Theatre Thursdays: Wicked News Round-Up

Despite being a huge Wicked fan (I mean, check the username) I don’t think I’ve posted about it at all here. However, having just seen the show again a couple weeks ago, I’ve been in a Wicked mood — so I’m gonna post some fun news that’s been going on for the show as it nears its tenth year on Broadway.

Willemijn Verkaik ElphabaWillemijn Verkaik will do a limited run as Elphaba on Broadway

Willemijn became a fast fan favorite when she opened the German production of Wicked and with her perfect witchy look and killer voice it’s not hard to understand why. On top of these great attributes Willemijn also brought her intense, passionate acting to the role. She went on to open the Dutch production of the show as well, getting to perform the show in her native language. Now this incredibly talented woman is going to get to make her Broadway debut and American audiences will get to experience firsthand what audiences in Stuttgart and Holland have already fallen in love with.

Enjoy Willemijn performing Elphaba’s signature “Defying Gravity” in all three languages in which she has performed/will perform the role:

More news under the cut!

Susan Hilferty’s Wicked Witch costume design has been inducted into the Smithsonian

I love Wicked, but I’ll freely admit there are some clunky lyrics, there is some cringe-worthy dialogue, and there are plot elements that go beyond questionable and border on unacceptable, but one aspect of the show that I feel is almost beyond reproach is the costume design. Susan Hilferty’s work creating this world and putting her own unique spin on already iconic designs is glorious and I am thrilled to see her getting such an honor. Her re-imagining of this well-known Ozian figure’s attire is beautiful and narrative (as any theatre costume should be) so it rightfully takes its place in the museum’s entertainment collection. The version on display will be the one worn by Mandy Gonzalez on Broadway.

And finally, some news that’s not really news at all but people always get riled up over:

Wicked movie will happen…someday

Basically just another article saying nothing’s happening but there will be a movie eventually. Articles like this have been coming out since 2009 and probably earlier and I’m not sure why anyone feels the need to keep reporting it. The show is produced by Universal Studios for goodness’ sake, of course there’s going to be a movie. Until someone actually signs on to adapt the script/direct the film/start casting/etc. I don’t consider any of this news-worthy.

…and yet I’m including it in my news round-up. Okay, I guess a part of me is still a little interested when articles like this come up, even though my cynical side knows nothing’s actually happening when the statement says “I would expect in the near future to begin the process of development” which pretty much means “Ain’t nothing going on, but eventually, we’ll begin to begin the beginning stages.”

Well, that’s your dose of Wicked for today! Oh, but since I didn’t do a full review of the performance I saw I do want to at least give some quick thoughts: It was the Second National Touring Company (the 2NT) and despite being designed for smaller theaters the changes to the sets are barely noticeable. The Glinda understudy, Jillian Kates, started out shaky but was an excellent performer; the tour will be in good hands if she takes over full time when Jeanna de Waal leaves. Christine Dwyer played a youthful, spunky Elphaba in contrast to the usual “wise beyond her years” portrayal and it worked great for her. It was easy to see why so many people like her. Billy Harrigan Tighe was a spectacular Fiyero and after loving David Nathan Perlow so much when I saw this production last time I can safely say the 2NT knows how to do Fiyero right. The rest of the cast was solid as well and the theater in which I saw the show, The Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, New York, was gorgeous and intricately decorated but had terrible seating. If you see a show there, do spend the extra money to get seats near the front of the balcony or orchestra section, because despite being only halfway up the mezzanine I’ve never felt so far from the stage in my life.

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