I was raised in a family that REALLY likes The Wizard of Oz. We do not own a copy and watch it sometimes. No, we own an old VHS, a new VHS, and a limited edition DVD that came in a Yellow Brick Road box set with a reproduced copy of the script, a book about the making of the film, and a commemorative wristwatch. And when we come across it on television we shout to each other from the other room, "
The Wizard of Oz is on!!!!" as if we have no other means by which to watch it. As a child,
The Wizard of Oz often acted as my babysitter. I'm an only child so when my mother was cooking in the kitchen or working in another room, I'd get to watch
The Wizard of Oz. I'm fairly certain that was the genesis of my recurring chased-by-tornadoes nightmare. We literally had a family viewing party (all 10 or so of us) at my parent's house to see if
The Dark Side of the Moon really
does match up (note: it totally does and it's awesome). We're the kind of people who think it's not just normal but expected to exclaim, "How 'bout a little
fire, Scarecrow!" whenever anyone lights a match.
I'm not afraid of anything...except a lighted match.
Needless to say, when I was graciously invited to attend opening night of Wicked at the
Pantages Theatre on December 1
st, I figured I should take my mother and make a night of it.
I left the Discover Hollywood office and met my mom at Off Vine, a little bungalow of a restaurant that is, quite literally, off Vine St. It was adorable! There are a million little white tables with fairy lights outside, but unfortunately it was way too cold to sit on the porch. Luckily it was nice and toasty inside, and charmingly decorated with wreaths and lights for the holidays.
The New American menu is impressive, with entrees like Smoked Mozzarella and Chicken Ravioli, Braised Short Ribs, and Wild Atlantic Salmon topped with sautéed garlicky veggies. Astoundingly-to me, anyway-they have an entire vegan section on the menu! I tried the Pistachio Encrusted Vegan Chicken. Much to my dismay I'm allergic to nuts, so I had to nix the pistachios. The chicken is served with a (very) sweet mango sauce that I wished was a mango salsa instead, but it was still tasty. I missed the saltiness of the pistachios with it, though. The vegan garlic mashed potatoes were insanely good, and the side of green beans was seriously cooked to absolute perfection. Mom got an off-menu special: Tilapia, served with a chunky olive and veggie sauce, with mashed sweet potatoes and green beans. She said the whole thing was absolute heaven. I got a glass of Pinot Grigio ($6 for a huge pour) and Mom got a cappuccino at the end of the night that looked delish. Oh and by the way, the bread is INSANITY and it comes with a little pot of fresh pesto that was immediately sopped up.
I apologize for all these terrible images,
my camera ran out of batteries and I forgot my charger
in Portland over Thanksgiving weekend!
This food was delicious though!
I want to take a separate paragraph to tell you that our waiter was incredibly sweet, funny, and seemed to genuinely care that we enjoyed our Off Vine experience. And we did! So thank you, kind sir.
Then it was off to the theatre! We parked a block or two away and, as if by design, walked right over Judy Garland's star on the Vine St. Walk of Fame.
Just as we arrived to pick up our tickets, Anne Heche and her family stepped out of their limo, greeted by a GIGANTIC crowd of paparazzi. I've never seen that scene in real life-it's mesmerizing. Everyone was silent. All you could hear was the clicking of the cameras and Heche's handler quietly saying, "Excuse us," and "Watch out." It was actually really interesting.
Anne Heche on the red carpet
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Other celebs were there, including Broadway, Television and Film favorites like Molly Ringwald, Candace Cameron Bure (who I sat one seat away from!), Kevin Sorbo, Regina King, and Patrick Warburton.
And the show was absolutely spectacular. Full disclosure: I had anticipated a little bit of cheese. But there was NONE! It was sweet and exciting and the songs were spectacular and catchy and sung to mind-blowing perfection. I'm sure you all know the basis of the show, but just in case: Wicked is the story of what happened in Oz
before Dorothy "dropped in."
Mamie Parris as Elphaba (the Wicked Witch) galumphs around the stage in true Elphaba/Wicked Witch/Elmira Gulch fashion. She has truly transformed herself into this character. But for how unrefined and antisocial she manages to act, Parris can still belt out a tune. I mean, this woman is a serious showstopper. I could not believe the notes she held, or for how long she held them.
Images courtesy of Broadway L.A. and the Pantages Theatre
Meanwhile Katie Rose Clarke flits around onstage, oftentimes stealing the scene as the sickeningly sweet and popular Glinda who you love to hate but also just love to love. Clarke's Good Witch is a brilliant Mary Katherine Gallagher/Elle Woods lovechild: blonde, brilliant, and popular, yet spastically desperate.
Separately and as an onstage team, Parris and Clarke are incredible in Wicked
. The two of them, combined with the rest of the show's amazing cast, as well as the gripping story makes this a super fun, if sometimes heartbreaking, production.
Off Vine is located at 6263 Leland Way, Hollywood, CA 90028
The Pantages Theatre is located at 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028
Back by popular demand, Wicked is at the Pantages Theatre through January 29. Visit www.broadwayla.org for more information.
|Posted By Trevi on December 02, 2011 10:50 am | Permalink |