Monday, March 2, 2015

WICKED Flies into The Fox Theatre to Win the Hearts of Atlantans

It's Wicked season in Atlanta, y'all.

I don't know about you, but whenever Wicked tours to my city, my Facebook newsfeed is FULL of pictures of people at the Fox Theatre with their BFF. Oh the puns are a good time too. If I had a dime for every post that says, "Having a WICKED time at the Fox Theatre..." And we're fortunate enough to have the show in our city for a whole three weeks, so it's not by any means slowing down! But it's the one biannual time that everyone comes together and celebrates the beauty of Broadway.

Read highlights from my review for BroadwayWorld below (aka, what I thought about the actors, because as we know, the actors are the only part anyone cares about), and be sure to check out the whole thing here!

If crowd appeal is any indication of a show's worth, Wicked is a multimillion-dollar treasure. WICKED's second national tour, "The Munchkinland Tour," flew into the Fox Theatre on Wednesday, February 18 to play a 3-week engagement, marking the show's fourth engagement at the historic Atlanta venue. Not surprisingly, this production did not disappoint.
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As Elphaba in the first act, Alyssa Fox, replaced by Emily Koch in Act II, barely scraped by vocally due to allergy issues. In her first song of the show, "The Wizard and I," Fox ended with a slightly pitchy landing, and not surprisingly, completely botched the final notes of "Defying Gravity." Bless her heart. Besides vocals, Fox executed the role with an earnestness that could not be ignored. Thus did she endear herself to the audience.
I dearly hope that when Elphaba standby Emily Koch received word that she would take over the iconic role for the remainder of the performance, she at least mentally burst into a rousing chorus of, "This is the Moment" from JEKYLL AND HYDE. Whatever her response, Koch absolutely blew the audience away with her strong, dynamic voice. Particularly during "No Good Deed," her final solo, Koch explored the notes in her own unique way, prompting me to think, "Ok, well now you're just showing off!" And yet, her enthusiasm and clear adoration for the whole show made her impossible not to love.
As the peppy, sorority-girl-on-steroids, G(a)linda, Carrie St. Louis went through the motions of the giddy blonde, but seemed to be portraying someone else's role. At times, her mannerisms distinctly resembled Laura Bell Bundy's Elle Woods from LEGALLY BLONDE, and at others she appeared intent on not copying Kristin Chenoweth's Glinda. Such a display led to a portrayal threaded with emotional dishonesty, though St. Louis nailed the Schwartz score with delightfully consistent ease.
With a chiseled torso and hair shaped to form a "fohawk," (to borrow a short-lived term from the early '00s) Ashley Parker Angel's outer appearance perfectly suited the "genuinely self-absorbed and deeply shallow" rich-boy Fiyero. And yes, he rocked those famous tight white pants. However, his soaring, albeit effeminate vocals did not convince me that he was or could ever be in love with Elphaba.
I have no doubt that the beautiful storytelling woven through Winnie Holzman's script, Joe Mantello's direction, and the incredible songs by Stephen Schwartz will cause this show to run on Broadway forever and tour even longer.
WICKED plays Atlanta's Fabulous Fox Theater February 18- March 8th.

Sally Henry www.BroadwayWorld.com/author/Sally-Henry // Twitter: @BwayGinger // Facebook: www.facebook.com/singularsensationbway

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

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