Opening night of Wicked at the Pantages Theatre was a Green Carpet festive affair. Stars came out and it was a full house gala. I was probably one of the very few people who had never seen the show before. No need to report that Wicked is a great show - a real crowd pleaser. Many were seeing it for the fourth and fifth time. One young lady I spoke with was seeing Wicked for the second time in a month.
Lots of stars. Opening Night. Los Angeles opening. And the star of the show wasn't on the billing: the role of Elphaba was to be played by Emmy Raver-Lampman.(below)
Now, we all expect that any understudy is going to be more than capable of doing a great job-but opening night? In Los Angeles? I loved it. It was a real life Star is Born. She wasn't really an understudy-she had been touring as the lead in other productions, but the murmuring prior to the show said we didn't know that at the time. Not to worry. The disapointment did not last long. From the first moment to the last, Emmy Raver-Lampman was absolutely brilliant and the very enthusiastic standing ovation at the end said it all. The crowd loved her and Chandra Lee Schwartz who as Glinda was delightfully ditsy and a generous performer. The two together had great chemistry.
Other stellar Performances:
Etai BenShlomo was endearing as Boq (above) ;Nick Adams as the heart-throb Fiyero; Kim Zimmer the perfect Madame Morrible; Jenny Florkowski the most believable Nessarose. I had heard thru the grapevine that many of the cast was down sick but we never would have known it.
Wonderful costumes. Delightful special effects. If you get a chance-see the show twice, once with Emma Hunton in the role of Elphaba and one with Emmy Raver-Lampman. Playing thru March 15th.
Photo Credits; Joan Marcus