Thursday, July 24, 2008

One Wicked Cool Show

Okay, so Saturday afternoon in Chicago, Ruth, her friend Kaye, and I were sitting at Kaye's apartment, wondering what theater show we were going see that evening. There was a list several computer-screens long online, and I looked at every one for at least a split second.

A couple looked good, especially Dead Man's Cellphone which was playing at the Steppenwolf Theater, which I've actually heard of. We called for tickets, but they were sold out and it was the last night of the show's run.
So we tried our second choice, Wicked. Can you believe it was our SECOND choice? We just didn't think we would be lucky enough to get tickets on the day of the performance. But we checked with Ruth's favorite classifieds source, Craigslist. And BEHOLD. There was a set of 2 or 4 tickets available for $50 each. Sweet! We called and got 3.

Wicked tells the backstory of the witches from the Land of Oz. Turns out that the wicked one wasn't so much and neither was the good one! And they were evidently friends. Who knew? It's a great story with universal appeal, and includes lots of references to the mama show, The Wizard of Oz. I love those inside jokes. Like, "Yum! What's in this punch?" "Lemons, and limes, and melons." "Oh My!"
It is based on the book of the same name by Gregory Maguire, which I've heard has a good deal more adult content than the musical. Our book club decided to skip it after hearing some questionable reports from others, but now I'm sufficiently interested to try it for reals.

After we dropped off at Ruth's work the SEVEN pairs of Nine West shoes we had bought, we walked over to the theater. And...okay, now that we look at the hard copies Ruth printed for us, it appears that we have been given EIGHT tickets. Big whoops on the part of the clerk. Luckily for them we didn't have five other friends who wanted to go with us. And lucky for us we didn't try it, because four of those extra seats already had people in them.

Where were our seats, you ask? Oh, only against the BACK WALL of the BALCONY. The only saving grace was that they were in the center, so there actually were a few rows that were farther away from the stage than us.

And what a stage. An emerald map of Oz was projected on the black curtain, and above the entire stage was an enormous dragon with wings outstretched.

Once that curtain went up, the sets themselves were minimal, but the costumes were extravagant. All the Munchkins/Ozians/students at the "college" were decked out to the extreme. Elphaba (aka "Wicked Witch of the West") wore the most simple costume, but her identifying characteristic was more along the lines of makeup - her skin was green. Remember that little detail? Kind of a birth defect, apparently. Galinda (aka "Glinda the Good Witch of the North") wore mostly white outfits, but doesn't don the famous ballgown until the end.

I sat on the front half of my seat for the entire show, and not ONCE did I ever think, "Okay, I get it, lets get on with the show." The first half was 1 1/2 hour long, and it flew by. Every song was incredible, and although I did not purchase the soundtrack afterwards, it will soon be in my possession, I predict.

At intermission, we all attempted to make it to the bathroom. Along with, oh, about 60 other women. The bathroom was across the balcony lobby from our door, and the line was half way back to the door. We decided to wait until afterwards.

And I tried. I really did. But in the middle of the third to the last song, I sincerely felt that I may either wet myself or be sick. So I decided to make a run for it. I bolted to the door and down the steps to the lobby, where two ushers were relaxing. Never one to put appearances before comfort, I dashed over to the ladies room and "went" as fast as I could. The music was quite audible, so I knew I wasn't missing any more plot, but still. I didn't want to miss more than necessary. So on the way back, I ran even faster. (Cause you know, this time I didn't have a full bladder.)

The same two ushers are still there (in 30 seconds, they hadn't found anything to do!) and I decided to announce the obvious. "WORST! TIMING! EVER!" They laughed.

I made it back before the end of the song, and Kaye and Ruth assured me that I'd chosen a good time (like, before I needed new pants).

I cried during the curtain call, as I usually do, since I'm processing and absorbing the entire show at once. Also, appreciating all the work and effort of so many people, and how it combines to be such an incredible example of human talent and creativity.

I love the theater. And my sister. Thanks for a very fun evening!


nydampress said...

Great post Liz! I love me some pictures to see those faces we miss ever so.
Man I can't wait to visit Ruthie-roo in the fall! Chicago is going to be fantastic, even if we have to run 26+ miles first...

p.s. Did you think of me when you wrote the title of this post? You know, because of my use of the term "wicked" ALL the time. Since I don't have a Boston accent like my parents, it's the only thing that pegs me as an New Englander.

Lyz said...

Of course I thought of you, Katie! Just as I will EVERY time I use that pun, because I will at every opportunity.

Noel said...

Looks like we'll need to use part of the weekend at our house to find our copy of _Wicked_ purchased for the book club's first attempted reading. Nothing like home archeology on a summer weekend! With Inidana Jones music playing in the background, may I introduce "Dakota Noel and the Tome of Doom"...

Suzi said...

Maybe we could read if for MOMS Club book club, I'd re-read it, it was quite a few years ago when I read it the first time. I remember thinking after we read it that I was surprised nobody had made it into a movie, but I guess they went the musical route instead. If I get the chance, I'd definitely see it.

Aaron said...

Well, if past performance is an indication of future work, Wicked will be movie by 2010, mark my words (Rent, Hairspray, etc.).

Glad you got a chance to go see some theater Liz! We know you don't get enough in Fargo, so it's good to get a taste when you are out of town.

Noel said...

Dakota Noel was successful in his quest for the book version of _Wicked_.

After confering with the princess who lives in the castle by the funny little river which runs to the north, he proceeded to the scary and uncharted female section of the master bedroom.

Passing the teetering Tower of Bookclub Books Past, Present, and Future, Dakota came upon an appearant unending row of vials of fingernail polish. Eventially they ended at a sharp precepice dropping nearly 750 millimeters to the dimmly visible floor below. As he stared into the chasm, Dakota could see an eerie green glow, which could only come from one source: _Wicked_: The Tome of Doom.

Dropping to his knee, Dakota lowered himself carefully between the nightstand and a pinkish recliner. The recliner was overgrown with piles of clothes and other items which had accumulated in the decade since it was a seat of nurture and nursing for the princess's daughters. As he got closer to the floor, Dakota's aging eyes could make out the book's author from the green glow: Gregory Maguire. Shortly the book was in his grasp and Dakota was on his way back to the princess with book in hand.

Noel said...

Between Lyz's glowing trip report to an ad hoc meeting of The Bookclub on Wednesday night plus the report of a recent Chicago visit from fellow Bookclub family the B's, the rest of my family is now advocating another Chicago trip...

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