By Andrew Gans
28 Oct 2008
|Photo by Joan Marcus (Wicked)|
Buck Henry, the film actor who was last on Broadway in the 2002 revival of Morning's at Seven, opened the evening with a few introductory remarks. Henry jokingly explained his tenuous connection to the musical: As a boy, his mother claimed that his dog Angus had played Toto in "The Wizard of Oz."
"It was one of her many lies," Henry deadpanned.
The actor-writer also explained that Wicked producer David Stone had been influenced by Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" and decided that each production of Wicked would help raise funds for a different eco-friendly organization. Wicked's Broadway company had previously donated to the New York Restoration Project, and the proceeds from the Yellow Brick Road Not Taken would also benefit that organization founded by Bette Midler.
It was quite interesting to see how much had changed from the 16 scenes presented to the final version of the show that is now a hit around the country and the world. In fact, during the curtain call, composer Schwartz said the evening was a great testament to the adage that "musicals are not so much written as rewritten."
|photo by Samantha Souza|
Yellow Brick Road featured two sets of Glindas and Elphabas. Jennifer Laura Thompson and Stephanie J. Block played those roles for the first eight scenes, while Kate Reinders and Shoshana Bean were, respectively, the curly-locked Glinda and the green-skinned Elphaba for the next eight. Daniel Reichard and Matthew Settle also shared the role of Fiyero with "Ugly Betty" star Mark Indelicato as Boq, "View" co-host Joy Behar as Madame Morrible, Hairspray's George Wendt as the Wizard, Timothy Britten Parker as Dr. Dillamond and Michelle Federer in the role she created, Nessarose.
There were several times throughout the evening that the actors poked fun at the script. During the opening number, Jennifer Laura Thompson's Glinda asked, "Is it true? Is this the way the show really started?" And, following a confusing scene where Elphaba is able to light a crystal and witness a conversation between Boq, Fiyero and Glinda, Joy Behar said, "I don't follow," and Shoshana Bean countered, "I know. That's why this scene was cut." In order to speed up the proceedings, at one point Kate Reinders said, "Well, this part never really changed," and then simply sang the final line of "I'm Not That Girl."Continued...