Thursday, July 20, 2006
Julia Murney: Worth the "Waiting"
There have been many Elphabas filling the cape and pointy hat -- first donned by Tony Award-winning actress Idina Menzel -- in the three current incarnations of Wicked (Broadway, Chicago and the touring production), but few have the angular look and solid Margaret Hamiltonesque-delivery that Julia Murney imbues into the lead role touring the country.
I confess that I've now seen Wicked nine times, including with such wonderful Elphabas as Menzel, Stephanie J. Block, Ana Gasteyer and Kristy Cates, among others, and I loved them all. But just when you think you have Elphaba all figured out, along comes Murney with a fresh interpretation.
In fact, when I saw Wicked yet again last evening in Minneapolis, I was also delighted by Kirk McDonald's take on Boq. For the first time, I saw an actor fully realize the comic potential of this Munchkin character with the forlorn crush on Glinda. Additionally, I was thrilled to see K. Todd Freeman (a Steppenwolf ensemble member who directed last year's amazing revival of "MASTER HAROLD"...And The Boys) more than ably fill the hooves of Dr. Dillamond.
After the performance, I attended a benefit for the Hennepin Theatre Trust where many of the actors mingled with the public. Murney, McDonald and Freeman were all there adding to the buzz of the evening. Murney was particularly gracious and wickedly funny in talking to well-wishers, posing for photographs and signing everything from programs to bottles of "green elixir" (I believe it was actually some lime soda); she also signed her latest CD -- pictured above -- for Peter Rothstein, the creative driving force behind Minneapolis' celebrated Theater Latté Da.
Although I had previously met Freeman prior to a performance of "MASTER HAROLD" at Steppenwolf last fall (he was quite serious upon that meeting where he discussed the play's Apartheid-era subject matter), he was very charming and amiable in last night's decidedly more relaxed atmosphere.
As for Murney's music, well, I'm not waiting any longer. I'm off right now to purchase her CD for myself.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Click here for Wicked tour tickets.
Five Times More Wicked (July 17, 2006)
Rejoicify and Festivate! Chicago's Wicked Celebrates First Anniversary (June 16, 2006)
Wicked Becomes Broadway's 8th Overall Cumulative Grosser Among Current Hits (June 2, 2006)
Flashback: Best of 2003-04 (May 25, 2006)
Approaching One Year, Chicago's Wicked Continues to Captivate (May 23, 2006)
Wicked's West End Witches Update (May 17, 2006)
Worldwide Wicked Casting News (May 5, 2006)
Encore: Spotlight Week Ending April 30, 2006 (April 30, 2006)