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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Elphaba: Dressing the Part

Ah, the inner-workings of a mega-hit musical. Yawn. Old news. Getting painted green? Please, they do that in Shrek: The Musical -- PLUS he wears a prosthesis, which is cooler, so whatever, it's over.

Reader, that hurts. I mean, it's been only seven months and already you've moved on to someone else? What did I do? What can I do?

I don't know, you tell me! You write less frequently, you promise articles and then never deliver, and when you do they're short and uninspired. Let's face it: you've changed.

Then I can change, still! What can I say to make us feel young again, like we'd just met, held hands for the first time, skipped through the San Francisco Tenderloin and pretended it was a meadow of sunflowers instead of a strange wasteland of destitution? .... I know! I'll write a post on my personal hero, Kathleen Giordano, Elphaba Dresser Extraordinaire!

(End of weird paragraphs-as-dialogue convention.)

So I've been planning this post on Kathleen for basically months but kept putting it off because I wanted it to be totally rad, like a kind of Vanity-Fair-meets-Rolling-Stone-type investigation -- which is to say, part interview, part cultural essay, part meditation on modern masculinity -- but I, in my crazed craziness, never quite got my act together. (Also I realized that those Vanity Stone articles are annoying, especially when they're celebrity portraits. The details are so random, and somehow everything is supposed to be sexy: She eats the iceberg wedge with her hands but smokes the cigarette in a holder. She blames her parents. "To Mama I was the iceberg, to Papa, the cigarette." I offer her a napkin. She takes a drag. And I thought I had issues.)

Speaking of random details, I'm selling my leather couch on Craigslist for cheap. If you want to buy it, email me.

Enough preamble! Presenting:


Thursday, July 22, 2010

September 5: Mi enemigo, mi amor

WICKED's San Francisco company will close on September 5. It is time to come to terms with the truth: my days here are numbered.

"Here" refers to many different spaces, physical and metaphysical: here in San Francisco, here in WICKED, here in Elphaba's (green) skin, here in the Blogosphere.

Will WICKED's closing mean the end of "Unnaturally Green," my blog?

Yes, I think so. It's sad, I know, but isn't life made more beautiful because we know we must die???

My final posts on "Unnaturally Green" will together strum a glorious swan song that is at once a surrender and an apotheosis, in which truth and beauty envelop the decay wrought about by time's tragic asymmetry and perform a mystical dance with death that is both contentious and erotic, like that scene between Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas in "Zorro" where he rips her dress. (My blog is Antonio Banderas, and September Fifth is Catherine Zeta-Jones.)

But, what's better, I shall start anew! I have decided that I shall indeed continue to blog, this time about my adventures back in NYC. New thrills, new chills. So y'all best keep readin'!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Two-show day, and now I am lounging in sweatpants

It'd been almost three weeks since I done did a two show day, but did one I done did, yesterday. All I gotsta say is RESPECK to the cast, and for peeps who do this all the time. Okay, enough of this strange dialect. I suspect two-show days are the kind of thing that get easier with time, as one develops one's endurance and all that. But HOT DAMN, it is tiring to do them on the irregular. I basically got home late last night and hobbled around like a, uh, hobbling zombie, and ate a bowl of cereal while watching the worst movie of all time, "The Transporter." 

And now I am lounging around in sweatpants sipping iced coffee and watching the Food Network's Alton Brown dramatize freezer burn through the use of sock puppets.

Ah, the life of a standby. Highs and lows, know what I'm saying?

More soon... promise!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fact of the Day #12

Composite warm-up facts, in rambly paragraph form: If I'm on as Elphaba, I warm up in the shower. Every time. Whether or not I actually wash myself is variable. Elphaba and Glinda's dressing rooms share a wall; we can usually hear each other warming up, and have an elaborate Morse-like code whereby words are pitches and vowel sounds are punctuation.* During WICKED's opening number, while I'm still backstage I usually sing along with Glinda's solo ("Let us be glaaaaad...") as I hear it come through the monitor (every dressing room has a monitor through which the show is broadcast, live). In the backstage area downstairs there are no rehearsal spaces, and many of the "walls" that separate the dressing rooms are more like partitions, as they do not reach all the way to the ceiling. This makes vocal warmups well-nigh impossible at the theater! Most cast members end up doing their warmups at home before arriving at the theater, or some sneak off to nearby stairwells to get in some final puff-hums before curtain. The name of the game is resourcefulness!

*The last part of this sentence is untrue.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Upcoming Events!

Here are two upcoming events that are pretty fun and cool!

Monday, July 12 @ 7:30PM - Broadway Cares Benefit with the cast of Young Frankenstein at Club Fugazzi. I'll be singing a duet with my hetero life mate, Libby Servais.

Tuesday, July 13 @ 6:30PM - Singing with Libby Servais (there's a trend here) at WICKED event at the Apple Store in Union Square. There will also be a Behind the Emerald Curtain presentation by Jonathan Ritter.

Also, I had a swell time performing in today's matinee; it was my second time doing the show alongside our new Glinda (Alli Mauzey) and our new Fiyero (Cliffton Hall), and my first time with Neka Zang as Nessarose. Yippppppeeeeee!

More soon,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fact of the Day #11

Today's FOTD (pronounced "fah-tud," as if you're saying "farted" with an upper-crust British accent-- because even people of high social ranking fart) is not super duper exciting, so I'll finish it up with a bonus juicy tidbit.

Throughout WICKED there are a number of pre-recorded sound cues that are made to sound as if they are being spoken/sung live. They include, but are not limited to:

1) The mysterious lover's singing voice at the top of Act I and its second iteration in Act II ("Have another drink, my dark-eyed beauty...")
2) The Oz Head's thunderous speaking voice ("I am Oz, the great and terrible!" etc.)
3) Elphaba's melting scream

Bonus juicy tidbit: As a member of the WICKED ensemble (before I became Elphaba Standby) I would underdress my street clothes beneath my mob coat costume from "March of the Witch Hunters" through the remainder of the show! My costume was very roomy and bulky and made it easy to wear a many number of outfits without them showing. (No harm, no foul!)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fact of the Day #10

The following two italicized lines, taken from the scene leading up to "Popular," appeared in the San Francisco tryout of WICKED but were later cut before it opened on Broadway in 2003:

Galinda: And, Elphie-- is it alright if I call you Elphie?
Elphaba: Well, it's a little perky.
Galinda: And you can call me "Galinda."
Elphaba: That's what I've always called you.
Galinda: Let's not quarrel.

Friday, July 2, 2010

"How free are you to interpret the role of Elphaba?"

I recently received a letter asking me to explain the process of creating the role of Elphaba. To what extent was I free to interpret, it inquired, and to what extent was I supposed to "stay within the lines"?

This struck me as a great question. While my knowledge is circumscribed to my singular experience embodying the lean-green Elphaba Thropp, my process of learning the part is something which I'm pretty sure occurs within most long-running shows for which there are actors who come in as replacements and/or understudies.

Basically, this means I'm going to speak with authority on a subject of which I have limited knowledge. Because I'm a BLOGGER, damnit, and that's what BLOGGERS DO! YEAH, BLOG KEG STAND!

So, the short answer is: creating a role that's already been, well, created (sometimes many times over) is a give and take. There are fundamental "givens" -- incontrovertible facts of the story and of the original production that cannot change -- and there, "takens" -- places where you can find room for more creative interpretation.