A Wicked Weekend

Feb 2, 2014 by

I have listened to the original cast recording of Wicked so many times I can actually memorize the lyrics like the back of my hand. I have seen bootleg videos and in fact have the entire show in my laptop taken by some weirdo who literally held the camera up for three hours. I have seen YouTube videos in the most fanatical fashion. I envied my friends and relatives who have seen it live on Broadway and Westend. But watching the show with my own two eyes, in the flesh of the actors, in the warmth of the lights, in the electricity of the sounds and in an awesome venue such as the CCP, I left the venue a changed man. I have seen musicals – countless of them, and have been in many myself, but WICKED had me wickedly. Last Saturday, Kevin, Nico, Luisa and I went to see the show. We were scheduled to watch the 1.30 PM matinee because when tickets were sold online, the first month was exclusive to VISA cardholders only. We kind of hoped they would allow Mastercard users like us to purchase

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sooner, but our friend Vince (from PICC) warned us that tickets were selling out very fast. So he offered to use his card for us just to secure our seats. Thing is, we wanted orchestra seats with the best possible view – and everyone else probably wants the same, so it’s a race against time. Luckily, with Vince’s help, we got Orchestra Row F (6th row from the stage). After grabbing Chinese lunch at the Harbor across CCP, we headed for the theatre. I wasn’t able to eat as much as I usually would because I was just excited. As we approached the CCP building, cars were lining up, unloading showgoers all dressed up for a matinee event. It was thrilling, seeing people flock to the venue. As a theatre kid myself, it’s a Noah’s Arc kind of feeling – hoarding your people to the comforts of one place where magic happens: the theatre.

Show-goers heading for CCP.

Show-goers heading for CCP.

We went straight to the billboard for the obligatory photo ops. The house opened at exactly 1.00 PM. The formality of the venue dictates that despite the throng of people, the murmuring is tempered and you hear pleasant noise of anticipation. Think of being on-board Titanic on its maiden voyage, minus the sinking of course. I checked out the souvenir kiosk and bought myself a T-shirt and a copy of the program. They were selling music CDs of the show at triple the store cost (P1,200!!!). When we asked the sales lady why they’re selling it at a much higher cost, she replied “because the ones sold in malls and music stores are pirated.” It was a freaky answer, really. I was on the verge of knocking her unconscious, but I just thought maybe she was actually trying to be funny and we didn’t get the joke.
Photo ops in front of the CCP Wicked Billboard with Nico and Kevin.

Photo ops in front of the CCP Wicked Billboard with Nico and Kevin.

Then we went inside the theatre. That feeling of entering an entirely different world. I dunno if you know what I’m talking about. But my excitement was just too high I kind of said “hi” to everyone. Then I was snapped back to a reality that I was going to watch the show with Filipinos. Cameras with flash everywhere. Selfies from their seats to prove to their facebook world that they were inside the theatre. I did a few shots for myself, but to actually take photos of the place with FLASH? Geez. Good thing the CCP house management borders on militaristic. They gunned down those noisy sponsors (mostly Chinese) that brought bottled water inside the theatre, played Flappy Bird before the show started, unwrapped plastic bags, among many other annoying things. God bless their souls.
Noisy people before the show. Maybe they were just too excited too. :)

Noisy people before the show. Maybe they were just too excited too. :)

After the royal voice over reminding the audience of their cellphones, the lights dimmed. I wasn’t breathing, literally. Then the time dragon lit up and the conductor whipped his baton for the overture. The flying monkeys swung all over the stage and the giant map of Oz went up to reveal the performers. The show took us to a roller coaster ride into the world of WICKED. The production is flawless. What made the show even more interesting is the fact that the actor who played Elphaba closely resembles the looks of Idina Menzel (both with make up and without). The full-house of the CCP Main Theater occasionally exploded in laughter at light moments, gushed in unison at the spectacle of the Emerald City, marveled at the details of every scene and the extremely impressive lighting design. At the end of Act I after the phenomenal DEFYING GRAVITY number, I was crying. Kevin was crying. The noisy Chinese kids around us were crying. We roared in applause with very little clue if our applause was enough to let the artists of Wicked know they were spectacular. It was just breathtaking. The crispness of the sound, the power of their voices, the electricity of the moment. It was unbelievable. Productions like these follow a strict template based on their original staging, so there can only be one fitting word to describe their work: perfect. When the show finished at around 4.30 PM, I could see faces of people numb in sheer disbelief. Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself. I kept talking about it hours and hours after with friends at Greenbelt. I continued talking about it over beers at Spicy Fingers. I called up friends just to tell them they better watch the show or I won’t talk to them forever. I think this madness will go on for months, so if you see me approaching, run for your life. Unless you wanna have a share of my enthusiasm for something beautiful, and Wicked. This Australian touring group of Wicked will continue to perform at the CCP until March. So you still have the chance to buy yourself a ticket and experience this magical ride of a lifetime. I swear, this is absolutely worth every penny you’ve got.
The happiest kid in the world.

The happiest kid in the world.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Yesss! This post made me more excited to watch the show, Sir Bob!!! I am sooo excited, I’m just a bit sad that not many of my friends can appreciate this, but I’m watching, so Boo-yah, and I’m more excited than ever after I read this post coming from someone whose taste in all things theater I respect.

    OMYGOD I WILL NOT LAST THE NEXT TWO AND A HALF WEEKS.

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