Saturday, May 14, 2005

I think I sat too close... Wicked at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts

Berry United Methodist Church basement to Ford Oriental Theatre in less than 24 hours. Ouch. I've got the bends. Lucky I'll be at the Viaduct before eight.*

I have a mild antipathy to the whole vat-bred feel of the Broadway juggernaut "Wicked," so I was pretty chuffed when workshop-baby "Avenue Q" beat it out for the Tony. Er, to the extent that I care about these things. Not that I don't have loads of respect and affection for the creative team- Winnie Holzman, you created "My So-Called Life," and gratzi. Stephen Schwartz, I don't care what anybody says, "Pippin" is weird and fantastic. Costumers, you obviously worked your butts off and did a terrific job. Hairdressers-- I think I'll miss you most of all.

Perhaps it's just hometown loyalty that made me decide, ahead of time, to enjoy this show and not love it. But I enjoyed it thoroughly and with neck cramps. Most of the theatre I see is improved by proximity, but I missed out on stage pictures today and this mechanical dragon flicked ash on me, and I kept getting distracted by this one chorus girl's resemblance to Nicole Sullivan of Mad TV. Sitting close, however, I did get to see what a nifty job Ms. Stephanie Block did of tucking Margaret Hamilton's cramped hand gestures into her nerdy school girl. Ah, Margaret Hamilton, any reminder of you makes me smile.

The songs- and oh Mr. Schwartz you can be so uneven- tended toward the meh, and didn't carry oodles of emotional valence for me. And though the script purports to make us rexamine our idea of wickedness, it didn't. No shades of gray, just an inversion of black and white. I'm definitely going to read the book now- see if it did any better with a genuinely cool idea.

In conclusion: As usual, I did not pay any money for this. It was great and it rocked me, but I bet I could find you a better value somewhere in town.

*In the Oriental's defense, they did try to make me feel at home by seating me next to a smelly fat man who kept swearing under his breath.


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