I went to see WICKED's second national tour in Pittsburgh last night. It was the first time I have seen the Second National Tour, and It was absolutely amazing. Before the show, I stage doored, but I did not think I was going to, so it was very unexpected and cool :) I met several people before the show, but not everyone, because we left earlier than usual to get into the theatre. The first person to come in was Peter C. Ermides, who was on for Dr. Dillamond. He came in and asked me if I was seeing the show and I said yes. I told him I saw him in the Chicago company and he seemed impressed that I would remember that. He stood outside and told me that he was on and such, and then went in! The next people in were Michael McCory Rose (ensemble u/s Fiyero) and Jody Gelb (Madame Morrible) Michael signed first and asked my name, and Jody said "You're Kyle? I thought that might have been you!" (I told her I was coming). She signed and I asked for a picture. She laughed and said "Can I do that after the show? I'm not photogenic right now..." The next people in were Daniel Torres (ensemble u/s Fiyero) and K.C. Fredericks (Chistery). They asked me my name, and I told them, and they recognized me! They thanked me for coming and seemed very impressed that it was my 12th time at the show! Next was Linda Griffin. She signed my stuff, asked my name, said thanks and walked in :) Next in was Christine Dwyer. I saw her walking toward the stage door, and I knew she was on. She walked up with a huge smile on her face and said "Hey!" and I told her I was so excited to see her! She said "Oh well please pray for me, I'm battling a sore throat, I hope I'll get it done!" and I told her she would be great. She asked me where I was from and we took a picture and she thanked me and told me she would see me after :) Right after Christine was Don Amendolia (The Wizard) I told him my name and that I got his letter the other day and he said "Oh wow cool!" and signed my stuff, and said "Thanks Kyle!" Right behind him was David Nathan Perlow (Fiyero) who signed and took a picture with me. He was very nice! Next in was Don Richard (Witch's Father/Ozian Official). He arrived via bike, and I asked him to sign and he was so incredibly nice. He asked me my name, where I was from and how many times I had seen the show. He has been doing the show for 6 years and he is still so enthusiastic with his fans, and seemed so excited to be there. Next in were Erin Wilson (Ensemble u/s Morrible) Justin Wirick (Ensemble) and Casey Quinn (Swing) They all signed, and Justin told me to cheer extra loud for them all because they could hear. I told Erin that I had written her twice and she asked my name, and she immediately said "Nice to meet you finally Kyle!" and thanked me for coming. Justin asked where I was from and I told him, and he said he has friends who live here :) Ryan Jackson (Ensemble) was next in, and he asked me how many times I had seen the show, and I said 12, and he was like "OH NICE!" and thanked me. Samantha Farrow (Ensemble) came in next and I told her that I had gotten an email from one of the fans of this site saying what an extraordinary dancer she was, and she seemed really grateful and happy :) She told me Natalie was on her way. She signed and went to get coffee. Next in was Dan Pacheco (Boq). I introduced myself and he immediately remembered me from my letter that I wrote him. He told me it was nice to officially meet me finally and thanked me and went in. Lauren Haughington was next in and she signed and I told her it was my 12th time, and she said "Wow! Enjoy the show!" and went in. Courtney Iventosch was next in and she was very nice and signed and asked me my name and where I was from. After her, we packed up and left. Natalie Daradich (Glinda) hadn't come in, so I wondered if she was running late, and sure enough as we rounded the corner to get into the theatre, I saw her walking with Natalie Fotopoulos. I asked them if they had time to sign, and Natalie said "Can I do it after the show?" and I said "Oh absolutely!" and she apologized and headed toward the stage door.
The show was absolutely amazing.
Christine Dwyer was so incredibly amazing as Elphaba. Her "Wizard and I" gave me chills. I noticed a lot of things that she did were so effective. When The Witch's father gives Nessarose the shoes, Christine looked into the box almost as if to see if there was something for her, and Don snapped it shut in her face. She was very good in her scenes with Natalie and Peter, even though she flubbed a line in the "Something Bad" scene. I was impressed with her in the popular scene, a scene in which Natalie did some ad-libbing. "I'm Not that Girl" was absolutely amazing too. I thought she really brought new emotion to it, and her low notes were phenomenal. Her train station scene was great. I laughed at so many points. "One Short Day" was wonderful, I love that song so much. She was so hurt when the Wizard revealed he had just sort of used her, and she sounded ready to cry. Defying Gravity was intense. She stayed in her chest voice the whole time on the softer notes, and I got chills. When she rose into the air.... oh my gosh. She was so LOUD, and the whole moment was just incredible. Her first "Meeee dowwwwwwwn" was incredible. Her Act 2 was very solid. The Governors' mansion scene got tons of applause, especially "Well there's no place like home!" "As Long as You're Mine" with David was absolutely amazing. The Catfight was hilarious, Christine imitated Natalie through most of it and the audience ate it up, and then she gave one of the most vocally solid "No Good Deeds" I have ever heard. For Good was wonderful. She and Natalie were actually crying which really added to the whole moment. The Finale was gorgeous as well.
Natalie Daradich was hilarious, moving, and just so bubbly as Glinda. She laughed a LOT, in that little Glinda Cackle. "No One Mourns the Wicked" was very solid, and after she explains Elphaba's birth, and the ensemble starts singing "No One Mourns the Wicked" again, she looked startled, as though she was thinking "I just clarified this!" She was hilarious in the Shiz scene, calling Elphaba phosphorescent was hilarious. The audience loved her. After Dwyer's "Wizard and I" which earned her cheers and screams, Natalie grabbed everyone's attention again which most would think impossible after such an amazing number. WITF was great. In DTL she reminded me of Megan Hilty a LOT. She touched David a lot, and was very tossy with her hair, and did her little spazzy motions. Popular was a hoot. She went crazy. Not as crazy as Katie, but still very crazy. She ran around and when she took Christine's glasses off, she added (In a whisper) "I'm just gonna put these back onnnnnnn." Which made me laugh out loud. She was great in the Wizard's chamber scene, and when Don was singing to Christine, she was nodding encouragingly. In DG, when she says "You can have all you ever wanted" and Christine says "I know" Natalie threw her head back relieved, and then "But I don't want it" she looked shocked. Her "Thank Goodness" brought the house down. She was very emotional the whole time, and really made me believe that Glinda was going through a crisis. "INTG(r)" was amazing too. She cried during that. She elongated a lot of Glinda's lines in the catfight scene, but it worked and it was so funny. For Good and Finale were beautifully sung as well. She cried a LOT during both. She did an AMAZING job.
David Nathan Perlow was excellent as well. He was much better than Richard H. Blake, who is awesome in the role, but I preferred David. He sang the score very straight, no riffing or changes to the score at all, but he was very into what he was doing and had amazing Chemistry with Christine. In Dancing Through Life, when Christine storms offstage, he looked after her regretfully until Natalie cut in and started hitting on him. He did a great job with DTL. His dancing was great, as was his singing. His scenes in Dillamond's room and the Lion Cub scene were very well acted and funny. He did an awesome Train Station scene too. His act two was much more serious. He did a great job in "Thank Goodness" when telling Natalie he would marry her if it'd make her happy, almost like he really DIDN'T mind getting married, which added to her heartbreak. When he runs off with Elphaba, and Glinda says "so all of this time behind my back...?" He was hilarious in the way he executed those lines, and ALAYM was great too. WONDERFUL voice. The Catfight reflected how funny he could be without actually speaking that much, which I appreciated. He did a great job in his final scene with Dwyer.
Dan Pacheco was great as Boq. I thought he added a level of depth to Boq that I have seen really only from Brad Weinstock and Adam Sanford before. He was naive, but also didn't mind being walked all over. He didn't belittle himself as much as the Boq's usually do, which was a cool effect. He recognized that he had more to offer to the world and that he shouldn't be treated the way he was. He had great chemistry with Michelle London, they were very cute together onstage. Michelle was great as Nessarose. She did not quite have the vocal prowess of Carla Stickler, but she is a soprano, and it worked very well for the lighter softer Nessarose. Nessa was a huge bee-yotch in act two, which is always fun to watch. She really snapped at Elphaba a lot. I think she should continue with this role in another company, or play Glinda full time. Peter C. Ermides was awesome as Dillamond. I really really liked his voice. He has a higher softer voice than most of the Dillamonds I have seen, which I really liked, and In act two, something that he did, which was BRILLIANT, was when Christine said "Don't you remember me?" He grabbed her hands and looked shocked, as if he remembered that green girl in his class 2 years before. That was a BRILLIANT move on his part. Jody Gelb was Deliciously Horrible as Madame Morrible. I REALLY enjoyed the way she played the role. She was a sly lady who knew JUST where to strike, and didn't care how it affected anyone else. She has a nice singing voice too, which is great for Morrible. Don Amendolia was a great Wizard. He is a great actor, and a good singer. He was brainlessly evil, not really knowing what he was doing, but not caring either, just wanting to stay in power. He got a lot of applause when he danced, and his hand motions were great. His reaction to finding out Elphaba was his daughter was one of the best I have seen.
The Ensemble and Orchestra were amazing as well. The set of this show is slightly different than the Broadway and 1st National Tour. Broadway and 1NT are basically Identical. This one has a few minor differences. First, In Madame Morrible's Defying Gravity Speech, she does not come out onto any sort of platform, her voice simply comes on over the stage. The Bridge in "INTG" and "TG" is not real as is is in the other productions, it is 2D, so Fiyero and Glinda come out stage left and have their moment while Elphaba is singing, and in TG, no one is on the bridge. There are way less vines and cogs on the sides of the stage compared to Broadway and 1NT. Other than those minor differences, the three U.S. Productions are identical!
Stage Door: I am not describing full conversations at all. :p
I went back to the Stage Door after the show, and almost Immediatley half the cast came out. Tiffany Haas was one of the first people out. Tiffany is taking over as Glinda next tuesday. She came over and asked me if I was Kyle, and she talked to me for a very long time telling me it was so great that we finally got to meet and thanking me over and over for the support and stuff. She is such a nice lady, and I am so excited for her that she is replacing as Glinda after nearly 7 years in the show as a swing and understudy. Linda Griffin was next out and she signed my stuff and thanked me for coming and left. Michelle London, Dan Pacheco, David Nathan Perlow, Casey Quinn, Natalie Fotopoulos and Michael Rose were next out ALL AT ONCE. So they all signed, and I told Michelle she was great and same to Dan. She thanked me and Natalie asked me if I was in theatre, and I told them yes, I am actually in 2 shows right now, and told them which ones and who I played, and they told me that was awesome! Michelle and Dan took a picture with me. Dan said "Anne sends her regrets" (She actually tweeted me during act one apologizing for not being there) and then he made direct eye contact and thanked me for all the support and stuff and that it meant a lot, and I thanked him and told him he was so great. I told Casey that we were Facebook friends, and then told her who I was, and she remembered me. Erin Wilson, Lauren Haughington, and Laurel Harris were next out. Erin said "Hey Kyle!" and Laurel turned and said "Oh you're Kyle?! It's so nice to meet you!" (she remembered from my letter) and they all three signed and Erin thanked me one more time, and Laurel shook my hand.Peter Ermides and Samantha Farrow were next, and they both thanked me and signed, and called me by name! Marissa Miller was next out and I asked her if she was Marissa, and she said yes! and asked who I was. I told her and she said "Oh Its so nice to finally meet you! How were your seats?" and I told her where we sat and that she did a great job, and she thanked me over and over and told me it was so nice to meet me. Such a nice girl! Jody Gelb and Don Amendolia were next out. They both signed, and called me by name, and thanked me so much for coming, and both took pictures with me. The big wait was on. Most of the cast was out by 11. Christine and Natalie were the two big ones we were waiting for. Well, we weren't sure if they were coming out, so I turned around to look down the street, and when I turned back around they were BOTH standing right there. I told them both how amazing they were, and they did a great job. I asked Christine how on earth she can sing the way she does with a sore throat. She thanked me, and I had her sign my Grimmerie, which she loved. Natalie came over and apologized for not being able to sign before the show, and she signed all my stuff. I then showed her my grimmerie, and she laughed, and wrote "I <3 being a bobblehead, or a bubblehead, Natalie xoxo" They both knew my name and stuff too :) I got pictures with both of them. We talked for a few more minutes about random stuff, and then Christine said "I feel like I actually have mail for you...here, cause I feel like i just found a whole bunch of lost mail..." and I said " I actually got the picture you sent when you started as standby, but you might have the one I sent when you started as understudy!" and she told me she was glad I got the picture and that if it was mail for me she would send it soon! After talking a bit more, we all left. It was an awesome night!