Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tuesday, July 18 - Wednesday, July 19: Chicago

Tuesday evening I went to dinner at the oldest Italian restaurant in Chicago called The Italian Village. The food was really good. I ended up getting pasta stuffed with pheasant. But, anyway, I went with a girl from class who just started working at the Little Rock Crime Lab at the beginning of this year. She's also in trace and so we bonded and sort of talked shop over dinner. Which was cool because I've never had a chance to do that before. Overall, it was a really great evening. And now I have a contact in Arkansas, should I ever need one for some reason.

Oh, I almost forgot… While we were eating I had a transgendered woman come up to me and ask me where I got my shirt – because she wanted one as well. Because it's perfect for "girls like us." The shirt? My navy one that reads "Objects under shirt are larger than they appear." So, basically, I could formerly be a man with this body of mine. At least, that's all I really took away from that encounter. Oh, and for everyone else – I got in NJ at a place called Gadzooks.

When I got back to my room that evening I saw fireworks going off from Grant Park from my window. They were very big and pretty. Ooo, ahh…

Wednesday, well, Wednesday was the day I'd been waiting for since I got there. Wednesday I got to go see Wicked. I walked north and waited for them to open the doors to the Ford Theater. After I was inside – and waiting for them to open another set of doors – I found myself at a small counter where I could buy lovely wickedly overpriced merchandise. So… I bought a shirt. It's grey with black short sleeves and it says "Defy Gravity" on the front and "Wicked" on the back. It's so pretty. I love my new shirt. And really, what a great little saying. It's so applicable to many things.

The doors finally open and I find my seat… in the third to the last row against the wall. I sat down and kinda wished I had my li'l binoculars that I bought for the Madonna concert back in 2001. I should have planned better… alas. The theater is packed. I'm pretty sure there isn't an empty seat in the house, so I'm super happy that I got mine – even if it's way up in the rafters. The other slight downfall is that there are a hundred million young kids there and each and every one of them is texting someone on their cell phone.

I assume that when the play starts, these phones will be tucked away and not seen until the end. Well… you know what happens when you assume. The worst part about this play were the girls sitting directly in front of me and to my left. While the lights were out and the show was on, these damn girls didn't put their phones away. They didn't make a sound, but they lit up and threw an incredible glare as I was trying to watch the stage. I think it should be completely legal to murder these people.

Obviously I'm now old. I don't understand how texting could be so important and thrilling to do WHILE YOU'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF WATCHING WICKED. And if they're talking about the play… dude, take mental notes and blog about it later or something. They didn't ruin the experience, but I can guarantee that it would have been better without them. Reason 976 why I'm never having children. Although, mine would be more polite.

Now that I'm done ranting… let's talk about this, the most fabulous musical known to humankind. If you'd rather not know anything about the play, you should stop reading here.

I was sorta surprised at how little dialogue there was between the first three songs. I mean, there like, isn't hardly any. It starts off with a bang. And I loved the staging of the man in the green jacket and how we never see his face. Brilliant.

I also enjoyed the adaptations from the book, and how we see that Elphaba has great powers she doesn't know how to control when she's upset. It was a good way to advance the story quickly and give reason as to why Madame Morrible singles her out so quickly.

Then… we get "What is This Feeling?" I couldn't stop grinning the minute it started. And I liked the slight differences in interpretation we got from the different actresses versus the original Broadway cast recording. It was great how they made it their own. Elphaba was way funnier than I expected her to be. Galinda didn't let me down. In fact, at one point I felt like Reese Witherspoon – as Elle Woods – was playing Galinda. (Which if you know me, you understand what a great compliment this is.)

Professor Dillamond was lovely, but I was highly upset that he was a history (Yuck!) teacher instead of a biology (Yay!) teacher like he was supposed to be. Fiyero was hot (of course, it could have been the distance). I absolutely loved the guy playing him (Kristoffer Cusick).

"Popular" also did not let me down and I had high expectations going into this. (Although Galinda's jumping around so much she gets really out of breath.) Also, some of the sets were really cool and nothing like I'd imagined. They made it rain at one point without any actual water, but it totally looked like it. I was impressed. Again, the play is funnier than I expected.

Then when Kristy Cates sang "Defying Gravity", I was completely floored. It must be one of her favorite songs to sing or something because she put more into that performance than any other. And immediately I was so happy that was the shirt I decided to buy. That song was freakin' amazing. I wished I could have like… clapped louder at the end of it.

I also liked how Glinda didn't tell Fiyero he was attending his own engagement party. He was completely in the dark… and it totally made sense as to why he ran off in the middle of it now. The soundtrack always had left me with a few vague holes since it was missing dialogue.

Elphaba and Fiyero's song together was adorable, but her song with Glinda at the end ("For Good") totally made me cry. I couldn't give a higher review. If you could only see one play or musical in your entire life, it should be this one.

The best scene? That would be between Glinda and Elphaba right after Nessarose has a house dropped on her by a tornado that Madame Morrible created (Weather is her specialty. She stops the rain earlier in the play, foreshadowing this moment.) You can tell they really are two best friends.

They got a standing O at the end of the night – which you knew they'd be getting by the fourth song. It was amazing.

I love that Elphaba's so misunderstood by everyone and known in our world as the Wicked Witch of the West and green and scary to all children. I never liked her in the Wizard of Oz, she was creepy, and the laugh! *shudders* And then you see the story of her life… and realize that the Wizard and Morrible set her up. And Glinda had ambitions that blinded her to what was going on. All Elphaba was doing was trying to make good and protect those people who mean a great deal to her, including others who are outsiders. Elphalba's a hero – and it's especially great for those of us who sometimes feel like we're on the outskirts of society, or misunderstood, or were never popular. And circumstances beyond her control caused all the rest…

I liked the adaptations from the book. They did a phenomenal job. Every writer, director, actor, set designer, music arranger and performer… every stage hand and lighting person and… I couldn't say enough good things. If you have the opportunity – GO SEE WICKED.

But, this is long (sorry) and now I must go grab Erin from the airport. The rest of the stay in the windy city was pretty uneventful… when I get the time, I'll do a little recap of all the rest.

'Til then.

End Blog.

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