Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SOB's Theatrical Firsts Of The Noughties: For The First Time In My Life I'm Feeling A Little Wicked

SOB's Theatrical Firsts Of The Noughties: For The First Time In My Life I'm Feeling A Little Wicked

Over the course of the last decade, I’ve been truly fortunate to enjoy a number of enlightening firsts in my personal theatergoing that have only served to increase my deep and abiding love for the art form known as live theatre. What follows is one of my ten favorite experiences of the last ten years.

As I mentioned in my earlier post about my love affair with Steppenwolf, the other Love Of My Life (LOML) and I have been together for two-thirds of this decade.

It was less than four months into our relationship that we made our first trip together to the Great White Way. A couple months before we had even met, I had secured tickets to Wicked, which was still a half year away from its Broadway opening.

Two days after the musical opened, LOML and I went to see Wicked. I was mindful that critics had been less than charitable toward it in their reviews. But perhaps our excitement over the show began when we arrived and were awed by our fifth row center seats. Our deep appreciation for “The Wizard of Oz” only heightened our appreciation for and enjoyment of Wicked, which is actually much more clever than some critics cared to admit. As we left the theatre, our feet were practically floating off the floor. We loved Wicked and couldn’t wait to see it again.

In the more than six years that have passed, we have indulged ourselves by returning to Wicked more times than we can remember. We returned to Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre at least a half dozen more times. While we lived in Chicago, we saw the first tour blow through as well as the first sit-down production outside of New York; we’ve seen the show there at least seven times. Additionally, we took in two tour stops: Minneapolis (twice) and Des Moines. We missed the Los Angeles sit-down production, yet managed to see it this year after it transferred to San Francisco.

We’ve also managed to experience this phenomenon overseas, first in London, then in Stuttgart (Germany) and then in Tokyo, all in 2007. Last year, we traveled our farthest distance, all the way to Melbourne, Australia, to see Wicked on our fourth continent together. We can’t wait to see where the show will land next so we can add more stamps to our passports .

When my LOML and I last returned the Gershwin earlier this year, our visit was truly extraordinary. We now knew someone in the show who not only arranged house seats for us (which we paid for, FTC!), but also guided us on a backstage tour once the performance had concluded.

We were met by the actor’s dresser, who took us behind the curtain to our friend’s dressing room. From there, our friend took us on the stage of the Gershwin Theatre, which by then was dimly lit by the musical’s ghost light. But what an amazing vantage point to look out at that huge house and realize how much bigger the set looked from there than it did up close. It was a perfect capper to six years of seeing this show from coast-to-coast and around the world, creating memories that will last the rest of our lives.

Some couples have “their song.” For my LOML and I, we have our musical, and it’s name is Wicked -- a show that never ceases to entertain or hold us in its spell and continues to provide that joy, that thrill, always thrilling us like we think it will.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post. I paid my own way for every single performance of Wicked.

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At 15 December, 2009, Blogger Linda said...

What a sweet post. Theater snobs often give Wicked a hard time, but I also love it. My own first time seeing Wicked was from a first row lottery seat, after many many attempts, and it's an experience I'll never forget.

At 15 December, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Thanks so much Linda. I'd really like to know what's not to enjoy. It twists a beloved story inside out and has tunes that get better and better on each listen.

At 15 December, 2009, Blogger Esther said...

Thank-you for encouraging me to see Wicked when the tour came to Providence in 2007. It was the first show I saw in my first year of theatergoing and it remains one of my absolute favorites. What a way to start!

At 16 December, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Wicked is a great entry show for novice theatregoers, but I still love it more than six years later.


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