Review: WICKED First National Tour Brings In The New Year To Los Angeles


By Mitch Friedman – EXCLUSIVE for BroadwayisWICKED
http://www.mitchophoto.com

From its very opening, the New Year’s Eve show of WICKED in Los Angeles promised to be a good one. The citizens of Oz, who opened the show, seemed to have the magic— they just seemed on. The tour arrived in Los Angeles November 30th and took only Mondays off until the schedule changed for the holidays to Monday through Saturday with two shows on Wednesday and Friday. The cast was looking forward to two days off in a row for New Years.

Katie Rose Clarke (Glinda) was strong as she bubbled down in the opening, and the audience could feel the energy from her and the rest of the cast. When Mamie Parris (Elphaba) made her entrance, the energy level stepped up even more. Parris was amazing in “The Wizard and I” giving a powerful performance. Clarke and Parris nailed “What Is This Feeling”—plainly, they were having a lot of fun performing this evening. Paul Slade Smith (Dr. Dillamond) was strong as well with the Goat sounds and saying GGGGlinda, the best this reviewer has heard during the run of the show. “Dancing Through Life” shone as Kyle Dean Massey (Fiyero) and the cast gave a superb dance performance. Massey and Clarke played well off each other. Watching Parris enter and start to dance to no music and Clarke come over to cut in was really fun. Their performance just flowed for the rest of the number. Clarke and Parris brought it up another notch with “Popular.” Clarke appears to have taken the best of Kristin Chenoweth and Megan Hilty, in my opinion, the two best Glindas, and combines them to do this number as she adds her own touches—she is a lot of fun to watch. This evening, Parris nailed this number as well, making the toss-toss one of the funniest I have seen her do. This performance reminded me of the one in which Megan Hilty and Eden Espinosa started laughing during the number and could not stop. When Massey and Parris run off with the lion cub, they are, once again, great together. The cast’s energy level just seemed to grow from there on as the show just got better and better.  By the time Parris sings “Defying Gravity”, she is right on, the best I have heard from her so far and after being under the weather most of the week.

The Citizens of Oz opened Act 2 with as much energy as in Act 1, doing “No One Mourns The Wicked”. Parris, Cristy Candler (Nessarose) and Justin Brill (Boq) are fantastic in “The Wicked Witch of the East”. Candler is an outstanding Nessarose, powerful and at ease in the roll. When Candler fell to the ground, she did so with grace. When she said,  “No don’t help me” as she got up, she really conveyed an inner strength. Brill is so good in his roll that the audience believes he is a munchkin. When Nessarose does the spell to shrink his heart, Brill convinces the audience that it’s real. Candler has a beautiful voice and shines when she sings “Save Him”.

Mark Jacoby (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) is also really good; when he does “Wonderful” he has the audience laughing over his leg kick and foot shuffle. Jacoby brings much to the roll, a good voice that goes well Parris’s voice as they sing parts of “Wonderful” together. Likewise, Parris and Massey are well-matched as they sing ”As Long as You’re Mine”. When Parris says she feels wicked, and the two kiss, the audience goes wild.

The actors did not lose their stride when, as their characters said their good-byes to Nessarose, a child in the audience started screaming. This did not faze either of them, and Clarke and Parris kept their dialogue going as the child was taken out of the theater. The two actors also handle the fight scene really well, with convincing slaps to one another.  Clarke knows how to spin Glinda’s wand with finesse. Parris’s voice got stronger and stronger as the show went on, and she really belted out “No Good Deed”. The two were simply wonderful together performing “For Good” as the show neared the end. The whole cast put on a great performance in the final number.

I had a chance to chat with Mamie Parris (Elphaba) after the show, and I inquired if I could ask her some questions for Broadway is Wicked.  She repeated Broadway is Wicked in a very cool way and said she likes that saying. She said she and Katie were both fighting chest colds and they were trying to switch shows off so that they would not both be off for the same show. She also said she heard people in the audience coughing more, so she felt something was going around.  She added that she had a handle on it (her cold) and was feeling better now.

Ms Parris spent a nice and quiet Christmas in Los Angeles. For New Year’s she, her husband, and their dog are going to go up the coast and plan on hanging out at the beach in the sun and warm weather. She was happy to hear that out of all the shows I have seen during this run that I felt they had the most energy and were just on it today. We both said almost in unison it was like the cast was ready for the two and half days off until they are back on the stage.

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An exclusive look at how the Holiday time is inside the WICKED Tour Family


By Mitch Friedman – EXCLUSIVE for BroadwayisWICKED
http://www.mitchophoto.com

The 1st national touring company of WICKED is in Los Angeles for the Christmas and New Year Holiday’s. I asked some of the cast and crew what is it like to be on tour for the holidays.

Justin Brill who plays Boq thinks it’s very cool he says they have a lot of fun traditions with the show family like secret Santa. We get a little home sick for sure but we have a great tour family and we create a nice holiday with in that family. Justin has some family near by as well so he will see them as well.

 

The lovely Sterling Masters who is the Witch’s mother says this is the 7th year on tour over the holidays and her 2nd with WICKED. Sterling says this seems very normal to her now and has no special plans but catching up on sleep and taking it easy.

Antonette Cohen piped in  (not doing the show) as they both had a good laugh. Antonette gets to spend time with her mother and sister.

Paul Slade Smith (Dr. Dillamond) has his wife in town and says it’s nice as we are having a bizarrely warm Los Angeles for this time of year. So he is enjoying his time here.

Cristy Candler who just got here last week to join the company as Nessarose says its great! It’s a totally fun different experience then being on Broadway and its fun to shake it up a little bit. This show is as good as Broadway and the cast is lovely. Cristy will get to see her brother and niece and nephew for Christmas. Cristy says she will miss her  New York family but as she is from California she is having a blast.

Kyle Dean Massey (Fiyero) said it’s about the same as being in New York just a bigger tree then back home. He said he has been on tour the last few holiday seasons so he is good with it. He will have a Christmas get together with the cast and just have some fun and hang out. 

Lauren Boyd (Ensemble) really has a bit of an advantage over the rest of the cast as Los Angeles is home for her. She gets to be home with her dad as her mom is with her sister who is in How The Grinch Stole Christmas up in San Francisco. So half the family is gone, but it’s nice to be able to sleep in her own bed at night.

Mikey Winslow (Ensemble) said its tough and for him he has to grab every bit of holiday cheery moment he can and hold on to it and balance it. He says he finds joy out here in Los Angeles and that is enjoyable.

Katie Rose Clarke (Glinda) was off to have dinner with her family and says she loves it as they got to do secret Santa this morning!

Mariand Torres is the standby Elphaba. She was told about 3 hours before today’s show she was going on. She is enjoying being on tour over the holidays and will spend time with her family and friends. She is happy to be in LA on tour.

Dave works shooting photos of the audience in front of a green screen of the WICKED Set. He has been with the show for a year and a half and is a teacher and coach normally but has taken a sabbatical for the next nine months. He needed a job during the summer and he has stayed working with WICKED. Dave has family here so he is having a good Christmas and enjoying life on the road.

View the complete set of photos here:

WICKED LA

Broadway Divas series at The Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts at Fairfield’s Sacred Heart University


The Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts at Fairfield’s Sacred Heart University will launch this season’s Broadway Divas series with a visit from three ladies well known for Wicked fans!

Dee Roscioli , former Elphie in several productions including Broadway, will be joined by fellow Broadway performers and friends Katie Rose Clarke and Jennifer DiNoia. In addition to performing, the trio expects to share some behind-the-scenes stories.

via newstimes

 

Jackie Burns and Chandra Lee Schwartz new Wicked Witches on Broadway


broadway.com

In an unexpected announcement, the Broadway production of Wicked has found its new Elphaba and Glinda: Jackie Burns and Chandra Lee Schwartz.  Previosuly on the show’s first national tour, Burns and Schwartz will join the Broadway company on September 27, replacing Teal Wicks and Katie Rose Clarke, respectively.

Burns and Schwartz will join a company that currently features Richard H. Blake as Fiyero, Kathy Fitzgerald as Madame Morrible, Tom McGowan as The Wizard, Etai BenShlomo as Boq, Cristy Candler as Nessarose and Tom Flynn as Dr. Dillamond.

via Broadway.com