The highlight of the weekend was definitely on Sunday. It was my daughter's birthday, and she and I went to the Broadway roadshow of Wicked at the Buell Theatre! Both Loriane (pronounced Laurie Ann) and I are diehard musical theatre fans, and she had purchased the tickets several months ago when the theatre schedule at the Denver Performing Arts series was announced. At the time, I hadn't known that I would be coming to Denver, so she had planned to go with her husband, but Bren, sweetheart that he is, said that he'd be willing to give up his ticket AND stay home with the kids so that Loriane and I could go, saying that she and I would have more fun. And did we have fun!
The show was incredible! I have seen a lot of shows...Aida in Denver, Rent in Minneapolis, The Lion King in Spokane, Billy Elliot in Chicago, Avenue Q in Billings, Peter Pan in Lubbock, Grease, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Gypsy, and Cats in New York. A lot of shows for someone from Montana, believe me. Whenever I travel to a major city, I check that city's theatre activity to see if there's a show playing. In this way, I have seen many great productions. My daughter has caught the bug, and is busy making a theatre aficionado out of my granddaughter, as well.
We got all dolled up for a quick twenty-minute drive into downtown (she actually lives in a Denver suburb), then stopped a a restaurant outside the Buell for a drink and an appetizer. While we sat there, by the window, we played the game of "fashion police", critiquing outfits that folks on the sidewalk in front of the theatre had selected for the evening. Now, I'm not convinced that everyone we saw was going to Wicked, but I have always loved people watching, and, as fashion is an interest of mine, I am constantly surprised at what folks find acceptable for going out of the house! At least one woman was out in a fluorescent pink fishnet dress and ridiculously high and equally fluorescent heels. The worst of it was that she appeared to be accompanied by two grown daughters, and the three of them were a trifecta of bad taste! We saw as many beautiful outfits as awful ones, but there were plenty of women in need of written citations. My daughters both could tell you, I never hesitated to tell them "Go back upstairs and try again!"
Loriane outdid herself...our tickets were third row, center! It's interesting-you would think there's nothing but good at that distance...and it was certainly perfect for seeing the actors' facial expressions, or the intricacy of the costuming, but there's some difficulty in seeing the broader picture during dance numbers. The sets were magnificent; the casting amazing - particularly the lead roles of Elphaba and Galinda. What surprised and impressed us most was the hysterically funny broad physical comedy of the sweet-voiced actress playing the part of Galinda/Glinda. We laughed LOT!
If you haven't seen the show or read the book on which it is based (Wicked by Gregory Maguire), the "Cliff Notes" version is this: it's the other-side-of-the-story of the Wicked Witch of the West, from the Wizard of Oz. Here's a little clip of one of the funniest of the songs: Popular. (Note...these are not the actresses who appeared in the show we saw, but I am of the opinion that our Glinda, played by Alli Mauzey, was far better than Kristen Chenoweth in the same role.) Our Elphaba, Nicole Parker, was also very talented and highly effective in her role. Loriane, thanks so much for taking me to Wicked! I realize it was your birthday, but I got such a treat, too! It hardly seems fair. It was wonderful, and I had a blast!!
Now, all of you, go see what's coming to your town...what's on your cultural horizon? Will you be seeing a show this summer?