock into a ballgown. When she tosses her wand offstage, a stagehand catches it—that’s no easy task!
Elphaba doing the ‘hair toss’ practice before class was great…she did it three times before Fiyero interrupted her. Elphaba had perfect timing and inflection on “No, not REALLY stupid.” The song was so soft and wistful, and Elphaba tugging on her own hair on “gentle curl” resonated with many a woman in the audience. I loved the rain effects, done so simply but convincingly. Elphaba and Morrible were nearly giddy over the Wizard’s invitation. The whole ‘thinking’ joke, first from Galinda, then from Elphaba, got a great laugh.
Fiyero did his ‘deeply shallow’ line a little differently this night. He paused between ‘deeply’ and ‘shallow’ as if he was realizing how stupid he sounded. Kristy was so good in this—hitting all the low notes. “Musn’t get wet” got a big groaning laugh.
Boy, was it ever green! Green costumes, lights, everything! Again, the ensemble rocked! The Wizard timed the “it’s so hard to make out people’s faces” and “which is which” for good laughs. Glinda is so cute when she touches the mechanical head, then jumps away guiltily when the Wizard catches her.
It was so neat to get to see these costumes so close! Every single pair of shoes was unique—I would have happily worn any of them! The girls were a little rushed coming out, but on that change, it’s amazing they make it at all. Elphaba ‘smiled’ for the camera by tilting her head sideways and opening her mouth as wide as show could. She and Glinda did a little rear-bumping move on ‘our posteriors’. We were close enough to see the laminated tickets Glinda had! The green glasses look really good on everyone.
The Wizard spoke the first line of this song, which was a bit odd. I did like how Chistery came up to him when the girls were talking to Morrible and asked to be petted. The ‘Exactly…that’s why I need you” line was done very seriously, which I really liked.
We were so excited to see how the wing morphing was done! Seeing the Grimmerie’s pages was exciting too—each page was different. We even saw the Wizard head being controlled at times.
The broom effect was so realistic! Glinda and Elphie were both wonderful, first in their anger at each other, then choosing sides. The ‘wicked witch’ speech was exactly the right mixture of menace and motivation. Elphaba directed the ‘through accepting limits’ very much at Glinda, as if she had decided the conventions of looks would no longer hold her back. The flying—wow! She went up so much higher than I had expected. As she rose, I kept thinking, “Okay, she stops there…no…there…no….stop before you hit the ceiling, Elphie! The lighting was absolutely gorgeous! It moved from making the material look like her skirt to showing there was nothing underneath her—it was amazing! (At this point, someone’s cell phone rang. NOT a good time for that to happen!) Of course, Act 1 was ended to thunderous applause.
Kristy had a little trouble with the broom tonight, but just for a second. It was so neat to see facial expressions the whole night—in this song especially! We were nearly underneath Morrible for her speech, which is a frightening angle, let me tell you! We had the best angle for the flying, though! You feel like you are small—way beneath Elphaba, who was on eye level with the balcony. To see her hovering way up there is an experience like no other!
Glinda rocked this song—with even more Evita-ness than I’ve ever seen, which was awesome! I love how she shows Fiyero her ring, giddy with excitement, and he has this “where did THAT come from?” expression that the audience loved. Morrible was again on top of things, moving the story right along. Everyone in the audience was sympathizing with Glinda and Fiyero on the “I’m always happy” part. Stacie (who sounds a LOT like Cheno, but less squeaky) finished the song brilliantly, with pathos and determination.
An ensemble member blocked my view of Glinda on the platform during much of the first half of this song. Getting to see the small details on all the green costumes was very cool. A lot of work and care goes into those! Glinda’s dress is patterned and very lovely!
Boq was awfully short (pun intended) with Nessa, but I guess he had good reason. This was one of my favorite sets and lighting designs—it’s very red, rich and evil at the same time. I want the chandelier Nessa has in that scene! “No place like home” got a good laugh, and Nessa was so angry and bitter, just as she should be. I loved how Elphaba comforted Nessa when Boq was singing of his love for Glinda, then Nessa turns her head on the ‘evil’ chord just perfectly! Absolutely no complaints with this scene! I love Heidi’s singing and Kristy’s background chanting is so lovely. When Nessa screams, “It was Elphaba!”, I always get chills up and down my spine!
“No place like home” brought laughter and applause! We got to see the details on Nessa’s chair (the pocket in the seat back) and Boq’s costume (an M on the corner of his tunic). Heidi was even lovelier and her voice was more powerful from just a few feet away! Elphaba’s makeup is just gorgeous!
“I knew you’d be back” scared even me—it was louder and deeper than I was expecting. There was great chemistry between the Wizard and Elphaba here, him slowly drawing her out of her hurt and disenchantment. “Nobody belived in you more than I did” was said with such regret. They danced together well, obviously having fun! The flying monkeys were everywhere! When she says, “don’t you recognize me” to Dillamond, Elphaba showed him her hands like, ‘the green girl, remember?’. “There’s a goat on the lam, sir.” That’s one of the funniest lines to me! This was one of Glinda’s strongest scenes. “Well it was” got a big laugh. When Glinda asks to be excused, the Wizard did this funny little hand gesture like, ‘you may leave my presence’.
Elphaba was very good at threatening the Wizard with her broom whenever he came within five feet of her. To see her expressions here was incredible—every time she clenched her jaw, smirked, or glared at the Wizard as he sang. Her shock when he grabbed her to dance was classic!
Beautifully sad and poignant, Stacie did an excellent job of seeming truly heartbroken.
This was just as well done as last night—one of the saddest moments in the show.
Kris and Kristy did a superb job—with more kissing than I’ve ever seen any other couple do. “I feel WICKED!” Elphaba went for Fiyero, but didn’t go overboard. The whole dialogue afterwards was absolutely perfect, from her wistful “I wish I could be beautiful for you” to his “the other castle”, which drew a good laugh. The ‘flying house’ effect was neat, too. In the cornfield scene, I wish Kristy would have waited a beat or two longer before her line, but that’s the only thing I can nitpick on. Stacie and Kristy ROCKED this scene. Glinda was genuinely trying to be reassuring on “accidents will happen” and Elphaba was so infuriated at her “blissful blonde brain”. Elphaba’s “now wait just a clock tick” was so low and menacing and spat out, everyone knew a fight was coming! The slaps were perfectly timed and Elphie’s ‘so do I!’ was hilarious! The wand-spinning was so funny! The guard really did pick Glinda up to haul her off of Elphie. Fiyero swings in from higher than I had thought! They played the whole scene beautifully—from Glinda’s confusion over being threatened to Elphaba’s reluctance to leave to Fiyero’s surrender.
Yet another scene right in front of us! Elphaba looked so lovely and so in love. She was smiling and happy and nervous all at the same time. She seemed almost afraid to touch Fiyero for fear he would disappear. In the cornfield scene, Elphaba kept sucking in a breath to try to keep her anger under control. Again, the argument, slaps, and fight were so well-timed! After Glinda’s “I almost had her!”, Elphaba gave a loud, defiant, “HA!” Fiyero’s rope got caught on a side light after he jumped off, but a monkey that came on in the next scene quickly freed it.
OH MY WORD. Kristy OWNS this song! The lighting and fog is incredible, once again, and she just put her whole heart into it!
This is my friend’s favorite song, and from our point of view, it looked like she was rising out of thin air. She was so angry…at those who had done her wrong, at life, and at herself. This song fits her voice perfectly, she rang with power! This was the one time I got a little teary-eyed.
The ensemble came out looking just as evil as the evil they were trying to stamp out—they were truly a mob to be feared! When Morrible commanded Glinda to smile and wave, she did in a way that seemed she was doing it because she had no idea what else she could do, which was nice. This song is so much better seen live.
From beneath the balcony, you could see Glinda still wore the engagement ring from Fiyero. Awesome acting by the ensemble!
Again, Kristy did a great job with her Dorothy monologue. She kept stalking back and forth very quickly, as if time were of the essence. How Glinda manages to get down those stairs so quickly in that dress is an amazing feat of coordination! Elphaba reacted so well to the note, and here they sang again in perfect harmony—Glinda even managing to sound like she was breaking down just a bit. There was a tornado in the midst of Elphaba’s melting—I’m not quite sure why. Glinda now exuded authority, ordering the Wizard to leave and Morrible imprisoned. (LOVE the ‘captivity’ line! Stacie didn’t mock Morrible much, just showed she was now in control.)
All of the Dorothy jokes got good laughs and some applause for the ‘Dodo’ line. The song was sung even more beautifully tonight. The hug at the end is so precious. Elphaba put a finger to her lips to indicate silence with a wrenching look of love at Glinda as she went behind the curtain.
Everyone clapped when Elphaba popped up! “You did the best you could” was laughed at—I think people were so relieved that Elphaba had lived! The ensemble sang their parts so poignantly, it was hard to believe they had been so evil just a song before. The ending just sent chills through me—it was so good!
I thought Elphaba got a lot of applause before when she popped up—tonight was ten times louder!
Everyone stood, of course, and Stacie and Kristy had their own little dance moves they were doing, which amused everyone. We rushed out to buy a souvenir, hit the restrooms (which were spotless, by the way), and go to the stage door.
Kristy waved all the way down to her hands and knees as the curtain went down. My friend got the conductor’s autograph, he was so happy to talk with anyone—he was having such fun. We got out to the stage door earlier tonight!
We immediately saw Telly, who graciously gave us his autograph and we snapped a quick picture. I saw Rondi, but she was behind a car, so I didn’t get to her. There were only a few people waiting with us. We waited a few minutes, then Kristy and Stacie came out together. Stacie only said hi to two people, then hopped in the car—she looked exhausted. Kristy was all energy, though, and gladly signed autographs and posed for photos, protesting that we’d see her green pores. Don’t worry, Kristy—we love your green pores! Everyone else had already left, so we walked back to our bus stop, happy and smiling!
We saw Chistery (Steve Ewing) right away, but he didn’t stop. Heidi was walking out as well, and we did get her autograph! Stacie came out pretty quickly after that, and we got her autograph! Her skin is porcelain perfect! Kristy and Kris came out a few minutes later and got swamped by a gang of girls. We did get to say hi to them, though and I got Kris’s signature! My friend told Kristy we had won the lottery, and she said, “Congratulutions…..congratulotions! I didn’t even mean to say it that way!” She was cracking herself up, she is a lot of fun!
All in all, it was WONDERFUL!!!