Saturday, July 15, 2017

Worth checking out...

This is another plug for this week's Hollywood & Levine podcast.  It's the making of WICKED, and my guest, Winnie Holzman (who wrote the libretto) is truly fascinating as she explains the process and pitfalls of that juggernaut musical.  If you have any interest in the theater or just the creative process in general, this episode is for you.   Click on the big gold arrow above or this link.   Thanks.


Roger Owen Green said...

Hey, I'm TRYING!

Jabroniville said...

This is an amazing interview, Ken. I'm a HUGE Wicked fan- it's about my favorite thing ever, so I knew a lot of the trials and tribulations, but I still got a lot of new info out of this.

I find it interesting how so much of the praise ends up in Kristin Chenoweth's lap- I'm a huge fan, and figured she should have ended up a much bigger star (instead of the kind of niche performer she's become outside of Broadway), but everyone goes up and down to shine praise upon her. I find much less focus on her co-star, Idina Menzel (though Winnie gave her a bit of credit near the end).

I definitely get the whole concept of the two girls ending up as friends, and the musical being about THEIR relationship, is what set the thing off to success (the love story with Fiyero is actually pretty under-written, if you really think about it- he's more of a bland love interest for the two to fight over). That is owed to Kristin making the Glinda part larger. When I watch the play live, I'm almost always more impressed by the Glindas- the role is exceptionally showy and broad, while Elphabas often struggle to keep up- they don't get the funniest lines, they have to be dour and annoyed, and Glinda can run away with things if the actress is exceptionally good. I think an Elphaba can only keep up when they belt to the heavens. People who've seen the show with me tend to agree- my sister even pointed out that Glinda and Elphaba had to take their bows simultaneously, or else the crowd would have cheered for Glinda much more loudly, to an embarrassing degree.

I'd have liked to hear more about Idina Menzel being a part of things. I know you're not a great fan, Ken (too much belting... which probably came about because her non-belting career was a disappointment, and suddenly FROZEN came out and she needs to be a belter again!), but the backstory of her suddenly becoming the lead after Stephanie J. Block was the "Preview Elphaba" is an interesting one, and that would have been interesting to hear about. WICKED is very much a story of "Female Friendship" (I think that's a big part of the musicals's success, which ties in to the "women don't often get to be the heroes" thing Winnie was referring to- there's not a lot of stories about female friendship, either), and I think the Elphabas are often under-represented.

So yeah- amazing stuff. You crammed a lot into forty minutes- I'd love to hear forty more!